No Image Available

Seb Anthony

Read more from Seb Anthony

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Train the IT trainer


I am developing a train the trainer session for a number of IT trainers who will be carrying out a number of courses which will include participants in hands on exercises. I am experienced at running train the trainer and presentation skills but would like advice as to any specific issues and tips that should be addressed in relation to IT training. I have carried out little IT training myself and so have little experience to draw on as to the issues from a trainers point of view.
John Green

7 Responses

  1. Some thoughts …
    Hi John, for my part I would try to impart the need to use technical names and terms without making the learning too dry. During a spell whilst delivering training on a payroll system to non-payroll staff I would deliver the ‘official’ name along with a humorous way of remembering. Employees were assigned a job title (shown on the screen as a table) and each individual with that job title had a chair assigned to them. To ensure the employee was paid they needed to be attached to the payroll. So I would talk about attaching the employee to the payroll by putting their bum in the seat. Easy to remember and provoked much laughter. Another task was to set up the reporting hierarchy which was represented by a chap in a splendid orange suit. So setting up the reporting structure was referred to as being tangoed. Not only does it make learning more fun for the user it also lightens up the material for the trainer and sometimes this is badly needed! Additionally try to put tasks into some kind of context so learners can relate it to something. E.g. a company is about to announce a price increase and need to inform their customers en masse without having to sign each and every letter. Let’s look at how a mail merge can make this task easier.
    If I feel any further inspiration I shall let you know and good luck with the TTT session.

  2. Use an existing accredited framework?
    Hi John
    Have you considered using an existing framework for IT trainers?
    the BCS has a great standard for IT trainers.
    Matrix42 ( ) run accredited courses, I have recently experienced one and it covers all the basics for a learner centred rather than a technology or trainer centred approach


  3. Presentation skills
    Having spent 17 years as an IT trainer, I encountered a lot of others in the same line of business. Someone has already mentioned a key word: ‘dry’. The problem with IT trainers is trying to get the balance between technical proficiency and presentation skills. They need to be encouraged to contextualise what people are learning: it’s not all about ‘what’ and ‘how’ – people also need to learn about ‘when’ and ‘why’ – if learners can’t identify when and why to carry out a certain function they will soon forget what to do and how to do it!

    Also, people who are IT proficient are often very results-focused, so tend to do a lot of ‘telling’. They need to learn how to give the learner space to experiment, to make mistakes… and instead of simply rescuing them when they do, the trainer should encourage them to use help features and reference manuals to try to help themselves.

    When the learner asks a question, they may be inclined simply to give the answer and move on, instead of looking on that as an opportunity for a key learning moment.

    The other thing I noticed is that IT trainers need to be encouraged not to see themselves as the only ‘teacher’ in the room, but to allow learners the opportunity to help/learn from each other.

    Facilitated learning is trickier with the hard skills, but it can form part of the day so that you don’t wind up with monomodal teaching (yawn).

  4. Just keep asking .,,
    Very good comments so far. Just to add a bit more from my own experience.

    I have been on both sides in IT training courses and I exactly what “dry” really means.

    My advice is to consider the most fundamental rule of training delivery: keep asking questions. IT by its very nature is information rich and many trainers tend to ‘tell’ how things are done rather than expect the delegates to find out for themselves.

    There is whole body of research suggesting that delegates will have very poor results if they are just told what the features are have to memorise everything. Instead, as we all know, hands-on experience is much more effective and has a much higher retention.

    I found the TAP methodology quite useful, so if you want to follow a set guideline that’s what I recommend.

    Hope this helps.

  5. Differences in style
    I had experience in non IT training and then as a result of a change in business strategy I was presented with some IT solutions for clients to integrate into training schedules. I found IT training completely different in terms of style, approach and meet the business need. The biggest change I found was the IT trainers were glued to their PCs and projectors rather than focusing on the client. the second was a tendency to focus on the IT tool at the expense of the business need – “the tool can do X, y and Z” – as opposed to “what do you need the tool for and how could it help you achieve A, B and C”. A slight change in emphasis and approach but radically different between management training and IT training. Hope this helps. S

  6. Ideal skills for IT training
    After delivering IT training for a number of years and following completion of a Certificate in Education, I was impressed and intrigued with the idea of a train the trainer qualification being delivered within 5 days – this being provided by The Training Foundation’s Trainer Assessment Programme (TAP). The course provided new ideas on how to deliver IT training enabling person centred learning whilst retaining focus on course and business objectives. The use of question techniques and a clear course structure provide the trainer with the skills to deliver a highly interactive experiential session, which is an essential component in the delivery of IT training. The Delivery Skills course is now used as our train the trainer benchmark for our team alongside other courses within the TAP programme. I’ve included a link to their website where you can get further information.

  7. Tips specifically for IT trainers
    It was a question I asked myself after 20 years in training when I took up my present role. What if anything is different in training people on IT V other training

    What are the key tips – I can suggest the following – they are not exclusive but I would also give a major plug for both the IITT and the Training foundation 1st & its TAP profile.

    Key tips for IT training staff

    a. Design your training around the job & the Business process NOT the application functionality. Make training directly relevant to people’s work this will assist transfer

    b. Focus effort and time on developing hands on job related training exercises on the software -My guideline is that at least 60% of a training event should be hands on

    c. Advise that you need to allow lots of time to design & Set up software training databases and environments. Requirements for a training system are not the same as a standards test /production environment.

    d. Develop a healthy skepticism when the IT Architects & Business analysts /staff tell you that they know how people will use the system. In fact I would say do that about anything Technical staff tell you

    e. Ensure Training objectives reflect what the business outcomes are for job based tasks rather than application based functional tasks. This makes it easier to prove impact

    f.Design your courseware and materials with the awareness that a) The Graphic user interface will change b)Processes will evolve and c) Job roles/user roles will change and d) the Solution designers & analysts will have probably forgotten to tell you when it does !!

    g. Accept that your users will soon find ways of doing things on the application you never knew could be done – even after a period training(Good and bad). Identify fast learners and pair them with slow learners !

    Best of luck


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!