Photo by: Jens Kreuter on Unsplash
When learners attend training, they are often looking to get what they need from the session and get out. In today’s corporate culture, learners must juggle their training time with their obligations back on the job. Even if learners are excused from the daily operations of their current position, most are still expected to check and answer emails and phone calls. With the demands placed on them, from professional and personal obligations, learners may find it difficult to maintain focus in the classroom.
With these demands in mind, it is important that trainers manage their classroom time effectively. Below are six techniques to maximize your training time so your learners can get what they need and get back to work.
1. Start class on time and ask learners to be on time. Start your class on time each morning and upon return from breaks and lunch. Model the behavior you want learners to exhibit. If all scheduled learners are not in place when you are ready to start, start anyway. This technique shows them you will not wait. If you wait for the stragglers, you risk the other learners feeling their time is not respected.
2. Post the agenda. Let the learners decide what parts of class they will miss. If learners know when the breaks are, they can let their office know when they can return calls or answer emails. An agenda puts learners in control of their schedule and lets them determine what content they need to make up.
3. Use anecdotes, stories, and real-world examples sparingly. Focus on “need-to-know” information. Anecdotes, stories, and real-world examples bring training to life. Though we highly encourage trainers to sprinkle these into every training session, over-use can waste time and change learner’s focus from what’s important to simply the “nice-to-know” information. Ensure use of these techniques are relevant to the content presented. It’s okay to share additional stories during breaks or free-time. They help build rapport with your learners.
4. Circulate during exercises. Learners limit personal conversations and stay on task when they know you will be there to look at their progress and answer any questions. This technique is two-fold. It helps you manage time by ensuring learners get tasks done quickly and accurately, and it allows you to reduce time for some of the more difficult exercises because you are there to shape their responses.
5. Give clear instructions and post them on a flipchart. When learners have a quick visual of the important details for an activity, it minimizes time wasted on the discussion of what to do. When learners have a visual roadmap, they can refer to it when they get off track.
6. Plan to stay 30 minutes before and after class. Sometimes learners must leave early to make an early flight or to make/take a call. Your availability ensures they receive what they need while managing the other demands placed on them outside the classroom.
Whether attending classes on or off-site, learners want to maximize their time. When trainers are client-focused, they maximize every moment of learning time by reducing the time they talk and increasing the time learners have for practice, application, and feedback. The goal of any successful training is to ensure that knowledge and skills transfer back to the job. Learners are happy when training helps them get back to work and get it done.
You can learn even more about this topic, as well as other key instructional techniques in our Instructional Techniques for New Instructors workshop.
What techniques have you found successful for managing classroom time? Your experiences might be like those of other trainers. Let’s learn from each other!