The 3 Elements Every Training Needs to be Successful




It doesn’t matter what the topic of the training is, what outcomes are expected, or whether it is professional development, learning new software, policy roll out, or high school math.

All training requires three specific elements.

It’s about connecting the dots for the learner. It’s about how we, as the architect of the learning experience, the trainer/facilitator/teacher, ensure they understand the answer to critical questions.

  • Why?
  • How?

The third element supports the design in being effective in its delivery. It answers the question of “when?”.

First and Foremost: Why.

At the very beginning of the learning experience, we need to answer the imminent question of “why”.

Why is this information important?

More significantly, why is it important to the learner?

This can be accomplished, partly, by reviewing the intended outcomes. Most often, however, outcomes only identify the importance of the content. They aren’t enough to personalize the experience. That’s because the core of answering the “why” is about engagement.

Engagement is THE most important part of any learning experience.

You can have content that is the next greatest thing to oxygen but if no one engages, the content is moot. In my experience, the component of engagement is about three things;

  1. Relevance. The content must be presented in a way that is obviously relevant to the learner.
  2. Access. The content must be delivered in a way that the learner can access it (think of learning styles, modalities, and “stick”)
  3. Entertainment. Research validates that we engage and remember when we are having fun. Don’t confuse this with making light of important content or incorporating irrelevant humor. It’s about being engaged in meaningful ways that allow deepening of learning.

Secondly, as the Finale: How.

The next most important component is how your wrap up the learning experience. This is where the “take away” is declared, reviewed, and solidified. It is about answering the two questions of “how?”.

How does the content apply to you and what you do?

How do you apply the content to you and what you do?

If these questions can’t be answered, then the outcomes have not been met. After all, why else do we teach or train individuals if it is not for them to be able to use and apply what is presented?

As the learning experience unfolds, the two how’s should become clear to the learner. They should be able to connect the dots from the opening of “why” to the closing of “how.”

Don’t forget the middle: When

During the meat of the learning experience, continued engagement is critical. Engagement is largely driven by emotional engagement. This is not necessarily the emotional, heart-filled, kumbuya, type of emotion (though it can be, depending on your topic and desired results).

Brain research indicates that the thinking part of the brain tends to wander off, turn off, or hibernate if it is not stimulated to remain engaged. It is so important that it happens predictably every ten minutes.

Enter the 9:59 rule.

(Check out John Medina’s Brain Rules for more like this!)

Every nine minutes and 59 seconds, content must include an emotional uptick, if you will. It can be in the form of a story, an activity, movement, or active content shift.

Whatever it is, it has to cause the brain to shift gears to avoid lulling itself into disengagement.

This is the when of how we continue the why.

By the time a learning experience closes, our effective use and incorporation of these three elements sets apart success and, well, less.

Think about your own experience of trainings that didn’t have all three of these elements.

It might have been the greatest experience while you were there, but when you got back to the “real” world, you didn’t know how to apply it.

Maybe it was the most boring experience and you have no idea what the waste of time was about.

Perhaps you tried hard to stay engaged because the information was great, but you could barely keep your eyes open sometimes.

These are typical symptoms of what happens when one of these elements are missing. Unfortunately, the above examples tend to be the standard.

Hopefully posts like these can help you create and deliver extraordinary trainings that are effective. I want you to become an extraordinary trainer!

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With Respect,

Leah Kyaio, CEO
Extraordinary Trainings


Interested in finding out more of what doesn’t work, why, and how to begin to make the change? Check out the Advanced Trainer Adventure!