We all know that it takes time, experience, and support to become an expert on a subject... but too often we forget that teaching that subject well requires a separate set of skills.
Sharing knowledge and building skills to create lasting change requires thoughtful organization of material, planned interactivity, an engaging presenter, and structured follow up.
Fortunately, you don't have to start from scratch in building your trainer toolkit! Here are some recommended resources and learning opportunities for "training the trainer" and best practices in adult education, many of them designed specifically for training nonprofit audiences.
Golden Rules for Adult Education
Know what the point is. What change do you want to happen because of this training? Why should participants care about this training, and how will they know that it's been worth their time?
Guila Muir makes the point that no training or presentation content "speaks for itself" in her video '"Information Only" Presentations Don't Exist'. It's your job as a presenter to clearly state the purpose of the training, connect that purpose to what matters to the audience, and define concrete outcomes for what learners will be able to take away from the training. These defined outcomes should act as the guiding structure of your training's curriculum.
Learning activities are essential. In the words of Chunk Flip Guide Laugh, "Learning happens when a lesson meets practice." Adults absorb the information you share in a training best through structured opportunities to put it to practical use.
Working in small groups of fellow learners lets participants learn by doing, observing others, and giving feedback. Plan an activity for every major idea your training covers. Clear instructions, a defined outcome, and a reasonable time limit for each activity keep learners focused on the purpose of the activity.
Recommended Training and Resources
Guila Muir and Associates
Developing trainers, presenters and facilitators to make a difference
Guila Muir's workshops and writing build the skills of trainers, facilitators, and presenters. Be sure to check out her blog for tips and tricks, and her book Instructional Design That Soars: Shaping What You Know Into Classes That Inspire is essential reading for crafting engaging and impactful courses.
Chunk Flip Guide Laugh
Turn learning into action
Developed by Nancy Bacon, Washington Nonprofit's Director of Learning & Engagement, Chunk Flip Guide Laugh provides downloadable resources to help you distill complex topics into engaging curriculum, with a focus on inspiring action and change that last beyond the end of your training.
Tracy Flynn Consulting
Supporting the success of individuals, organizations, and communities by providing coaching and training to help them achieve positive change.
Tracy Flynn offers customized sessions, one-on-one coaching, and training programs on a variety of topics, including effective training and building a learning community.
- Training Through Dialogue: Promoting Effective Learning and Change with Adults by Jane Vella (1995, Jossey-Bass)
- Cornell University's Center for Teaching Innovation provides a number of resources for active and collaborative learning, including classroom structures to encourage student participation and examples of group work activities.
- The Learning-Transfer Evaluation Model (LTEM) by Will Thalheimer of Work Learning offers a research-based means of assessing the lasting results of a learning experience. The LTEM chart provides specific, observable criteria to see how effectively a learner gained new know-how and can put it to use.