Feedback, as we have pointed out in earlier lessons, is a powerful tool to motivate learners and create a positive learning environment. So, what are the best ways to give effective feedback to your participants?
It is also invaluable for you, the trainer, to receive feedback from your participants in order to improve your practice and see what they understand. Eliciting really useful feedback is not always easy though.
So, what techniques can you use to also achieve this goal?
Giving Feedback to Your Students
In workplace and corporate training, learners are rarely assessed in the same way as students in schools, colleges or universities are.
Corporate training sessions are mostly (although not always) one or two days long at the most, so you cannot give your participants assignments to do.
You can always provide feedback though on the activities they do during the course. See below a few ways in which you can achieve this.
1. Feedback during tasks
During question and answer sessions or small group activities, you can show approval, either verbally or with body language, nodding, and smiling.
2. Make your feedback specific and centred on the task
Feedback should clearly specify what the participant did well and why. Also, you should avoid statements such as:
- “You are a quick learner!”
This type of statement focuses on the learner. You should focus on the task instead.
3. Focus on the positives
Use feedback as a form of positive reinforcement, to increase the learners’ confidence and motivation.
To do so, make sure you give learners positive feedback when they do something right.
Make sure to sound sincere though!
4. Give constructive feedback
When you need to correct something, explain how the learner can do better.
Also, you can make a neutral statement (i.e. a description of what was done) and encourage the learner to figure out the correct or appropriate outcome.
5. Give feedback as soon as possible
You should give feedback as soon as the activity is completed and not wait too long.
If you wait too long, the feedback will not be as effective.
6. Allow your participants to give feedback to each other
This is a way to provide learners with a more active role in the learning process. As mentioned in lesson 1, adult learners are motivated if they are in charge, to a certain extent, of the learning process.
Also, this is a great way to use different levels of experience that participants have to improve each other’s learning.
7. Learn your participants’ names
Making an attempt to learn your participants’ names will help you give feedback in a way that will feel more personal and memorable.
Gathering Feedback From the Participants i.e Learners
At the end of every training session, it is good practice to hand out a feedback form for participants to fill in.
Is this enough though, and what kind of questions should the form include to provide you with valuable information?
1. Gather feedback during the session
As a trainer, you need to be observant. Watch your participants’ body language, listen to what they say, ask questions.
By doing so, you will gather invaluable information about their learning process, while you still have time to adapt your teaching to their needs.
2. The traffic light system
This is a system to gather feedback that focuses on the trainer’s actions. You print out a form with a traffic light, where:
- Yellow means continue (these are the things you are doing well)
- Green means start (these are suggestions on things you should start doing)
- Red means stop (i.e. things that do not work so well).
3. The minute paper
The ‘minute paper’ focuses instead on the learners.
You provide them with a piece of paper with two open questions along the lines of:
- What is the most important thing you learned during this course?
- What important question remains unanswered?
- Or, what is, for you, the most challenging part of this course?
- and, what is the most enjoyable part of the course?
Well, this is it. THANK YOU for doing this 5-day Freelance Trainers bootcamp series.
What Next? The End of Freelance Trainers Bootcamp
If you enjoyed the training, you can:
- Read more about how to become a freelance trainer
- Start marketing yourself as a freelance trainer by being interviewed for our ‘Trainers’ corner’
- If you need help and ideas for training on specific topics, try our Training Materials Packages, which include subjects such as soft skills and marketing.
In case you missed any of the emails, you can read these posts:
- How to be a corporate trainer
- Training days, what can go wrong and solutions
- Should I do a half, full or 2-day training course?
- How to use games & activities in corporate training workshops
Quick tips and summary of what we learned on the course:
- Actively engage your learners with games and activities.
- Motivate your participants using feedback as a form of positive reinforcement.
- Target a variety of learning styles for the best results.
- Use space and seating arrangements to support your learners’ engagement.
- Deliver information in small manageable chunks and in a logical sequence.
- Deliver well-structured and carefully planned sessions. Our off the shelf training courses packages can help you achieve this.
- To get the best results, you sometimes need to invest your time in learning. You might want to consider our Training for Trainers courses.
Dr Valeria (Lo Iacono) Symonds
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