- Have you ever attended a training class that exceeded the published conclusion time?
- Have you observed the audience leave to take a quick break while the instructor continued the training?
- Do some participants fail to return from break in a timely manner – thus missing required course content needed to successfully pass the skills assessment?
With a virtual class, the trainer may be unaware that the audience may have departed the session. With an instructor led training (ILT) course, it is more obvious whether the audience is engaged and present. Managing the time spent and content delivered within the training classroom takes preplanning, focus and practice. What techniques work?
When multiple participants begin to leave the classroom during training after 60+ minutes of content, some trainers may respond with a short 5 minute stretch break. Alternately, if the trainer is near the end of a topic, or within 10 to 15 minutes of a skills activity, the instructor may continue presenting, yet acknowledge the timing and verbally alert the audience when the next break will occur. This gives the audience members awareness and the opportunity to remain in the classroom until the upcoming activity or break.
The Day is Done – Fire Hose Effect
If it is the end of the training event, especially a full-day event, participants may begin departing the session earlier than expected. There can be many reasons, including rideshare requirements, overtime issues, or just plain information overload – the fire hose effect. Other times, it’s quitting time of the normal work day and overtime is not pre-approved. Or the participant wants to beat the rush hour traffic.
Despite this, the instructor may continue to conduct class, holding the attendees longer than originally planned due to unexpected technology issues; late arrivals, lengthy discussions, interruptions skills assessments or class evaluations to be completed.
Training Event Roadmap
How do you plan ahead for early departure, latecomers and unexpected breaks during the training? Or interruptions with the scheduled content?
As part of the preparation to conduct any training session in the workplace, it is typical to review the planned event’s agenda list of topics and scheduled starting and ending times.
Ideally, there is a overall topic outline which includes the length of time allocated to each topic. If it isn’t available, creating a training event roadmap (prior to training start date) is advised. This training roadmap ideally includes:
- Topic / activity length (i.e. 15 minutes, 2.5 hours)
- Each learning activities / exercise
- Each major topic
- Break times (ideal – not set in stone, unless mandated by organization)
- Meal times (if applicable)
- Review session or FAQs
- Assessment of skills (verification of learning)
- Additional resources (who / what to use after training for more information)
- Attendee’s next steps (if applicable)
- Attendee course evaluations (if available)
- Summary / wrap-up
Observe and Adjust
Prepared with the roadmap above, the instructor can observe the audience throughout the training session and adjust as needed.
Example: if a 5 stretch break is given in the morning, can the afternoon break be reduced by 5 minutes?
Example: If the class must conclude by 5pm, can the class receive the session evaluations during the last break with instructions to ensure all are completed before exiting the session on time.
This applies whether the training is conducted as a workplace classroom or as a virtual training session.
Every training session is different and every audience makeup is different. No single solution will work in every course or workshop. However, prepared with a roadmap / plan, flexibility and constantly observing the audience, this helps ensure that trainers are on track to complete the necessary training in a timely manner and a “win” for the audience.