Updated: Oct 28
Training large groups of adults
In case you have a sudden urge to do this, and want to get it right 😊 you can run with the learnings we have from many large-group trainings.
Let’s get this out there early: we know we are interesting, and our ideas are wonderful, and our mothers love us 😊 but it is not about us. It is all about our audience of learners – how engaged are they; what will they learn?
Secrets to large-group trainings
1. Of course, you will start with a brief statement of what you are going to cover for the training. Then you can smile, hide the slide, chat about something fun. Then you give your audience partners to work with, and ask them to tell one another what they are going to cover.
So, you have introduced an element of the unpredictable and entertainment, and the message that you are going to require them to remember what they have learned.
2. Let's take the partnering one step further. People like people. And you want to use this innate impulse within your group to process what they are learning. One of the best ways to do that is to have some focused tasking on the information with a colleague. If you want to avoid the social awkwardness and repetitiveness of ‘working with your partner’ (and who is that anyway - the person on the left, the right, in front or behind?) you set up simple interaction patterns like you will see in this graphic. The simplest approach to this is to display the graphic and check ‘Point to your No.1 partner…’ Yes, they will work it out.
3. You also want to introduce early an element of game that blends into the seriousness of learning. The classic one is rock paper scissors, with the winner (or the loser) having a particular role in the task. Of course the element of unpredictability in that means it is fun to repeat.
4. But what about the learning? Simple. Stop at the end of a section and set the task ‘No. 2 partner, rock paper scissors’ and e.g. the winner summarizes this text here’
5. Or, e.g ‘No. 3 partners, rock paper scissors’ and the loser asks the winner challenging questions about (this text, this slide, this concept)’.
6. Or, ‘No. 1 partner, memorise this here (don’t make it too herculean). When you are ready, close your eyes and tell your partner what you remember. No cheating, or you will have to clean up after😊’
7. Or, stop, wait a second and say ‘Tell your …partner what I have just said’
8. Or, ‘No. 4 partners, choose a leader who can see the notes, the rest of the group discuss what they have learned, and check with the leader if they are not sure.
9. Or, if you have multi-lingual group. ‘No. 4 partners, two will speak… and the other two will translate. Check that your partners all agree.’
10. Or, if you can, use the room to set up a conveyor belt (I have done this with up to 200) and have them discuss how they can apply what they have learned. The key to the success of this is to display a graphic or the belt, and explain what you are going to do.
Enough already? There are many more things you can do, but the secrets to large-group trainings we have outlined is a good start to ensure you have engaged, active, retentive, and personal processing of large group input.
Stay good 😊