Train the Trainer

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Train the Trainer: this article provides an explanation of the concept Train the Trainer. After reading this, you’ll have a better understanding of this concept. This is a model that’s used to train potential instructors or less experienced instructors about the best ways to deliver training materials to others.

What is Train the Trainer? The meaning

Train the Trainer (TTT) is a model that’s often used in the workplace. The trainer trains other employees in training sessions and at the same time teaches them to train others. The training programme is intended for (starting) trainers, teachers and educators to optimise and professionalise their current method and expand their knowledge and skills. Many programs are focussed on the teaching of leadership skills or facilitation skills.

The following questions are the central focus:

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  • How do you train the group?
  • How do you come across as a trainer?
  • How do people respond to you?
  • Self-directing: what does this mean? What are the limits to self-directing?
  • What competencies should you have as a trainer? What training method suits you?

The training workshop or program particularly focuses on your personal training style.

Together with an experienced trainer, you look at creating a good training programme, from preparation to evaluation. Here, you investigate who your target group is and when your participants are satisfied.

It’s important that you also experience the effect of the various ways to convey your knowledge. You can experience this by applying various methods. In short: you learn how to prepare a training programme as effectively as possible. Finally, the results are evaluated at the end of the training and you reflect on new insights and capacities.

Many organizations have assigned a corporate trainer, or subject matter experts, who develop a training program according to the train the trainer model.

Why Train the Trainer?

Every trainer needs two different sets of skills and knowledge. First, they must know what subject they’re teaching (content-related expertise). Secondly, they must know how to convey this information to the student (instruction expertise). However, in practice, that’s not always the case.

A practical TTT process example
When a teacher is hired to train adult students, he needs both skills.
The problem is that the teacher masters the subject matter and has the required experience and diploma but hasn’t been trained how best to convey the theory.

The school assumes that teachers, after having been exposed to so many learning experiences, have learned how people learn by looking at other instructors who teach. But usually, these skills are taught in the traditional lecture style, which isn’t interactive and effective for various learning styles.

Several examples of creating training-the-trainer programmes include:

  • It makes trainers authoritative. If you want students to pay attention, be engaged and retain the information that’s presented to them, it’s important they feel it’s coming from an authority.
  • Trainers will be better prepared to have interactive discussion with the group. This allows the trainer to train leaders to deal with their audience by having everyone process and think at a deeper level.
  • The trainers will have a better understanding of how to appeal to a diverse learning audience and are truly able to ‘retain’ content. This could be important, not only for actually teaching training programmes, but also when the participants are part of developing the content.

Train the Trainer: getting started (including examples)

There are various training companies that offer such a programme. You can opt for a one-day course, but there are also courses that last a week. It goes without saying that these courses varying from one to five days concern vastly different content.

During a good training the trainer, a trainer doesn’t just tell the participants what they should learn; they also show them how to teach. Internal trainers learn how to actively listen with empathy, how to convey ideas and how to create courses that employees can easily understand.

The five important points for effectively completing a Training the Trainer course

1. Start with the goal of a trainer

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What does the role of a trainer mean to you?
  • Do you want to develop skills?
  • Do you want to change your attitude?
  • Is it your job to convey knowledge?

By answering these questions, you can determine what type of trainer you need.

2. Consider educational psychology

An effective course treats the relevant educational psychology and how the trainer can use this psychology, both in designing and delivering the learning options.

A good understanding of educational psychology will enable the trainer to guide the students more effectively while training them, as they’re able to respond to situations when these begin to arise.

3. Develop objectives and an assessment process

Trainers and students must be able to design goals based on behaviour and realistic assessments to measure the outcome of the course. In that case, both work on a series of objectives based on behaviour. At the end of the course, they’ll know whether they have or haven’t achieved these.

4. Make sure the content of lessons supports the objectives

The content of lessons should be related to the objectives.

5. Make it interactive

Make sure the lessons are interactive. Engage your students in dialogue and work with the various senses.

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Now it’s your turn

What do you think? Do you recognise the explanation about Training the Trainer or do you have anything to add? When do you think this model is effective? What do you believe are success factors that contribute to the practical application of this theory? Do you want to do a train the trainer program or train the trainer training course?

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

More information

  1. American Society For Training & Development. (2008). Infoline Train the Trainer Vol 1: Foundations & Delivery. Association for Talent Development.
  2. Black, R. (2017). Train the Trainer Guide: The Essential Guide for Those Who Wish to Present Workshops and Classes for Adults. Createspace Independent Publishing Platform.
  3. O’Carroll, E. (2012). Train the Trainer: Unlock your potential as a professional trainer. Gill Books.

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Original publication date: 03/14/2018 | Last update: 07/26/2023

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Jessie Sari
Article by:

Jessie Sari

Jessie Sari is a content writer at ToolsHero. Jessie studies Trade Management in Asia at the Hogeschool van Rotterdam. As part of her education, she focuses on building fundamental skills, including marketing, importing and exporting products and services in Asia, economy, finance, management, consultancy and project management.


2 responses to “Train the Trainer”

  1. Kolawole Kehinde says:

    I enjoyed your illustration and your hands-on approaches proposed in the article.

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