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Select Training Methods and Prepare Materials

Training & Development / Select Training Methods and Prepare Materials

Once the training content has been outlined and the messages have been identified, training methods can be selected. A training method is a strategy or tactic that a trainer uses to deliver the message so that the trainees achieve the objectives of the program. One or more training methods can be used in the presentation of a message. It is good to use a variety of training methods throughout a training course to maintain the interest of the trainees.

Lecturing is the most frequently used method for delivering a message. There are, however, a variety of other techniques that we use for conveying information to trainees. These are described in the following table.


  • Mostly an oral presentation, but may be supplemented with visual aids or handouts
  • The technique is generally confined to presenting only the expert’s point of view
  • Often used because it is easier to organize and a great deal of information can be presented in a short period of time
  • Useful when there are a large group of trainees


  • Variation of the lecture where the trainer increases trainee participation through facilitation of discussion at set times during the session
  • Discussion is often initiated through the use of questions
  • Trainer must plan the discussion and carefully choose the questions to lead the discussion


  • Oral explanations combined with visual activities
  • Method demonstrations show processes, concepts and facts and are especially effective in teaching a skill that can be observed
  • A result demonstration shows the outcome of some practice or innovation

Group discussion

  • Trainer leads the trainees as a group through a discussion of a given topic
  • May or may not be preceded by a short explanatory lecture


  • A series of lectures presided over by a moderator
  • Allows for the presentation of several points of view or several related topics


  • A dialogue among several experts sitting in front of the room
  • A moderator coordinates the discussion
  • Differs from a symposium because panel members have an opportunity to discuss and interact with each other’s ideas and views


  • Following one or more presentations, the audience interacts and discusses the topic(s), bringing up a wider range of views

Discussion groups

  • Involves every member of the audience in a small group (4 to 8 people per group)
  • Groups may have a pre-selected or self-elected leader
  • The groups may be given a specific topic or asked to develop a list of problems, issues, priorities, questions, etc. and report back to the main group
  • Discussion groups encourage/allow everyone to participate, even if the audience is large
  • Group should be monitored to insure that one person is not dominating the activities

Case studies

  • Information is given to the trainees detailing a specific situation or problem and the trainees are assigned (as individuals or discussion groups) the task of making recommendations for the most appropriate action to solve the problem
  • Introduces a practical aspect to the training environment and creates a problem solving situation similar to that many trainees may face after returning to work

Field visits

  • A visit to an organization or workplace, such as a bank branch or , that demonstrates the practical application of the ideas under discussion
  • Care must be taken that the place to be visited is aware of the objectives of the field trip
  • Adds a practical aspect to the training
  • Trainees need to be properly prepared for the visit and should be encouraged to make specific observations that will be discussed upon return to the classroom

The factors we consider when selecting a training method include:

  • Size of audience
  • Maintaining attention through interaction
  • Variety
  • Available resources/infrastructure
  • Duration of the training session and amount of information to be covered in it
  • Experience of the trainer
  • Training aids required to support each method and the time and resources to prepare and use them