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One hour training sessions



I have recently joined an insanely fast paced retailer as training manager, and have been told my sessions need to last no more than one hour.  My first topic is to be delegation for supervisors, something I have covered before but in a half day or one day session.  I have tried to reason but my line manager is holding firm.  The supervisors can only be spared for one hour.  Obviously the next step is to cover the topic in 3 or 4 one hour sessions which is where I need you advice.  What is the best time gap to leave between them?  A week? A couple of days? A couple of hours? I do have some flexibility as the store is open 7 days a week from 8.30 - 9.00. 

I apprecaite that this process should be done very very differently (give me a break on the TNA, I've been here 4 days!), but can easily roll the topic out while I am doing a more through job.  This topic has been flagged as urgent, and needs to be rolled out as such. 

Your advice is much appreciated.


8 Responses

  1. Break it up …

    Nikki, I empathise as this is a well documented issue but can you still take the half-day/one day content and break it up into shorter chunks to run successively? Perhaps on a weekly or fortnightly basis.  What you may want to do is devise a workbook which looks at the content delivered during each short session and start each of the following sessions with a brief review of progress and how they are managing to put their new skills and knowledge into practice.  The workbook will allow them to build up a reflective document to help them record their progress.  Shorter chunks can seem harder but try to see this as a positive rather than a negative.  Let me know if you think I can help any further.  ūüôā

  2. Retail’s insanely fast pace

    Hi Nikki

    Welcome to the club! I also run L&D for a retailer and I appreciate your challenges. However, this approach also brings real benefits as you can get REALLY efficient with your training.

    I’d start with what I’d done before and list the learning objectives in priority order. This needs to be followed religiously.i.e. They HAVE to achieve this one, so it goes to the top of the list.

    Starting with the most important objective, think about how you can measure the success and then work towards that (What would I see if they really understood this…?)

    Starting with the end in mins will help you stay focused. You’ll be amazed how much you can get done in an hour when an hour is all you have!

    Don’t forget that normally, the business only cares about the time they are off the floor. How much learning can take place while they are working? Time to get coaching?

    I hope this helps. It’s always good to connect with other L&D people in retail, so feel free to get in touch if we can help each other out.




  3. Gap between sessions

    In response to your query around the ‘gap’ between training sessions – I would suggest it depends on the ability of the supervisers to ‘go and do something different’ as a result of the training.

    If you feel they can put the learning into practise straight away and come back with some pretty instantaneous ‘stories of success’ (or otherwise!) – it would be powerful stuff to capture this in the second or subsequent sessions, so a day or a couple of days gap would work.

    If the learning in going to be more challenging to transfer and the practise opportunities are less frequent, perhaps a weekly or up to a fortnightly schedule would work best.

    Certainly no further apart than this if you want a sustainable shift – retail will have moved on before you have a chance to complete your roll-out!






  4. Re-tale therapy?

    Yes I agree that a different  approach to ‘training’ could be taken here and perhaps more emphasis could be placed on ‘development and learning’.  A one hour slot seems to be perfect for some kind of learning initiative that encourages the supervisors to share experiences and discuss how changes in behaviour or attitude etc may have brought about improved performance.  As Kurt Lewin said “Learning is more effective when it is an active rather than a passive process” and so an adapted action learning programme comes to mind, or story sharing and discussing .  Each week a supervisor describes a story – a typical situation or something that concerns them, and the group discusses the issues and suggests options.  This is more structured than action learning and depersonalises the event as it becomes a ‘story’ rather than a ‘failure’ on behalf of the supervisor.  This could then be combined with the idea of a workbook if learning needs to be evidenced, although this entails time on behalf of the supervisors.  A second phase could then be focused on sharing success stories from how changed behaviour and learning from the discussions have brought about improvements.  This approach could focus on the whole cycle of linking a supervisors behaviour to their effect on their colleagues, customers, work processes, procudures and personal organisation, management and to business success.  Additionally you will be able to use these sessions to understand their perspective better and as a good source of information for your TNA.  If you find a way to capture the info from their discussions then you can use this to identify areas for development for a more structured programme in the future.

    Best wishes


     “There is nothing so practical as a good theory” – Kurt Lewin

  5. Accelerate the learning!
    Go for accelerated learning techniques! If you are not familiar with it there are some good books on it.

    One good way we find of getting a lot of info over in a very short time is by doing a gallery of information around the training room. It wil take you some prep time, but people can hone in on things they didn’t know and skip over the things they are more familiar with. You put them into pairs and give them a quiz to answer as they go round. The quetions should be related to the things that you really want them to take away.

    If you want any more info on this email me and i would be happy to talk.


  6. Thank you so much!

    Thanks for all the help everyone, it really is appreciated.

    Having had a bit of time to think through getting over the most bang for the proverbial buck, I have decided the best first hour session will just cover good quality feedback.  That underpins just about every management course, so having covered that in some detail it should (thoretically!) save me time in other courses.  Interestingly I floated this idea past some supervisors to check it was needed and it was recieved very enthusiastically. 

    They also suggested I started with the people at the top…

    Thanks again,


  7. One topic, one month

    I did some work for a retailer a few years ago that had one hour training sessions each week. They followed a brilliant format as follows:

    Week 1 – Intro to the topic via pre-topic reading/activities.

    Week 2 – Training session to consolidate learning, bring the topic to life and practice key skills.

    Week 3 – Practical application of skills in the workplace.

    Week 4 – review of learning in full group.

    I believe that it worked really well.

    On a side note, I am currently developing a series of 1-hour training modules aimed at managers in just the position you describe. Sadly, I haven’t designed one on delegation yet, or you could have trialled it for me!

    Sheridan Webb

  8. short sessions can be an advanatge

    As mentioned, accelerated learning principles are a fantastic way to squeeze as much information into a short amount of time without tiring the delegates. Any topic usually has a some fundamental concept. If you are short of time, all you need to do is to isolate this part and deliver it using using a number of carefully designed exercises. For example, in this time management course, delegation skills is a session that lasts about 1 hour but covers the most fundamental principles. 

    Of course, as mentioned by others, you can also spread the content over many short sessions. This also allows you to provide course work so you can expect to see results every time they come back and correct them as necessary. In other words this now becomes an advantage which you wont have if you were training them for one full day.

    Ehsan Honary 


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