There is nothing more boring than sitting in a classroom at a workshop that you were made to go on and where the trainer is talking and talking non-stop for what seems like hours on end, right?!
In this post, I am going to explain to you how to make training fun and to how to make training more engaging.
The Benefits of Making Training Memorable as a Trainer
In a world where we are used to getting access to things instantly because of technology, this sense of impatience also extends to the classroom.
These days, more than ever, it is a battle to make workshops fun and engaging, to keep those attending workshops interested.
As a trainer, much of what we do is measured such as through attendee feedback forms and marks and, if you are a freelance trainer, getting great feedback marks from your students might mean being invited to hold further workshops and training.
So what can you do to make training more fun and memorable for those attending? Let me give you 5 key ideas.!
1. Use an Ice-Breaker Early on in the Workshop
Whether the workshop participants are already known to each other or not, it is always worth starting the training off with an activity that helps to relax the participants and to break the ice, as it were.
Popular ice breakers include the:
Using an ice breaker activity at the start of the training is a great way to set the tone for the whole workshop.
It’s a chance for people to make new friends, to chat with colleagues they’ve not talked to before and to have a bit of fun at the start of the session
Action: Make sure you include an ice breaker in your training design (we include ice-breakers in most of our downloadable and customizable training materials packages).
2. Use Group Activities throughout the Workshop
In addition to using an ice breaker at the start of your training session, make sure to integrate standard corporate training activities into the training.
Make sure, in other words, to get participants to self-discover solutions as groups. Making workshops interactive is a very powerful way to bring the fun factor into the classroom.
Well-designed classroom activities will blend learning around the training topic, with the opportunity for attendees to interact with others and to learn through experiencing different learning techniques (more on this below in point 6).
Action: You might want to download the Free eBook above with 25 corporate training activities you can include in your training courseware.
3. Give the Students a Chance to Speak
Some students will want to be quiet and engage very little. Other participants love to have a voice, to ask questions and give their input and thoughts.
In the downloadable training programs we sell here on Symonds Training, we include (and suggest you do) activities that include time for a group discussion and feedback at the end of each activity.
Group feedback and discussion can be a great platform for those who will get more out of the training by being more involved and engaged in the content.
If group discussion is based on specific activities that act to drive home a key message involved with the training, then the discussions should always be on topic.
Action: Make sure (as we do) that the activities are sumpplemented with a discussion at the end of that activity.
4. Make Sure Room Conditions Are Positive for Learning
I have covered this already in a few posts but I cannot reiterate enough that it is worth paying attention to the conditions and environment that you use for the training.
You can read our previous posts on:
- What Is the Most Effective Classroom Seating Plan
- Best Training Room Setup & Layout to Improve Learning
- Solutions to common training day problems.
Action: Consider visiting the venue once or twice to double-check things such as key access and seating plans and if the I.T. equipment works. (You can download our free trainer’s pre-workshop checklist if needed also).
6. Understand How People Learn (Pedagogy)
Having a basic understanding of how people learn can be extremely useful if you want to make training fun.
Some people learn best by listening, others by kinaesthetics (touch), visually or by reading, writing, and repetition. We all learn differently and often with a mix of the different styles above.
So make sure you avoid being that teacher who stands up in front of the class talking for the duration of the training! Diversify.
How? You can make sure that you do what we do with our customizable and instantly downloadable training programs, by making sure that the training plans include:
- Vocal teaching time
- Activities (that include group work)
- Visuals such as through Powerpoint slides
Action: Just make sure that, if you are creating your own training materials, you include a variety of teaching methods. Include the things already mentioned such as activities, a nicely designed Powerpoint presentation, a student handbook and so on.
7. Use Well-Prepared Training Materials
Whilst it might be possible to improvise and teach by making the lesson up as you go along, nothing beats well-researched and well-design training.
Well-prepared training means that participants are much more likely to enjoy the workshop and to find it fun.
Make sure to include the aforementioned things such as a classy designed Powerpoint presentation, activities that make the training fun but that also relate closely to the course you are running.
I also suggest creating and providing a course certificate and include a student’s workbook for the student to make notes and to refer to after the course.
Action: Either take the time needed to prepare a training package so that you have a solid package that includes certificates, sign-in sheets and so on. Or, if needed, save yourself dozens of hours in research and preparation and just instantly download one of our packages.
8. Use Examples Students Can Relate to From their Lifes
One of the keys to making training fun is to provide examples in your teaching that the participants can really relate to.
Make sure you know your audience!
By knowing your audience, half the battle is won.
Consider what type of people are attending the workshop (in terms of their interests and line of work) and try and have in mind examples related to the training, that match your audience profile.
There are though also certain subject areas that most of us can relate in part to. We all like to eat food right? Most of us like to travel for holiday purposes. Such topics (provided they relate to the training) can also be used.
Action: Take just 5 minutes to consider who you are training and think about how you might tailor the training to this audience.
9. Be Enthusiastic Whatever the Subject Matter – Show Personality
Be professional but have fun and your students will have fun.
Understand also, when giving training, what the difference between fun and funny is!
You want to be a fun facilitator but do not try to be funny. In other words, you want participants to have an enjoyable experience and if there are some laughs perfect.
Do not think though that you need to attempt to be funny. I mention this as I often see an over-focus on trying to be funny and the teacher losing the students.
Just focus on being natural, try to show genuine enthusiasm for what you are teaching (or learn to fake it if you have to!) and focus on enjoyable training. That is, as we have mentioned several times, training that uses various teaching methods.
Action: Focus on learning being fun and do not worry too much about trying to be funny. Also, try to make sure you are enthusiastic about what you are teaching. As a trainer, consider teaching things that you yourself genuinely have an interest in.
10. Make the Objectives Clear at the Start of the Training
Some trainers, when designing their own training, make the mistake of forgetting to make the lesson objectives clear from the start.
Objectives are important because they give students a clear understanding of how the things they are about to learn fit into the overall workshop/training.
You do not want students secretly wondering what on earth this or that activity has to do with the course. Explain the objectives at the very beginning of the day and also refer back to them if you feel it will help.
Action: Make sure you have 4 or 5 main objectives listed on your PowerPoint presentation at the start of the course.
Dr Valeria (Lo Iacono) Symonds
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