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Book review: How to design and deliver great training by Alan Matthews


Written in an easy-to-read-and-understand style, the author has come up with a gem of a book.

As a very experienced trainer himself, he begins by asking the reader ‘why should you read this book?’, and goes on to tell us that ‘this book is for anyone who wants to design and deliver training which is exciting, engaging and enjoyable’.   That was all I needed to pique my interest, and promptly delved straight into the 295 pages.

According to Alan, it is not enough to be a ‘good presenter’.  Presenters need to understand how the brain works, and how adults learn.  This requires changing some habits to make the transformation into a ‘facilitative trainer’, which requires the presenter to design (and facilitate) activities, exercises and discussions which will lead to successful learning outcome, whilst taking into account a variety of learning styles and preferences, to cater for all.  He advocates that as many senses as possible should be engaged while learning, and that the material should have an impact at an emotional level as well as an intellectual one.

So, what does the book cover?  Alan takes the reader on quite a journey, looking at how people learn; how to design the training; how to get participants in the mood for learning, how to use questions to promote learning, how to choose and use activities, how to use visual aids, how to help people remember, how to deliver with impact, how to set up the room, how to handle difficult behaviour, and how to evaluate training.

He also offers a comprehensive checklist of possible resources a trainer may need, and suggests 10 things to send people before a training course in order to motivate and prepare them for the training.  In addition, bonus materials are available on his website.

To sum up, this book (or training manual) is a valuable resource for any trainer, no matter at which level you may find yourself.  With this one in hand, all others become superfluous.  I would therefore recommend a spot on the bookshelf marked ‘keeper’; it is undoubtedly one to which I will refer often, whether for new ideas or as a checklist on best practice.

Alan Matthews certainly deserves accolades for this insightful and interesting trainer’s resource, and I rate the book a 9/10 for its comprehensive content.

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