The ET acronym stands for “Effective Trainer”. We use this activity in our train-the-trainer sessions.
Participants work individually, with a partner, and in teams to prepare a list of suitable techniques for providing effective training. Eventually, each participant selects a technique that he or she wants to use immediately.
To identify and apply factors that enable people to provide effective training.
Best: 15 to 30
20 to 45 minutes
- Countdown timer
- Sheets of flipchart paper
- Felt-tipped markers
- Masking tape
Ask the participants to select three effective trainers. Tell the participants that they are going to undertake a thought experiment. Ask each participant to think of three trainers or teachers who are effective and engaging. These role models could be teachers from schools, professors from colleges, or trainers from their organizations.
Ask the participants to identify effective training techniques. Invite the participants to think what makes these three teachers or trainers effective and engaging. Ask them to make a list of the effective training techniques on a piece of paper. Point out that some of these techniques could be common to all three or they could be specific to one or two of the selected teachers or trainers. Announce a 3-minute time limit for this activity.
Ask the participants to select three ineffective trainers. This time, tell the participants to select three teachers or trainers who are boring and ineffective. As before, these role models could be from schools, colleges, or organizations. Reassure the participants that they do not have to reveal the identity of these teachers or trainers to anyone else.
Ask the participants to identify the ineffective techniques. Invite the participants to think about what makes these teachers or trainers so ineffective and uninteresting. Ask them to make a list of these undesirable techniques on a piece of paper. Announce a 3-minute time limit for completing this task.
Distribute playing cards. Give a random playing card to each participant. Make sure to distribute equal numbers of black and red cards. (If you have an odd number of participants, you may give one more card of either red or black color.)
Pair up with a partner. Ask the participants to pair up with someone who has a card of the different color. If one participant is left over, ask him or her to pair up with you.
Discuss effective and ineffective techniques with the partner. Ask the participants to share the desirable techniques they had identified in the first thought experiment. Also ask them to discuss the undesirable techniques from their analysis of ineffective trainers. Announce a 3-minute time limit for this activity.
Form a team. Blow a whistle at the end of 3 minutes. Ask the participants to say “Goodbye” to their partners and to form a team of three to five people who have playing cards of the same color (red or black).
List Do's and Don'ts. Distribute a sheet of flip-chart paper and a felt-tipped marker to each team. Instruct the team members to share their ideas and to prepare a list of do's and don'ts for providing effective and engaging training. Announce a 5-minute time limit for this activity.
Review lists from other teams. Blow the whistle at the end of 5-minutes. Ask the teams to attach their posters on the wall with pieces of masking tape. Invite the participants to review the posters from the other teams to discover common items and unique ones. Announce a 3-minute time limit.
Discuss the items from the posters. At the end of 3 minutes, blow the whistle and assemble the participants for a debriefing discussion. Conduct this discussion by asking questions similar to these:
- Which effective training techniques appeared in the most posters?
- Which effective technique is unique to a single poster?
- Which technique is most frequently neglected in your training activities?
- Which techniques will produce immediate improvement in your training activities?
Prepare an action plan. Invite each participant to individually select one of the techniques for immediate implementation. Ask the participants to prepare a plan for applying this technique to provide effective and engaging training. If time permits, ask the participants to pair up with a new partner and share their action plans ideas.