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5 Instructional Techniques to Address Individual Training Needs

Posted by Marsha Weisleder on 7/21/14 4:00 AM
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I hear it all the time… “The session went horribly.” “It was the worst class of my life.” “They didn’t pay attention and weren’t engaged.” Yes, it’s true. Sometimes we have unmotivated learners and that can be very challenging. It’s interesting though, how we like to blame the learners when a class goes badly and rarely question ourselves. Could we have prevented the failure? Did we do everything we could to make it a successful session?


So, how do we motivate our learners? Of course, we all know the course has to be relevant, beneficial, and enjoyable. In addition, we want to give our learners opportunities to express themselves, work together, and be active. But have you also tried to address their individual needs in the classroom? Let’s face it, when it comes to training, one size doesn’t always fit all! We need to think about every person in class and tailor the session for them as much as possible.


In our Advanced Instructional Techniques workshop, we suggest many tips to address individual needs. Here are just five to consider:

1. Administer a brief survey to find out what needs exist and which objectives learners are most interested in.

2. Schedule after-hours sessions (e.g. 5:00-5:30) to discuss individual concerns and answer questions.

3. Encourage phone calls/visits from learners after the course to provide extra assistance.

4. Rather than having all learners do the same exercises, have a few exercises they can choose from, based on their needs.

5. Give each learner two colored cards (one red and one green). Periodically pause in the course and say, “If everything is fine and you wish to continue, hold up green. If you are not ready to proceed, hold up red.” If red, slow down, review, take a break, etc.


So my fellow trainers, are you doing everything you can to individualize your training? Are you going that extra mile before, during, and after the session? Personally, I have used these instructional techniques and have benefited greatly. Now trust me, I realize that Langevin learners are the BEST and always come motivated to class! Yet, I still know these techniques have made me a better instructor.


At the beginning of every Langevin class, we circulate a survey asking learners to select their top three objectives of the session. We also ask them to identify other subjects of interest that are not listed in the objectives. Finally, we ask them to share their biggest challenge or obstacle back in their job. I read every survey and do my best to address their concerns either during class, at break, or after the session.


During housekeeping, I let the class know that I am available before class, at lunch, and after class, to privately discuss any questions, issues, or concerns. Of course, we also offer follow-up service at Langevin, free of charge. By the way, I love to get follow-up questions from learners because it tells me they are using what they learned back on the job. It doesn’t get any better than that!


So, what have you done to address your learners’ needs in the classroom? I’m looking forward to hearing from you and remember, one size doesn’t fit all. Let’s tailor and deliver the highest caliber training!


Dealing with Difficult Participants

Marsha has been a course leader with Langevin since 2000. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience. She went on to attend Osgoode Hall Law School and practiced civil litigation for a few years. While working for a company as their in-house legal counsel, Marsha fell into a training position and never looked back! Each day, Marsha brings passion and excitement to her workshops, always encouraging her participants to find their own passion as well. Outside of the classroom, Marsha loves to spend time with her family, travel, and stay active. Of course her main obsession is Elvis! Some people might think she’s a little over-the-top about him, but doesn’t everyone have an Elvis shrine in their home? Maybe not…

Tags: instructional techniques, tips-for-trainers

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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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