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Mastering the Art of Engagement: How to Create a Training Session that Engages Your Audience 

President Of TrainSmart, Inc.

As a training professional, one of the most important skills you can develop is the ability to engage your audience. When learners are engaged, they are more likely to retain information, be motivated to take action, and have a positive experience overall.

However, creating a training session that captivates your audience can be challenging. In this blog post, we will explore strategies for mastering the art of engagement and creating a training session that leaves a lasting impression and ensures that the training sticks.

Start with a strong opening or often referred to as “Begin with a Bang”

The first few minutes of your training session are crucial for setting the tone and capturing your learners’ attention. According to the “primacy effect,” people are more likely to remember information presented at the beginning of a session (Kluger & DeNisi, 1996). Therefore, it is important to start your training session with a strong opening that grabs your learners’ attention and sets the stage for the rest of the session.

One strategy for creating a strong opening is to use a hook. A hook is something that grabs the audience’s attention and makes them curious to learn more. This can be a question, a story, a surprising fact, or a demonstration. For example, you might start your training session by asking a thought-provoking question related to the topic of the session, or by sharing a story about a real-world problem that the training will help learners solve.

Another strategy for creating a strong opening is to use visuals. Research has shown that visual aids can increase learners’ attention and comprehension (Mayer & Moreno, 2003). Therefore, it is important to incorporate visuals into your opening, such as images, charts, or videos.

Use Active Learning

Active learning is a teaching method that involves learners in the learning process by encouraging them to actively engage with the material. Research has shown that active learning can lead to increased engagement and improved learning outcomes (Bonwell & Eison, 1991).

Active learning strategies that you can use in your training session include:

  • Discussions: Encourage learners to share their thoughts and ideas with one another.
  • Questions: Ask open-ended questions that require learners to think critically and apply what they have learned.
  • Group work: Divide learners into small groups and have them work together to solve a problem or complete a task related to the training topic.
  • Role-playing: Have learners act out scenarios related to the training topic.

Incorporate Variety

Another key strategy for engaging learners is to incorporate variety into your training session. Research has shown that varied instruction can lead to increased engagement and improved learning outcomes (Rosenshine, 1992).

There are several ways to incorporate variety into your training session, such as:

  • Using different teaching methods: Incorporate a mix of lectures, discussions, and hands-on activities that are in small groups, independently completed, and even working in teams.
  • Varying the pace of the session: Alternate between fast-paced and slow-paced activities to keep participants on their toes.
  • Using different types of media: Incorporate a mix of text, images, videos, and applications such as jam boards and Poll Anywhere, and many others,  into your training session’s design.
  • Incorporating breaks: Take short breaks throughout the session to give learners a chance to recharge, reflect and absorb. We execute the 50 minutes on and 7-10 minutes off approach.

Provide Opportunities for Feedback

Providing opportunities for feedback is another key strategy for engaging learners. Feedback allows learners to reflect on their learning and make adjustments as needed. Research has shown that feedback can lead to improved learning outcomes (Kluger & DeNisi, 1996).

There are several ways to provide opportunities for feedback in your training session, such as:

  • Self-assessment: Provide learners with self-assessment tools, such as quizzes or questionnaires, that allow them to reflect on their learning and identify areas where they need additional support.
  • Peer feedback: Encourage learners to provide feedback to one another on group work or presentations.
  • Instructor feedback: Provide learners with feedback on their performance and progress throughout the training session.

Make it Relevant

Another key strategy for engaging learners is to make the training relevant to their lives and work. When learners see the relevance of the training to their own experience, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated to learn.

One way to make training relevant is to use real-world examples and case studies. For example, if you are teaching a course on customer service, you could provide examples of real-world customer service scenarios that learners are likely to encounter in their work.

Another way to make training relevant is to provide learners with opportunities to apply what they have learned. For example, you could provide learners with a problem or task related to the training topic and ask them to apply what they have learned to solve it.

Conclusion

In conclusion, engaging learners is crucial for creating a successful training session. By starting with a strong opening, using active learning strategies, incorporating variety, providing opportunities for feedback, and making the training relevant, you can create a training session that captivates your audience, leaves a lasting impression, and most importantly makes the information “sticky”.

References:

Kluger, A. N., & DeNisi, A. (1996). The effects of feedback interventions on performance: A historical review, a meta-analysis, and a preliminary feedback intervention theory. Psychological Bulletin, 119(2), 254–284.
Mayer, R. E., & Moreno, R. (2003). Nine ways to reduce cognitive load in multimedia learning. Educational Psychologist, 38(1), 43–52.
Bonwell, C. C., & Eison, J. A. (1991). Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 1. Washington, DC: The George Washington University, School of Education and Human Development.
Rosenshine, B. (1992). Synthesis of research on instruction. Educational Leadership, 49(8), 65–75.

Attend A TrainSMART 3-Day Train-the-Trainer Course

Attention all trainers and aspiring trainers! Are you looking to take your training skills to the next level? Do you want to learn new techniques and strategies to make your training sessions more engaging and effective? Then, TrainSMART’s Train-the-Trainer workshop is just what you need!

By participating in this workshop, you’ll gain valuable knowledge and skills that will help you design, deliver and facilitate training sessions that meet the needs of your audience. You’ll learn how to create an effective learning environment, use interactive training techniques, and deliver presentations that captivate your audience.

So what are you waiting for? Register now for TrainSMART’s Train-the-Trainer workshop and take the first step towards becoming a top-notch trainer. You’ll leave the workshop with the skills and confidence you need to take your training career to the next level. Don’t miss this opportunity – register today!

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Leslie has over 25 years experience in the training industry. Her responsibilities have included sales, hands on management and software training, curriculum development, needs analysis, usability testing, and project management. Her strong training background, organizational skills, and exceptional development expertise, augment her extensive sales and marketing abilities.