As a relatively new Langevin Course Leader, I facilitate new courses frequently. After I teach a course for the first time, I like to reflect on the instructional techniques I used that made it successful. Here are some of my favorite success tips for delivering a course for the first time.
Preparation, Preparation, Preparation!
- There is no substitute for preparation when you’re delivering a course for the first time. Make sure you have a preparation procedure in place.
- Review the lesson plan, highlight key points and add personal notes.
- Make notes right on your training materials to eliminate juggling between the lesson plan and manual.
- Note which slides or visual aids you’ll use, and which questions you’ll ask to engage your participants.
- Create links from one topic to the next for smooth transitions.
- Review the course with someone else, clarifying any content and transitions as needed. At Langevin, we’re assigned a coach when learning a new workshop. If you don’t have a coach, team up with another trainer.
- Arrive early to allow plenty of time to setup and make sure all your technology is working.
- Greet each participant at the door and introduce yourself to start building a positive training climate from the moment they enter the room.
- Kick off the training day with a brainteaser and an icebreaker. These quick activities create a fun atmosphere and promote an enjoyable and collaborative training experience.
Set Learners Up for Success
- Before you begin, clearly explain any activity and expectations. If there are multiple steps, prepare a handout or flipchart for reference. I like to do the first few questions together or elicit a few ideas to get everyone started before they begin working independently or with their group.
- Monitor your learners’ progress, answer questions and offer coaching to prevent any roadblocks.
Keep Learners Engaged
There are a number of strategies I incorporate into the training day that help keep learners engaged. If these aren’t part of your lesson plan, sprinkle them in strategically throughout the day.
Breaks: Plan to take short (5-7 minute) breaks every hour. Encourage your learners to get up and move around during breaks so they’re ready to re-engage when the training resumes. As your participants return from the break, use a quick puzzle or riddle to get them refocused.
Reflection: Allow your learners an opportunity to reflect and consider how new learning transfers back to their job. Reflection is important during training, but it’s easy to get caught up in our agenda and timeline at the expense of the learners’ needs. During my courses, I use Langevin’s Action Plan tool as a place for learners to create a personal “to do” list to use as soon as they get back to their jobs.
Review: This helps the learners confirm their understanding of the content and gives them a chance to clarify any misconceptions. An effective and simple review technique is to ask questions that allow your participants to express what they know about the topic.
Connect the Dots
Using the course objectives, survey your participants at the start of the training to identify their top training priorities. Circle back to these priorities throughout the day to help the learners see connection and relevance for each priority.
If you’re interested in learning more about a variety of instructional techniques for new trainers, including review techniques, strategies for creating and maintaining a positive climate, and effective questioning techniques, check out Langevin’s 3-day Instructional Techniques for New Instructors workshop!