Design Training So People Learn Quickly and with High Retention!

Carolyn B. Thompson

Learners will love you when they
have an easy time learning and can retain what they learned! Follow one simple format for all types of training. This article is geared toward facilitated training.

Learning Goes in This Order

FIRST: Attention-getting opening
2. Learners tell what they already
3. Facilitator tells overall
4. Learners write, verbalize, and
visualize SMART individual
objectives as though already
5. Facilitator tells learning
methods and times
6. Facilitator and learners work
on all learning methods needed
to meet objectives (repeat cycle
below for each learning
- Objective
- Introduction
- Facilitator instructions and/
or text
- Processing
7. Facilitator reviews everything
8. Facilitator tells and shows
resources to use for future
9. Learners complete learning
action plan
LAST: Call to action closing that
matches opening

Start with an "Attention-getting" Opening and End with a "Call to Action" Closing

People remember the first and last
thing they see or hear. Carefully
plan what the facilitator is going to
say or do first and last.
Attention-getting opening and call
to action closing must fit the overall objective. 

Design the attention-getting
opening and call to action closing
to match each other (if you start
with a quote, end with one; if you
start with a prop; end with a
prop, etc.).
Examples include
question, statistic,
story, funny
visual, prop, joke.
!After the
opening, get the
learners involved
in an interactive learning method
to get them talking.
Before the call to action closing,
be sure to handle evaluations,
review, and their learning action
plan. Nothing should be said or
done by the facilitator after the
closing, or momentum will be lost.

Designing the Learning
Between the Opening and

You'll need to plan the way you'll
achieve each objective. Follow the

steps below.
1. Write the learning objective of
each method.
2. Write an example of a real
situation that has to do with
the objective.
3. Determine the best learning
method to use by using 1 + 2 +
your knowledge of the learners.
Here are just a few of the
dozens of participative learning
methods to choose from
- Brainstorming
- Case studies
- Charts, graphs, posters
- Demonstration
- Games
- Ice breakers
- Job aids
- Metaphors
- Props
- Role-plays
- Simulation
- Visualization

learningfun.html for the complete list.

4. Write an introduction using the
ideas in the attention-getting
openings section above (each
introduction to a learning
method is a mini-opening).
5. Write instructions for the
6. Write out the key processing
question(s) and add potential
answers. This is designed to lead
the learners directly to the
7. Because people remember
80-90 percent of what they see
and do and only 10-15 percent of
what they hear, you'll need a
variety of visuals.
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8. Determine the room setup,
equipment, and supplies needed.
9. Determine the number of people
for which this will work best.
10. Determine how long the method
will take.

Now, get started designing effective training! For more detailed instructions, complete with examples and graphics, you can get my book Creating Highly

Training Quickly and Effectively.

This article is an excerpt from
Creating Highly Interactive
Training Quickly & Effectively,
pages 9-14, TSI Publications, 2000.

The full book can be ordered by
calling (800)469-3560.
Carolyn B. Thompson is the
president of Training Systems, Inc., a customized training and HR
consulting company that helps
small- and medium-sized
organizations enhance their ability
to recruit, inspire, and retain
quality employees and improve
performance through training.
Training Systems, Inc. also
provides training design and
delivery services to training
companies and the training
departments of large companies and

professional and trade associations.

Carolyn is an experienced trainer
and consultant knowledgeable in the challenging area of employee
recruitment, inspiration, and
retention. In addition, Carolyn
produced a two-tape audiocassette set titled "Straight Talk for Employers," and the worksheet, Ten Steps to Determining the Return on
Your Training Investment. She's
currently writing a book about on-the-job training and co-authoring another book titled
Inspiring Employees to Excellence Using the Bible as Your Guide.

©Training Systems, Inc. 2001