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Train the Trainer: Developing Effective PM Instructors

Train the Trainer is a model that is usually used in order to train possible instructors, or instructors who have less experience, and show them the best ways in which they can deliver training materials to those who want to learn. It can be a useful approach for in-house Learning & Development departments that want to coach their own teams in introductory project management qualifications such as APM PFQ.

The meaning of Train the Trainer

Train the Trainer (TTT for short) is a frequently used workplace model. During a training session, a trainer trains other employees whilst also teaching them how to train other individuals. This is a training programme that is aimed at trainers (just starting), educators and teachers in order to professionalise and optimise any current methods that they may already use, whilst also expanding their current skills and knowledge. Many of the programmes that can be opted for a focus on educating others in either leadership or facilitation skills.

There are several points that have a central focus in this type of training:

  • How can you train a group?
  • How do you represent yourself as a trainer?
  • How do individuals respond to you?
  • What is self-directing, and what are its limitations?
  • What competencies does a trainer need, and what training method is right for you?

Each training workshop or training program will have a particular focus on the training style of an individual. It is important for that individual to work with an experienced trainer to create a good training program that will take them from preparation all the way through to evaluation. It will also be important to establish who the target group is and at what point they will be satisfied.

It is essential for project management instructors to experience a range of different ways in which they can share their knowledge. This can be experienced in a number of ways. TTT assists in ensuring that a training programme is its most effective. The final step is that at the end of the training, the results are evaluated, and the individual is able to reflect on the new skills that they have learnt.

In many companies, you will find either a subject matter expert or a corporate trainer who will have put a TTT model training programme in place.

Why should you consider Train the Trainer?

There are two different sets of skills and knowledge that every trainer requires. They must be fully conversant with the subject that they are teaching (this means having expertise that is content related) they also need to know how to impart this information to their students (expertise of instruction). Whilst, in theory, this is what they need, it is often not quite the case in practice.

Not everyone who has the relevant knowledge and skills within an industry has the necessary skills to teach this knowledge to others. It doesn’t always follow that someone who has attended some form of training for project managers will be able to instruct others in everything that they have learnt. There are a wide variety of ways in which you can help others to learn from your knowledge, and not all of these will work for everyone.

There are several different examples of how you can create a training-the-trainer programme. These include:

  • Making trainers authoritative – if you want people to listen, engage with what you tell them and, more importantly remember if then they need to feel the person delivering the information is doing so with authority
  • Trainers need to be prepared for interactive discussions with students – this will allow a trainer to train leaders who will then be able to work with their audience by getting people to think on a deeper level
  • Trainers need a better understanding so they can appeal to a more diverse audience –  this will assist with the ability to retain content and could also be essential when it comes to teaching other training programmes and helping make sure that those taking part are involved in developing any content

How can you Train the Trainer?

There are a wide range of different ways in which you can Train the Trainer, and one of the most popular ones is the wide variety of training courses that are on offer that have this type of programme available. These can last from one-day to a week, with the content of the course varying significantly from one type of course to another.

A good training course is one where the trainer will not just tell those who are there what they need to learn but will also let them see how they should teach it. When a trainer is internal, they learn to use empathy and listen. They offer ideas and also show how courses that will be relevant to employees can be created.

For anyone who wants to complete a Training for Trainer course, there are five important points to consider:

1. Begin with the goal of a trainer

You should consider the following points:

  • Do you have skills you want to develop?
  • What would being a trainer mean to you?
  • Can you change your attitude?
  • Could you see your job being one where you convey knowledge?

The answers to these questions will help show what type of trainer you require.

2. Think about educational psychology

A course that is effective is one that treats the relevant educational psychology and how this is used by the trainer in both the design and delivery of all learning choices. An ability to understand educational psychology properly will also allow for better guidance from the trainer and will ensure that students are better equipped to deal with situations as they occur.

3. Develop both objectives and an assessment process

Both trainer and student should be able to create goals that are based on realistic assessment and behaviour so that they can see the outcome of the course in real terms Both of them will need to work on a range of objectives that look at behaviour and at the end of the course it should be evident if these have been achieved.

4. Lesson content should support its objectives

It is important to ensure that the content of any lessons has been put together in such a way that it really supports the objectives.

5. Consider making it interactive

Good lessons are interactive, as they engage students in dialogue and work with a range of senses to offer a more stimulating learning experience.

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