Becoming Better at Training

Anyone in a management or leadership role of any kind is involved in or concerned about training to some degree.  If you’re like me you’ve often thought, “How come this person isn’t performing to expectation?  I’ve told them what to do and how to do it but it’s still not happening…why not?”  And if you’re like me, perhaps you’ve come to the realization that your training probably wasn’t the best.

It’s not enough to simple lay out expectations in written and oral form.  A few months back I was part of a conference where effective and thorough training was discussed.  There was some really interesting literature presented that suggested the most effective training includes these six steps:

  1. Describe the target skill
  2. Provide a succinct written description of the skill
  3. Demonstrate the target skill
  4. Require trainee practice of the target skill
  5. Provide feedback during practice
  6. Repeat steps four and five to mastery

Many of us are really good about steps one and two, and some of us even take it to steps three and four, but we often forget the latter part of these steps.  However, the research has shown that if we describe the target skill or provide written instruction on the skill, we will only see that skill performed with 24% – 60% accuracy.  But if we take it to the next level and demonstrate the skill, then have the trainee demonstrate the skill, and provide feedback until mastery, we will see that skill performed with over 90% accuracy!

That kind of huge improvement in performance is well worth the time and energy required up front to properly train someone and avoid the time and effort that will surely be required on the back end to “clean up” or do “damage control” because someone wasn’t properly trained.  My challenge to you is to implement these six steps the next time you’re tasked with training someone in their new role.  I think you will find that it is well worth the upfront investment of your time.


2 thoughts on “Becoming Better at Training

  1. Those 6 steps are absolutely on point. I currently don’t train much but I know if I had known these 6 steps back in my UPS day it would have helped both the people I was training and myself to become a better trainer. Great Read!


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