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Facilitate a train-the-trainer session

“What are the purposes and benefits of a train-the-trainer?”

“Who should be invited to a train-the-trainer session?”

“What information should be covered in a train-the-trainer?”

“What support should be provided to trainers after a train-the-trainer session?”

In this lesson, the concept of train-the-trainer (TTT or T3) programs and their significance for instructional designers will be explored. The purposes and benefits of TTT programs, the development of expertise, enhancement of training skills, the building of confidence, standardization of training, scalability, collaboration, and professional development will be covered. This lesson will also discuss what key individuals should be invited to a TTT program, ranging from subject matter experts to managers and HR professionals. It will also outline the essential information that should be covered in a TTT program. And, finally, it will highlight the importance of providing ongoing support to trainers after the TTT sessions have concluded.

What are the purposes and benefits of a train-the-trainer?

TTT programs are designed to prepare trainers and training support staff with the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to deliver training. The purposes and benefits include the following:

Who should be invited to a train-the-trainer?

When determining who to invite to a TTT, it's important to consider the specific needs and goals of the organization and training initiative. Depending on the situation, the following may be invited to participate in or observe a TTT with the learning design team:

  • Subject matter experts (SMEs): Inviting SMEs to a TTT program ensures that trainers have a deep understanding of the content they will be teaching. SMEs possess specialized knowledge and expertise in a particular field or subject area, and their participation in the TTT program helps trainers gain in-depth insights, clarify concepts, and address complex questions that may arise during training sessions.

  • Seasoned trainers: If an organization already has a pool of trainers, inviting them to a TTT program allows for professional development and skills enhancement. This ensures consistency in training delivery across the organization and helps trainers refine their instructional techniques, learn new methodologies, and share their experiences with others.

  • Aspiring trainers: Individuals who have the potential and desire to become trainers can greatly benefit from a TTT program. These individuals may not have prior experience in training but possess the necessary subject matter expertise or possess strong communication and facilitation skills. The TTT program can equip them with the essential knowledge and skills needed to transition into a trainer role.

  • Managers and supervisors: Including managers and supervisors in the TTT program can be valuable, especially if they are involved in overseeing the training initiatives within the organization. By participating in the TTT program, managers and supervisors gain a better understanding of the training process, the skills required, and the challenges trainers may face. This knowledge enables them to provide better support and guidance to trainers and align training objectives with organizational goals.

  • Human Resources (HR) professionals: HR professionals who are responsible for training and development initiatives can benefit from a TTT program. It helps them gain insights into effective training methodologies, understand the needs of trainers, and contribute to the overall training strategy of the organization. Their participation ensures that the TTT program aligns with the organization's HR policies and practices.

  • Representatives from different departments or teams: Depending on the nature of the training program, it can be beneficial to invite individuals from various departments or teams. This helps ensure that trainers have a broad perspective and understanding of the training needs and challenges faced by different groups within the organization. Including diverse perspectives can enrich the training content and promote collaboration among trainers from different backgrounds.

It's important to consider the specific context and requirements of an organization when deciding who to invite to a TTT program. By involving the right mix of individuals with subject matter expertise, training experience, and relevant roles, a robust TTT program that caters to the needs of both the trainers and the organization as a whole can be created.

What information should be covered in a train-the-trainer?

A comprehensive TTT should cover a range of essential information to equip trainers with the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to effectively train others. While the specific content may vary based on the organization's training needs and objectives, here are some key areas that should generally be covered in a TTT program:

  • Training structure, agenda, content, and activities: Designers often walk through the learning program materials, highlighting how the program is structured and how time should be spent during the program. They review content and activities with ample time for questions. In many cases, time is reserved for practice and feedback, as well.

  • Training principles and adult learning theory: Introduce trainers to the foundational principles of training and adult learning. This includes understanding how adults learn, identifying different learning styles, and incorporating adult learning principles into training design and delivery.

  • Related instructional techniques and delivery methods: Introduce trainers to instructional techniques and delivery methods that are required to successfully deliver the program. This includes understanding different facilitation styles, using interactive and participatory activities, incorporating multimedia and technology tools, managing group dynamics, and adapting training to different learning preferences.

  • Assessment and evaluation: Guide trainers on how to deliver valid and reliable assessments to measure trainees' learning outcomes. This includes delivering various assessment types (e.g., quizzes, assignments, practical exercises), providing constructive feedback, and using evaluation methods to assess the effectiveness of the training program.

  • Communication and presentation skills: Help trainers develop effective communication and presentation skills. Cover topics such as public speaking, active listening, non-verbal communication, using visual aids, and managing time during training sessions.

  • Handling challenging situations: Prepare trainers to handle challenging situations that may arise during training, such as dealing with difficult participants, managing disruptions, handling questions and objections, and adapting training on the fly.

  • Technology in training: Familiarize trainers with the effective use of technology in training. This includes utilizing learning management systems (LMS), virtual training platforms, e-learning tools, and multimedia resources to enhance training delivery and engage learners.

  • Supporting resources and materials: Provide trainers with access to a range of supporting resources and materials. This may include training manuals, job aids, reference materials, case studies, and online resources that trainers can leverage to enhance their training programs.

By covering these essential areas, a TTT program can equip trainers with the necessary knowledge, skills, and resources to design, deliver, and evaluate effective training programs. It is important to adapt the content to suit the specific needs and context of the organization and the trainees.

What support should be provided to trainers after a train-the-trainer session?

Providing ongoing support to trainers after a TTT is crucial to help them effectively apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired. Here are some key forms of support that can be offered:

  • Mentoring and coaching: Assign experienced trainers or instructional designers as mentors to provide one-on-one guidance and support to newly trained trainers. Mentors can offer advice, answer questions, provide feedback on training sessions, and help trainers navigate any challenges they may encounter.

  • Communities of practice: Facilitate the formation of communities of practice where trainers can connect with their peers, share experiences, exchange ideas, and collaborate on training-related topics. These communities can be established through online platforms, discussion forums, or regular meet-ups, fostering a supportive and collaborative learning environment.

  • Resource libraries: Create a centralized repository of training resources, materials, templates, and job aids that trainers can access and use in their training sessions. This helps trainers save time and effort in developing training materials from scratch and ensures consistency in the training content across the organization.

  • Regular check-ins and feedback: Schedule regular check-ins with trainers to provide ongoing feedback, assess their progress, and address any concerns or challenges they may be facing. These check-ins can be conducted through meetings, email exchanges, or online communication tools.

  • Refresher sessions and workshops: Conduct periodic refresher sessions or workshops to reinforce key concepts, introduce new training methodologies or tools, and address any emerging training needs or trends. These sessions provide trainers with opportunities for continuous learning and professional development.

  • Access to subject matter experts: Facilitate access to subject matter experts (SMEs) who can provide additional support and clarification on complex topics or address specific questions related to the training content. This can be done through virtual meetings, Q&A sessions, or online forums where trainers can directly interact with the SMEs.

  • Technology support: Provide technical support to trainers who may encounter challenges in using training technology, software, or online platforms. This can involve troubleshooting assistance, training on specific tools, or providing access to IT support resources.

  • Evaluation and feedback mechanisms: Establish mechanisms for trainers to receive feedback on their training sessions from trainees or other stakeholders. This feedback can help trainers identify areas of improvement and refine their training approaches. Additionally, conducting evaluations of the overall training program can provide insights into the effectiveness of the TTT initiative and areas for improvement.

By providing these forms of support, organizations can foster a supportive learning environment, promote continuous improvement among trainers, and ensure that they are equipped with the resources and assistance they need to deliver high-quality training programs.

Summary and next steps

This lesson discussed the purposes and benefits of facilitating a TTT and emphasized that TTT programs should aim to develop expertise, enhance training skills, increase confidence, and foster collaboration, and networking while supporting continual professional development. This lesson also covered who should be invited to a TTT and what information should be covered. Lastly, this lesson emphasized ways to provide support to trainers after TTT sessions have concluded by engaging in communities of practice, mentoring check-ins, and offering refresher sessions with resources as needed.

Now that you are familiar with how to facilitate TTT sessions, you are invited to continue to the next lesson in LXD Factory’s Implement series: Conduct a training pilot.


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