How Effective Is Your EHS Classroom Training?

When it comes to training your workers—you have lots of choices. There are numerous methods and materials available to help you prepare and equip employees to better do their jobs. Indeed, with so many choices out there, it can be daunting to determine which methods to use and when to use them.

Instructor-led, or classroom, training remains one of the most popular training techniques for trainers. There are many types, including:

  • Blackboard or whiteboard. This may be the most “old-fashioned” method, but it can still be effective, especially if you invite trainees to write on the board or ask for feedback on what you write on the board.
  • Video portion. Lectures can be broken up with video portions that explain sections of the training topic or that present case studies for discussion.
  • PowerPoint® presentation. Presentation software is used to create customized group training sessions that are led by an instructor. Training materials are provided on CDs and displayed on a large screen for any number of trainees. Employees can also use the programs individually, which allows for easy makeup sessions for employees who miss the group session. This method is one of the most popular lecture methods and can be combined with handouts and other interactive methods.

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  • Storytelling. Stories can be used as examples of right and wrong ways to perform skills, with the outcome of each way described. This method is most effective with debriefing questions, such as:
    • How does this story relate to training?
    • How did the main character’s choices make you feel?
    • What assumptions did you make throughout the story? Were they correct?
    • What would you have done differently?

This technique makes communication easier, since it is nonthreatening, with no one right answer. It is cost-effective, especially if trainers have their own stories to tell. Stories can also make sessions more personal if they involve people trainees know. You can also find many training stories online.


  • Instructor-led classroom training is an efficient method for presenting a large body of material to large or small groups of employees.
  • It is a personal, face-to-face type of training as opposed to computer-based training and other methods we will discuss later.
  • It ensures that everyone gets the same information at the same time.
  • It is cost-effective, especially when not outsourced to guest speakers.
  • Storytelling grabs people’s attention.


  • Sometimes it is not interactive.
  • Too much of the success of the training depends on the effectiveness of the lecturer.
  • Scheduling classroom sessions for large numbers of trainees can be difficult—especially when trainees are at multiple locations.

Training Tips

You can use lectures effectively by making sure your audience is engaged throughout the session. Here are some ways to achieve this:

  • Train your trainers in the art and science of public speaking.
  • Give your trainers the materials they need.
  • Use with interactive methods. (See tomorrow’s Advisor for 9 methods you can use.)

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The blended learning approach—i.e., using several methods for each training session—may actually be the most effective way to help employees learn and retain information.

In tomorrow’s Advisor, we’ll look at how you can incorporate interactive training techniques into your classroom training—plus, we’ll showcase an interactive, online training resource loaded with ready-to-use courses on dozens of key environmental topics.

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