1. Announce the end’s in sight
At what point do you do this? I suggest allowing roughly 10% of the total time to draw proceedings to a close. So in Zoomly’s bite-sized workshops this can be as brief as 9 minutes. In a day-long bespoke event it could be 40 minutes. Whenever this is, you need to signal that the event is drawing to a close, and set out what’s going to happen between now and then. For example there may be a short test, key learning points to be shared and feedback to be gathered.
2. Change the pace
Pace varies throughout effective training workshops, the better to manage participants’ energy and attention. The start is usually high energy, followed by cycles of input, activity, reflection and discussion. Towards the end, allow for some individual reflection and then pick up the pace to ensure everyone’s alert and engaged.
3. Deal with unanswered questions
If you’ve got plenty of time this can simply be a plenary discussion (the whole group). Or you can have a Post-It flurry of outstanding questions and facilitate the group making suggestions for each one. Offer people the choice of emailing/speaking to you afterwards if they don’t want to ask in front of colleagues.
4. Recap ‘why we’re here’
Ideally, you’ll have communicated the learning objectives before people attended the training workshop, and again at its beginning. It’s worth reminding people towards the end of the session as well.
5. Suggest further resources
As well as including your recommendations, I find the group can always suggest relevant books, TED talks, articles or podcasts. Have a handy list of links that you can circulate afterwards.
6. Test knowledge
No, it need not be an exam (although it could be a written assignment to be handed in later). You can test knowledge by having a quick quiz or crossword. With more time on your side, you can form teams to devise quiz questions for each other. Asking participants to offer the top tips they want to share with others on the topic can be a great way to test knowledge, and be satisfying for participants to see if they’re written up (ideally by them, not you).
7. Test skills
Some topics can be quickly tested throughout the training workshop; presentation skills are a prime example. However the real acid test of skills will be after the training. People will need more time and opportunity to apply the learning, so consider and discuss with participants how they can do this within the next 24 hours/week/ fortnight/month.
8. Encourage discussion with managers
Participants’ managers have a vital role to play in learning being applied back at work (or ‘learning transfer’ to use L&D jargon). Ideally they’ll provide opportunity and support. Suggesting people speak to their manager about how they will apply the learning can help this happen.
9. Get feedback
Personally I’m not in favour of feedback forms that go on and on – best to keep it simple, short and sweet. What you really need to know is how useful and relevant the training was for the participant, and how ready they are to apply it. By all means elicit suggestions for improvements. Many organisations ask for ratings; which is understandable, but often not an effective indicator of learning transfer (in a previous role I heard damning feedback about a workshop that turned out, over time, to be damned effective learning!).
10. Ask for commitment
End with everyone making a commitment to apply something they’ve learned, whether that’s in pairs or with the whole group. Many trainers ask participants to write a commitment postcard to themselves and hand it in, to be posted to them at a later date as a reminder.
You may also find this post useful: ’10 tips for getting your in-house training session off to a good start’
Dawn is the author of ‘The Feedback Book’, available at selected bookshops and on Amazon