effective training · Train the Trainer

Be SMART-Reduce the Lecture and Start Teaching Actively!

Katy Caselli is Building Giants with learning and development, training and performance solutions
Katy Caselli is Building Giants

To help your students to practice and apply new skills, reduce the lecture and insert activities to support the objectives of the class.

Do you remember this acronym?



A=Attainable (also actionable, aligned)

R=Relevant (also realistic)


Try setting SMART objectives for your students, so they have specific, measurable, realistic actions to perform within the learning session.  Notice that the SMART objectives start with a verb, and are intended to perform three key actions:

  1. Objectives give students clear expectations so they will know what success will look like for them.
  2. Objectives align with the behaviors needed in the job to alleviate the business problem
  3. Objectives are a list of skills for instructors to use for evaluating students. This helps an instructor to decide if new skills and knowledge were learned, and to differentiate the performance of individuals.

Try and avoid setting an objective for students to “understand… or gain knowledge of… ,” because it is difficult to evaluate the knowledge and understanding the students have picked up, without giving them a paper and pencil test at the end of class. The picture of a tough instructor, arms folded, staring down any student who looks up in protest is rather passé, and really not fair after a low energy, wordy slide presentation.

Substituting active, engaging activity in your classes in place of wordy slides does not have to take much more time.

You can use videos and pictures in place of words on slides

You can have students analyze a case study

Teams can perform a root cause analysis

Do group research and present findings

Investigate and troubleshoot a mock situation as a class

For each activity that you facilitate, evaluate students for contributions, confidence in using the new skills, and signs that they need more practice and explanation.

Adapted from Building Giants: The Secrets to Transforming Your Workforce Through Effective Training-Coming Soon!

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