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State of the art train the trainer



Over the weekend I have been discussing with colleagues what makes a good train the trainer course?

To continue my research I would appreciate you sharing your 'train the trainer' course outlines..

To get the ball rolling here is one I have used a few times:

  • What is training & development?
  • Orientation to development
  • Identifying needs
  • Selecting appropriate methods
  • Designing a training intervention
  • Planning your training
  • Delivery skills
  • Understanding learning styles and preferences
  • Use of questions
  • Managing questions and answers
  • Use of visual aids and tools
  • Engaging your participants
  • Evaluating learning

Duration - 5 days

Thanks in advanced

14 Responses

  1. Trainer training – from fundementals to state of the art


    I wouldn’t disagree with any of the items you suggest as part of a fundemental starter programme. But it is your term ‘state of the art’ that intrigues me as it implies not just something solid and mainstream but perhaps also something progressive; something focused on excellence rather than competence, perhaps.

    To some extent this can be embedded in the precise nature of what is delivered. The headings can remain mainstream – like evaluating learning – but the substance of that sesson can be how to use the latest techniques. Sticking with headings for the moment, I’d expect to see:

    • Context – where training fits (with HR, OD, etc), learning in an organisational context, connecting with line managers and other stakeholders, training as part of change
    • Turning learning theory into excellent training practice
    • Facilitating training activities – case studies, discussions, role-plays and exercises
    • Feedback skills
    • Handling difficult situations
    • The particularities of training communications – explaining skills, when and how to use passive listening skills as well as active listening, use of voice and visual communication

    If you were looking at something truely progressive I might consider:

    • Use of drama, the arts and music – creative approaches to getting better learning and better business results, accelerated learning, latest on brain theory
    • Real work activities, projects, assignments and simulations – how to design them and use them in a training setting
    • Blended learning and how to integrate training into ongoing learning programmes
    • Non-traditional methods – from large group interventions to outdoor activities, from organisational raids to action learning
    • Presence and performance – harnessing your personal power and using it authenitically to help others
    • Psychology – understanding human behaviour, group dynamics, tips and hints on getting the best from people, managing your self
    • How to transform traditional technical training – from highly structured, systematic designs to more dynamic and learner centred approaches

    And depending on the target audience and the breadth of their role:

    • Consultancy skills – working with clients to tailor solutions, business partnering, stakeholder management, managing change, advisory and influencing skills, the stages of consultancy and how they work with different types of L&D consulting, organisation development
    • Marketing skills – promoting learning, communicating the L&D offering, changing perceptions, winning hearts as well as minds, ‘selling’ your services and products, branding, market research v needs analysis, writing copy
    • Managing and working with others – role of a course director, managing peers, selecting and managing external associates, using guest speakers from the business, buying in contract suppliers, co-training
    • Research and analysis skills – keeping up-to-date, accessing original theory (not popular myth), discovering best practice case examples from outside your organisation, how to embed ongoing needs analysis systems, research techniques for needs analysis and evaluation projects, how to make data work for you, working with core L&D financial information, understanding business stats

    And, of course, how to do all of these things brilliantly without having to wear your underpants on the outside!


  2. Train the trainer course outlines

     Hi Mike,

     I have quite a few different versions of outlines for trainer development programmes, they tend to reflect the      stages in the cycle and the point at which a trainer interacts with it, for example some corporate trainers (particularly in the Middle East)  may not identify needs or design the programme. Below is just one example hope this helps. Joy

    What is learning

    Understanding learning styles; Analysing your training style; Adapting your training style to learner needs; Maximising left and right brain activity in learning; Understanding effects of competition on learner morale; Appealing to the senses; Developing rapport to maximise learning by appealing to a range of learning styles


    Analysing Training Needs

    Identifying training needs at individual, departmental and organisational level. Specifying learning outcomes. Identifying barriers to learning. Learning Vs training. Personal learning styles.

    Learning Design

    Identifying the most appropriate delivery method, course content and media options.   Pacing and sequencing learning. Sources of training material and copyright. Creating outline training plans. Creating detailed training plans

    Design Technology

    Applying active learning techniques to IT training. Designing exercises and activities using Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. Multi media, using video and podcasts Sequencing activities to maximise learning

    The Learning Environment

    Creating effective learning environments. Put yourself in the learner’s shoes. Anticipating the barriers. Managing the barriers. Motivating learners and adding energy to your material and delivery. Building collaboration through participation. Enabling learners to connect to the content creating positive states for learning

    Watch Out!

    Slow starts – their effect and tips for improvising Equipment failures – avoid it or use it to your advantage. Poor room layout – how to work round it. Information overload – how to avoid it.


    Interpreting verbal & non-verbal messages. Developing feedback and questioning techniques. Recognising  learning difficulties. Techniques to encourage feedback throughout the event

    Presenting the Right Stance

    The importance of stance. Posture perfect – controlling your body movements. – breathing easily. Using your hands effectively. Getting into state. Overcoming nerves. Maintaining positive states – yours and theirs.

    Principles of Effective Presentation

    Maintaining interest; Presenting your best self; Connect with your audience. Effective questioning; Feedback and coaching; Handling questions & objections

  3. Train the Trainer

    Hi Mike,

    I do agree with yours and all the other following points. One of the key things that strikes me is that when delivering any Train the Trainer, one of the opportunities many Train the Trainer facilitators seem to miss is reflecting on the experiences of their learners of being trained on the Train the Trainer event.

    By that I mean I often ask peope how they felt working through a session, what they experienced and what did it make them think about how they too would deliver their learning. It’s an incredibly simple but often underused method. It helps to demonstrate how people learn through the learning styles and to experience and reflect on training, facilitated learning and coaching.

    Good luck with your research.


  4. Reflecting on your performance
    Hi Mike

    In your list you have “Evaluate training” my comment relates to that.

    We deliver a number of train the trainer courses and we have found that many of our candidates need to be reminded of the importance of reflecting on their own performance on the courses they are going to run

    When we talk about evaluating training they all assume it stops at the student. We constantly find that people believe that the training they are undertaking with us makes them the expert and that from that point on any delivery that takes place is as they believe it should be.

    With this issue in mind we have initiated a module that looks at “My performance” how to reflect on the course as a whole, taking into consideration student feedback and the use or acquisition of the correct training aids for the learners and of course the teacher to achieve the objectives set.

  5. Reflection is so important

    On my longer courses I encourage everyone to complete a short reflection sheet after each session addressing questions like ‘Tthe Main Points I learnt in the session’ and ‘How I could apply that learning.’

    It’s amazing to read the variety of responses.  Often people pick up such different aspects that it’s almost as if they’d attended different sessions.

    From the reflection sheets you can pick up on problems, what’s worked well or not so well and address issues that might be raised in future sessions.


  6. More than a course

    Hi Mike

    I hope you’ve found the answers you’ve had so far helpful – I really don’t think I could add to Graham’s comprehensive list around the content you could consider.

    In particular the points around understanding the different delivery methods including real work activities and blended solutions are really pertinent in the current climate as many businesses are forced to reduce formal classroom training and replace it with more work based learning. And those who are doing it well are finding it far more effective.

    So rather than a list of topics for a 5 day course – how about making the starting point ‘What to the trainers in my business need to know, do and how do I want they to be’. And from there work out what’s the best way to help them learn what they need to be highly effective through a structured period of development.

    In my experience there are some elements of ‘trainer’ development that work really well in a group learning event – especially when combined with Alec’s great suggestion of having them reflect on their experience of each activity and pull learning from that too. So things like learning theory or the basics of consultancy can be great to explore and discuss in groups with ongoing projects to build knowledge and practice skills.

    For many other skills I believe you learn far more through doing it in the live environment – almost all I’ve learnt about facilitation has come from observing great facilitators, from the feedback I get by observing learners in my groups and from direct feedback from coaches.

    So as learning in a business context is moving away from longer classroom sessions perhaps its time to also follow suit with our trainer development. Graham gave many great suggestions of alternative delivery methods in his response.

    Good luck




  7. It’s the weighting that I can’t stand…

    Sorry, that’s a terrible pun. But I couldn’t resist.

    All of the content for Training the Trainer courses seems to be much of a muchness to me. The thing that sets the good ones apart from the bad ones is the weighting of learning to do vs learning about.

    I’m just not convinced of our motives for including all of the stuff that we do. I’m fairly sure that we enjoy talking about the theory and principles more than learners find it useful. The people who attend Training the Trainer courses rarely go on to become ‘trainers’ – they go on to deliver a training course.


    10% Orientation

    10% Managing the Learning Environment

    10% Understanding Learners

    40% Learning Design (of a specific course or in a specific area)

    30% Simulated delivery and reflection

  8. State of the art train the trainer by Mike Morrison
    Mike, Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the discussion on what makes a train the trainer program State of the Art. I have learnt from reading both yours and the other contributions and I will use your input to review my programs.

    Here in Perth Western Australia we have embraced Competency Based Training. I believe that the essential aspects of any training program is not so much the topics but the speed with which the facilitator has the learners delivering. I have had most success when I have joint delivered with another trainer who needs to train the learners to be able to deliver new skills and knowledge.

    On one trip around Australia with an excellent trainer Di Harding of New South Wales, over a 5 day period, we taught groups of Family Day Care Supervisors how to implement new Quality Assurance Standards. Di’s role was to introduce the new QA Standards and mine was to give the group the skills to train other Family Day Care Workers to enable implementation of the Standards. After each of Di’s session, we had them work in groups to review and provide feedback in the form of a training session. I would throughout the program have 15 – 30 minute sessions dealing with training topics but mainly I would gritique and give feedback on how to improve their presentation skills. The 5 and 10 minute exposures with a 30 minute session at the end. By the end of the week we were able to assess almost all of them as competent trainers. The feedback we got from most participants was very good.

    I now believe that we need to have the learners up front as early as possible dealing with topics that are familar to them and help the group to learn through feedback, self reflection and participation. When forced to deliver the training as a program, I use the following structure.

    1. INTRODUCTION TO TRAINING DELIVERY Competency-based Training (CBT) The Four Stages of Competence, What are the key features of a competency-based training program? 4 or is it 5 Dimensions of competency,
    2. PREPARE FOR TRAINING – TRAINERS AND THEIR LEARNERS Characteristics of Trainers General characteristics of adult learners Individual Characteristics of Adult Learners Principles of Adult Learning Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs Learning Styles Other People and Their Involvement in Training and Assessment
    3. PREPARE FOR TRAINING – THE TRAINING SESSION Preparing for Training – Allow Plenty of Time What do you need to know about training?Instruction and demonstration objectives Learning Resources, Materials and Equipment required for your Training Session Learning Environment Delivery Methods and Techniques
    4. DELIVER AND FACILITATE TRAINING SESSIONS Prepare for training Introduction section of session plan Main body section of session plan Summary section of session plan Time Management Effective training and communication skills Group training session Carrying out the activities that apply the new information Some training tips
    5. EVALUATING TRAINING Introduction Monitoring learners’ progress Encourage learners and give them feedback Receiving feedback Evaluation of your own performance Evaluating the Learners’ Performance Reporting Training Results
    Assessment Task 1 – Prepare for delivering training Assessment Task 2 – Deliver training to an individual or group in the workplace Assessment Task 3 –Conclude training activities in accordance with organisational procedures

    John Clark

  9. Train the Trainer to Train the Trainer

    I recently had the most fantastic opportunity to design and deliver a ‘train the trainer to train the trainer’ programme for a global market research company.  This really made me think about the difference between (a) a course that enables people to deliver effective training programmes and (b) a course that delivers experts in training who can then help others to deliver effective training programmes.  With me so far? 

    For both levels of training, I see that there are 3 core areas of learning:

    1.  Training Design (e.g. adult learning principles, structuring a module, topping-and-tailing)

    2.  Training Delivery (e.g. using different media, delivery styles, managing energy)

    3.  Project Management (e.g. objective setting, planning, evaluation and stakeholder management)

    The ‘experts’ had a 3-day workshop covering the key tools/techniques/skills and knowledge that make the biggest difference in delivering brilliant training in each of these areas.  They then embarked on a 3-month action learning programme to design their own train the trainer programme, supported by a facilitator, and with the addition of 2 further 2-hour teleclasses to provide additional learning e.g. on change management (as training is one aspect of change management).  The participants of the programme have now designed and delivered to high acclaim their own 2-day train the trainer face-to-face workshop, and this month are launching a ‘webinar on webinars’ version, as they do lots of remote training.

    I think this has been one of the most (if not the most) rewarding and stimulating project of my career – particularly as in developing ‘experts’, I really had to be on my toes and ensure that everything that we did role-modelled the very best practices.

  10. Training the trainer – a further thought


    Jane’s comments above prompted me to add a further thought. A vital ingredient in such a programme is not just the content, it is also the experience. You need to model the behaviours you’d expect them to display and the design should be congruent with the messages you are giving out – in other words, it should be full of different learning methods to expose them to what it is like from the other side.



  11. Is content as important as the learner experience… or is it bo

    Hi Mike,

    Your question asked for examples of course content and I agree with the content suggestions already made. They’re great and the exact mix will very much depend on the experience level and desired outcomes of the specific TTT programme.

    One thing I’d like to add is the importance of allowing the training methods used in the design and delivery of the programme to reflect the training messages.

    I’ve sadly *sat* and *listened* to front-led *presentations* about the importance of learner interaction in TTT events! The process the learner experiences as they learn can be more meaningful than the content they are studying.

    Ally McCulloch

    PS – it great to finally get onto Training Zone and find so many friends already here 😉

    — I blog at, you can follow me on twitter at or hook up with me at LinkedIn:

  12. Practising – not listening

    I have to agree with bfchirpy that most of the comments cover too much about listening vs not enough doing.  My quick topics list for those who have to train as part of their role is below.  It’s a bit of talk and a lot of practice in my sessions!

    • Preparation
    • Presenting yourself
    • Writing and Demonstrating
    • Step by Step Instructions
    • Practice Pampers (using your voice)
    • Testing / Questioning
  13. New trainers or already training
    Hi Mike

    When I started as a trainer, I had no guidance on how to train, just some handouts and a room full of trainees. I went on a train the trainer course a year or so later.

    While this is definitely not ideal, I’m sure it is not unique. You might want to include something in the course that allows the delegates who have run training courses to share their experiences and focus on issues they would like to manage better in the future.

  14. What are trainers?

    A great point above, I think.

    A state of the art training the trainer course would have to answer two questions before anything else:

    • Are we training people who’ve trained before?
    • Will these people go on to deliver a known/finite number of courses or will they become ‘consciously competent’ expert practitioners, capable of delivering training from needs analysis to evaluation?

    So, two axes – newcomer to old hand, ‘good enough’ to ‘career trainer’. I can feel a four-box matrix coming on 🙂

    By the way, are there any numbers on the proportion of training delivered by ‘trainers’ and the proportion delivered by those who are thrown in at the deep end, dabble a bit or have it added to the end of their job description?


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