Design a Balanced Train-the-Trainer Program
Definition: A train-the-trainer model enables experienced personnel to show a less-experienced instructor how to deliver and facilitate courses, workshops and seminars. A well executed train-the-trainer program can build a pool of competent instructors who can then teach the material to other people.
You need to plan a Train-the-Trainer session for a number of training consultants to facilitate a large program rollout. Not only do they need to understand the content they'll be training, but they need to be proficient training consultants as well. What do you consider when planning so that your Train-the-Trainer program is a successful?
There is no absolute formula to determining what is needed for a Train-the-Trainer program. Each training need is unique to its environment and circumstance. However, investing time in planning will always make for success during the training rollout.
When planning a Train-the-Trainer program, take into consideration the following factors:
Training trainers usually implies that the audience will be educated, seasoned and familiar with a learning environment. However, depending on the topic, you may have more "Subject Matter Experts" than experienced training consultants. Therefore, it is important to know the training skill level of your audience. If you have a group of trainers with a varying level of facilitation experience, consider a modulated approach, with a basic training skills module for those who are not seasoned training consultants.
It important to determine the curricular knowledge that the training consultant needs to acquire, as well as the behaviors they need to elicit. When the importance of either category is understood, you may need to allocate more or less emphasis on each to ensure the knowledge and behaviors are understood and acquired.
If the training consultants have limited knowledge of the curriculum, provide more time in the area of content familiarization. In addition, if there is a specific method by which the training needs to be marketed to the trainees, provide a modeled example for the trainers to mimic when they meet directly with the trainees for the first time.
Provide sufficient time in your Train-the-Trainer program for activities that will allow participants to elicit desired behaviors. Time-related factors will be determinant on whether you use smaller activities throughout the program, or a series of "teach backs" towards the end of the program. The more practice the training consultants have, the more successful they will likely be in their training programs.
Deliver the Train-the-Trainer program using the technologies required of the actual training program, as it serves as a good model. Give training consultants a chance to experiment with new technologies in a safe environment. It will prevent unnecessary delays or mishaps during employee training programs. Provide extra time for technical difficulties that could crop up during the training program as this is always a consideration to take into account and they are well-prepared.
Ensure that the space is conducive to learning the specific content. In addition, the space itself needs to be designed to accommodate the technology, number of training consultants and physical constraints. Is the space conducive to activities and practice of the learning content? Space and time can often be balanced if portions of the training can be conducted in a modular form, in a remote location, or in several rotations. For example, squeezing 20 trainers into a cramped room full of tables and chairs, and expecting them to conduct an interactive role play exercise or group work, may not be the best choice.
A secure approach to planning a Train-the-Trainer program is to build in contingency time as a best practice, since providing a buffer of extra time is always better than running short. Additionally, understanding the fundamental needs of the Train-the-Trainer program itself will help you balance your program priorities, as well as ensure that both the training consultants and your employees succeed as they learn new and exciting skills to enhance their performance on the job.