Lectures are still probably the most common classroom training method. That’s because they are an efficient and cost-effective way to convey information and general knowledge to large groups of employees at one time.
For example, lectures are a particularly good way to explain new policies, train employees in the requirements of laws and regulations, and update procedures. The drawback of lectures is that, unless they are properly designed and presented, they can lack the important element of employee participation.
Do your trainers know the most effective ways to use lectures in their training sessions? Do they know when to use lectures versus other types of classroom training?
Here are six suggestions for using lectures effectively in the classroom:
- Communicate expectations. Let trainees know right from the beginning of the lecture exactly what you expect them to learn by taking a few moments at the outset to preview lecture content.
- Provide handouts. For example, you can hand out a sheet that contains the key points of your lecture. Or better yet, you can use the guided note-taking technique and hand out a sheet with the key points arranged so that there is space under each point to take notes during the lecture.
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- Make your presentation visually stimulating. Use charts, graphs, diagrams, pictures, etc., to supplement and reinforce your words. Use a flip chart to write down key points as you make them. Or use transparencies and an overhead projector. Better yet, use a PowerPoint or other electronic presentation to display key points in a colorful and visually attractive way to grab and hold the attention of trainees.
- Ask questions and summarize frequently. Don’t just stand up there and read your lecture notes. Every 10 minutes or so, summarize what you’ve just covered. Ask questions to verify understanding. This also gives employees the chance to take in what you’ve said, ask questions, and clarify anything they’re not certain about before you move on.
- Include stimulating activities. Again, don’t just plan to talk for a half hour or an hour. Include activities that give employees the chance to use what they’ve learned and discuss issues, practice skills, or solve real-life job problems, for example. The same studies that show that people remember much more of what they see than what they hear show that people remember even more of what they actually do. Hands-on learning is the most effective learning.
- Combine lectures with other training methods. For example, give a short lecture and then watch a video. Or discuss a current job problem and then use the lecture format to explain a new job procedure designed to solve the problem. Or give a short lecture instructing employees how to fill out a new type of paperwork. Then give them a chance to actually fill out the new forms.
The above information comes from BLR’s presentation “Training Strategies II: State-of-the-Art Classroom Training.”
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