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Steve Robson

Marine Industry

Learning and Development Consultant

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I'm having a bit of a discussion here regarding the % of time a Trainer should be talking.

Of course there is no "set in stone" rules but as an average I would say the Trainer talks about 20% of the time in any session.

One lady suggested that this is acceptable at a Training event...

"trainers speak for most of the six hour session - explaining, informing and answering questions"

What do you think?

6 Responses

  1. “trainers speak for most of the six hour session – explaining, i

     Let me know which courses those are please so I can avoid them.

  2. How much should trainers talk?

    Hard to put a % on it but I would suggest, if the trainer is doing all the talking, there isn’t much learning going on.

    I think the tendency for trainers to talk too much comes largely from the idea that training is about passing on information or knowledge from the trainer to the learners.

    In fact, most training should really be about helping learners to come up with their own ideas, process any new information ( which they don’t necessarily get from the trainer ) and apply what they have learned. The important work goes on in the learners’ own heads and they don’t really learn just by listening to the trainer.

    So there is bound to be an element of explanation and certainly lots of asking questions, but the main thing is setting up discussions and activities so learners discover for themselves.

  3. Talking

    This from a a very old forum discussion on TZ


    "You learn by having someone help you talk through something – help you reflect, consider new things about the topic, offer challenges… A trainer should never be an imparter of information."
    "The problem with training is people are usually employed to tell you stuff. That is a waste of time – people just do not learn that way. The question is: how would you do it some other way?"



  4. Learning is an active process …

     … so people can’t do it if they are sitting listening to someone else prattle on for most of a day. In the end they won’t listen – they will switch off and start thinking about other things. I think most trainers understand this nowadays  … don’t they? 

    Although active learning is usually fun, it can also be demanding. A lot of learners don’t like it because they are used to sitting back and going into a daze till it’s time to go home. Once, one of a group of 16 year olds complained at break time ‘that was hard work – we had to do all the learning ourselves!’. It was a wonderful moment.

    I don’t think there is any hard and fast rule about the percentage of time that the trainer should be speaking. Sometimes it’s important to give information so some talking from the front is necessary. I never assume i’m the fount of all knowledge though; the people in the group often have experience which must be acknowledged and drawn on.

    But in my view learning activities should come early, come often and be as varied as possible to suit all learning preferences.



    I also get bored with a constant blah, blah, blah from an instructor and I hate watching a class of trainees become glassy-eyed (fall asleep), so I am definitely in Steve’s camp with this. Though 20% is a good number to aim for, it will probably vary somewhat with subject matter and how advanced the lessons & trainees are.

    That’s one of my major complaints with e-learning when I am expected to read stuff without any attempt at providing ‘learning’!

  6. My worst nightmare

    Steve, I’m with you on this….if i’m on a course I don’t want the trainer talking all day long.  

    Based on a 7 hour day (after lunch etc) there are 420 minutes, if a trainer is talking for 20% that equates to 84 minutes, almost an hour and a half.  That surely must be plenty of time to cover areas and get the delegates to learn for themselves.  

    Give me a bit of theory and let me get on with something and learn as I go along!  

    — Blake Henegan

    Optimus Sourcing

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Steve Robson

Learning and Development Consultant

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