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10 Tips for Instructor Preparation

Posted by Marsha Weisleder on 11/9/15 3:00 AM
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It’s 3:00 pm on a Friday and the training manager calls you to his/her office with the news…we need you to teach this new course on Monday. What? Well, the good news is you have the weekend to prepare but the bad news is you have the weekend to prepare! Can you relate? Talk about NOT being set up for success. Unfortunately, this is a reality in many corporations and certainly not ideal.I can remember a similar experience when I started out as a trainer. About 20 years ago, I delivered a course about the internet, with little prep time, and keep in mind, I’m as non-techy as they come. Needless to say, the class was a failure. I couldn’t answer questions and the participants were frustrated. Even after all this time, it still stings when I think about it.


Now, for the good news. At Langevin, we recommend a thorough and comprehensive preparation plan for new instructors. Not only will it set them up for success, it will also reflect well on your training department. Here are our top ten tips:

1. Assign a coach to oversee the instructor’s preparation.

2. Determine what subject-matter preparation the instructor will require (e.g. reading procedure manuals or hands-on equipment training).

3. Explain the details of the new course the instructor will deliver.

4. Schedule an opportunity for the instructor to attend and observe the workshop being taught by another instructor.

5. Schedule the instructor to observe a video recording of the course and write a personal lesson plan.

6. Ask the instructor to prepare a list of any questions he/she may have about facilitating the course.

7. Assign background reading to help the instructor understand and consolidate the course content.

8. Schedule the instructor to conduct a dry run with the coach.

9. Ask the instructor to revise the personal lesson plan based on suggestions given by the coach.

10. Ask the coach to assess the instructor’s readiness to teach the new course.


As for timing, we recommend one week of preparation time per day of training. Meaning, a three-day class would require three weeks of prep time. Can you imagine? No more weekends to learn a course on your own.


I’m pleased to share that Langevin also practices what they preach. I remember like it was yesterday, even though it was over 15 years ago. When I was first hired, I was assigned a coach. Then, I observed a live workshop. Next, I watched VHS tapes of the workshop (yes, we had VHS tapes back then!) while following a lesson plan and adding my own notes. My coach worked with me, asking questions and hearing my transitions from page to page. I even had a “boot camp” with two other new trainers, where we each took a turn facilitating parts of the course. The VP and our manager asked us challenging questions to confirm we could deliver the goods. Talk about setting us up for success!


So, training managers, how do you prep your instructors? If you’re interested in learning more about this and how to manage your department, then come to our Successful Training Manager workshop. You’ll lead your team to their highest potential and help your organization meet its goals!


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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: managing training

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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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