Crucial Skills®

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Trainer Insights

Elevating Training: Five Interactive Strategies for Certified Trainers

Training sessions often face the challenge of maintaining participant engagement and interaction. While disseminating information is essential, creating an interactive environment enhances learning retention and application. Whether you’re facilitating in person or virtually, you can employ these techniques and resources to foster engagement and facilitate a dynamic learning experience. Here are some top tips and strategies to elevate your training sessions.

Use Proximity to Create a Connection

Physical proximity is a useful strategy to build relationships and encourage dialogue. Use multiple tactics to connect with your participants:

  • Meet someone new: Encourage participants—or shake up the virtual breakout room assignments—to engage with different individuals to spark new insights and perspectives.
  • Visit breakout rooms: Let virtual participants know you will visit breakout rooms to answer questions and to provide more individualized attention.
  • Move around the room: Use all of the physical space to promote attention and engagement.

Leverage Visual Engagement

Model posters and flip charts are versatile tools for visual representation and interaction. Incorporate them into your training sessions:

  • Encourage (but don’t require) webcams: Promote the use of webcams by participants when able for the benefit of all participants. They are particularly useful in smaller breakout rooms when participants are conversing.
  • Capture group brainstorming: Use flip charts or digital whiteboards to have participants capture inputs during activities, encouraging participation and collaboration.
  • Create visual summaries: Create visual summaries of key points discussed during the training, reinforcing learning and aiding retention.

Integrate Polling for Instant Feedback

Polling is an effective way to gauge participant understanding, opinions, and preferences in real time. Whether in person or virtual, polling can be seamlessly integrated into training sessions:

  • Use waterfall polling: In a virtual environment, have learners type their response and submit simultaneously on your signal. This encourages participation and reduces response bias.
  • Offer scale responses: Ask learners to share how much they agree with a statement using a scale of 1–5. They can type responses in the chat window or hold up a number of fingers in the classroom.
  • No wrong answers: Instead of quizzing learners, use polling to demonstrate a spectrum of possible responses.

Foster Discussion with Thought-Provoking Questions

Engage participants in meaningful discussions by posing thought-provoking questions related to the training topic:

  • Ask questions they can answer: Use more open-ended questions to invite a variety of perspectives and opinions rather than reinforce a single right answer.
  • Use intentional questions: Avoid passively asking if there are any questions. Pose a specific, thought-provoking question to spark a discussion among the group.
  • Facilitate a conversation: Channel your inner talk-show host and facilitate a conversation among participants instead of answering or responding to each participant yourself.

Encourage Active Participation

Active participation is key to effective learning and retention. Offer a variety of opportunities to engage and participate throughout the training session:

  • Quick pulse checks: Use thumbs up/down or virtual reaction buttons for quick interactions to gauge agreement. This is a low-stakes opportunity for participants to engage.
  • Invite (but don’t require) participation: Invite participants—particularly those individuals who have not shared—to respond to questions or scenarios.
  • Identify a spokesperson: Have groups select a participant to share results or discussion from breakout groups and then invite other members to contribute or add additional thoughts.

By incorporating these interactive strategies, you can create dynamic learning experiences that captivate your participants’ attention, foster active engagement, and facilitate meaningful learning and application. Whether utilizing flip charts, polling, questions, or other interactive techniques, the goal is to create an environment where participants are actively involved, motivated to learn, and empowered to apply new knowledge and skills in their lives.

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