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5 Ways to Include Learner Practice in your Training

Posted by Linda Carole Pierce on 11/21/13 3:00 AM
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Presentation alone is not training, yet we are still hearing from clients that the majority of their training consists of 80% presentation. Langevin defines effective training as 1/3 presentation and 2/3 application and feedback. We want to spend more time in the application phase because “we learn by doing.” Learners should be given the opportunity to practice what has been taught during training.


Studies have shown that we retain 90% of what we say and do. This level of retention will increase the transfer of knowledge and skill back on the job, which sets everyone up for success.


By incorporating these five techniques into your instructional design, your participants will receive the benefit of effective learner practice:

1.  Choose common application methods that are proven effective:

  • If your content is technical, design practice exercises.
  • If your content is interpersonal, design role plays.
  • f your content is conceptual, design case studies.

    I have only identified three of the most common application methods. However, in our instructional design courses we have a substantial glossary of 50 presentation and application methods to choose from.

2. Design application that allows the learners to practice on their own. The instructor should monitor and provide coaching, but a true application is when the learners can do it without assistance.


3.  Ideally, the application should mirror the objective and be designed to be as “real world” as possible. If the objective is to sell the product, the participants should practice selling the product.


4. It is important to provide clear step-by-step instructions. The instructor should have instructions to assist with his/her set up; whereas, the instructions for the participant should be visible on a slide, flip chart, manual, or handout.


 5. Identify “bear traps” for the instructor to watch for when monitoring learner practice. It is also helpful to include coaching tips to guide learners through those anticipated challenges.


Implementing these five techniques when designing your learner practice will surely set your participants up for success. Remember, we learn by doing; therefore, we need “more ‘do’ time than ‘talk’ time, because telling ain’t training.”



Instructional Designer Starter Kit

Linda has been a course leader with Langevin since 2005. She graduated from New York University with a degree in Organizational Behavior and Communication. She’s also had the privilege of teaching at NYU’s Gallatin Division in the area of Theatre and Education. Linda began her career facilitating conflict resolution and coexistence workshops for diverse groups, and running workshops in the Middle East and South Africa, as well as facilitating social issues workshops for young people in the NYC school system. Linda believes learning works best when it is student-centered, experiential, interactive, and fun. Outside of the classroom, you’ll find Linda at the theatre, either as an audience member or actor, or spending quality time with her family and friends.

Topics: presentation skills, tips-for-trainers, instructional design

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Our very own world-class course leaders share their experiences, tips, best practices, and expertise on virtual training, instructional design, needs analysis, e-learning, delivery, evaluation, presentation skills, facilitation, and much more!

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