Conducting technical training can be challenging. Employers often ask subject matter experts to deliver technical training, since it requires a high level of job experience and skill. The challenge arises when the expert struggles to communicate with the learners because he lacks training experience or presentation skills. Technical training can be dry and ineffective without proper planning and development. With a plan, even the most inexperienced trainer can take complex technical information and conduct an exciting, memorable presentation.
Refine your training topic. Your topic should support a specific goal or final outcome you hope to attain. Many times a work problem may not be a training issue, just a lack of information. Relate your training topic directly to job performance, not to providing as much information as possible about your subject. Typical technical training goals are fewer errors, accident prevention or increased productivity.
Identify all learning objectives. Learning objectives are steps describing what the learner should be able to do as a result of your technical training. They should define the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to perform a specific task. Listing required competencies or performing a task analysis can help identify objectives for complex technical evolutions.
Develop the learning content. Learning content includes task information, delivery methods and learning activities that convey the learning objectives. Complex technical training doesn't have to be dry and boring if your content is developed correctly. Incorporate visual aids, stories, structured activities, hands-on practice and opportunities for learners to relate their work experience to give your training relevance.
Develop training materials. Training materials are the tools or resources you need to deliver your learning content. Typically they include an instructor guide and any technical documents, graphics, job aids, reference material or tools the learner will need. Materials also include your presentation, if technical training is to be delivered in a classroom setting, and testing and feedback tools.
Schedule and deliver technical training. Allow sufficient time; don't try to sandwich training in between jobs. Set up your classroom or learning environment to engage learners by arranging the tables in groups or facing each other, not in the typical forward-facing style. Animate your delivery. The more you gain and keep the learner's attention, the more effective the technical training will be.
Administer testing and gather feedback. Testing provides evidence of learning and allows you to judge whether you achieved your learning objectives. Testing can be formal and documented, or informal and conversational. Feedback tools allow you to use learner critiques to strengthen technical content, delivery methods and improve future training sessions.
Practice your delivery. A quick run-through helps calm nerves. It also identifies issues with time constraints, room setup, technology and equipment.
Don't wait until the end of the training session to ask for questions or comments. Encourage learners to participate at any time.
Thank individuals and groups for their contributions. Encouragement fosters participation.
Don't talk over your audience's head. You are the expert; they are the learners. You will quickly lose their attention if they can't follow your instruction.
If you use a formal presentation, don't read directly from each slide or screen. This is a common trainer mistake. Know your presentation well enough to share additional information.
Follow ground rules for breaks and electronic devices. If not, you can quickly lose control of the class.
- class room image by Brett Bouwer from Fotolia.com