Here are some handy tips for you to think about when you're planning a training session.
1. What do your audience want to know?
People attend training to get better at something so you should always start by thinking about what you want your attendees to get out of your session. Write down a few key points and keep these in mind as you plan your session. You can also use learning objectives in promotion to show people what to expect.
2. Don’t go it alone
Training is so much easier when you have a friendly face helping you along. It’s especially useful when things go wrong – someone can resolve an issue while the other keeps the audience busy with an alternate activity. Team up with a fellow student leader or see if a member of staff would be up for helping you out.
3. Do some research!
Nobody expects you to be a total expert on the topic but doing a little bit of research can help you feel more confident in what you’re delivering and can even give you inspiration for some activities. Consider including a reference or two to give students something to read more on the topic.
4. Break the ice
The start of a training session can be super awkward, especially if people don’t know each other. An ice breaker activity can help get people in the mood for the session and get used to working together. Some people hate ice breakers with a passion though, so try relating the activity to the topic of the session. It’s also a sneaky way to start covering your learning objectives!
5. The power of peer learning
Try to build in ways to get attendees working together and learning from each other. Look at activities you can run in your session to encourage attendees to learn together and share their ideas. Opportunities for attendees to share relevant experiences, or to discuss example scenarios, are valuable learning opportunities. This is because everyone will have different experiences that will help others see things from different perspectives.
Find activities students have used in previous sessions
6. Consolidate learning
It’s always important to get attendees to reflect on the session. Run a plenary activity at the end of the session to get people thinking about what they’ve learnt. You could get them to recap part of the session, try to explain a concept in their own words or think about how they’ll use what they’ve learnt in the future. Even if you’re running low on time, a super quick plenary is a vital part of the session.
7. Write your plan down
There’s nothing worse than standing in front of an audience and completely forgetting what you’d planned. Don’t be afraid to check it during the session – nobody will mind. It’s also handy if you’re ill and need someone else to step in to cover you – anyone can step in and deliver a session with a good guide.
Things to include in a facilitator's guide:
- Simple instructions for each activity,
- How long each section should take to deliver,
- The answers to key questions you ask the attendees,
- Any resources you need to use for an activity.
Download a facilitator’s guide template
8. Think about contingency plans
Things go wrong and that’s okay. Sometimes attendees don’t understand an activity, the projector stops working or you run out of time. While writing your facilitator’s guide, think about what could go wrong and a couple of alternatives you could try. Hopefully knowing you have some options in your back pocket will help you feel more relaxed if things do go wrong during the session!
9. How am I going to promote this session?
Once your session is planned out, it’s time to get people there! Think about who would benefit from attending the session and how you will reach out to them. Peer Support can help with setting up a signup and reaching out to some groups, but there are lots of other avenues to explore as well.
10. Think about yourself
Once the session has happened, make sure you take time to reflect on the experience for yourself. What have you learned from delivering this training session? Can you use this in a job application or interview?
Want more opportunities to plan and deliver training sessions? You could become a Student Trainer and deliver regular, peer-led training to other students.
Find out more about becoming a Student Trainer