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Training and Assessing Workbook - Train the Trainer manual


Section 4: Delivering training

Less talk, more action is a good slogan to remember when delivering training. People remember what they do more than what they read and hear. It's an easy lesson for workplace trainers but sometimes difficult to apply.

The basis for any decision about training delivery should be:

How can the training be delivered to ensure the supported employee's task performance will be improved?

4.1 What are some useful methods for training delivery?

Using a variety of delivery methods leads to more effective workplace training. Variety helps maintain a supported employee's attention and provides you with alternatives to address differing task training requirements. For example, you may find that one method works well when training for a particular skill and with one supported employee, whereas another method may suit another person or skill. Combining methods is also a useful technique.

The following is a list of some training methods that suit supported employees.


Discussions are great ways to involve supported employees in the training session. They are useful in gauging existing knowledge and skill development. If you are training a group, care should be taken to ensure all supported employees have the chance to participate. Care also needs to be taken to keep the discussion on track so that it builds as part of the training session and does not distract.



One of the most effective methods of training for supported employees is demonstration. As a supervisor providing training, you are well-placed to demonstrate the skills your supported employees need to achieve the business' objectives.

If a demonstration is delivered step by step in a logical order, it is more likely to be successful. If it provides opportunities for supported employees to practise, it will contribute to delivering successful training. Carefully check to ensure the skills have been successfully understood and provide positive feedback.

Here are some key points for you to consider.


If you are planning an excursion think carefully about what you want the supported employees to learn. Contact any other organisations or places you will be visiting to make sure they are prepared and capable of providing useful input to the training objectives you have established. You also need to prepare the supported employees before the excursion. Make sure they know why they are going on an excursion and what they might see and learn. Most importantly, make time on your return to practise those skills, knowledge and behaviours you want to see transferred to your workplace.

Ideally there should be an early debriefing following an excursion where the key learning points are revisited either individually or with the work team. Ensure there is opportunity for supported employees to talk about and practise what they saw and did during the excursion. The links between the experiences from the excursion and their workplace need to be discussed and explained.

CASE STUDY : Paul's Potato Pies

Paul's Potato Pies, a Disability Employment Service, produces a range of pies for a small market in a regional area. It has been successful for a number of years but has been experiencing a downturn in orders over the past six months. Customers are saying that the pies are still good but cheaper pies are now available from the local supermarket.

Market research conducted by management indicates that competition from the supermarket is unlikely to disappear. A new business venture is needed. The decision is made to close Paul's Potato Pies and start Paul's Parisienne Pastries.

While there are going to be a number of similarities in the procedures of the two businesses, some new skills will need to be learned. Andy, a team leader, is aware of a bakery in a town 100 kilometres away that would be willing to show the team of supported employees how it makes its pastries.

List some of the issues Andy would need to consider before accepting the offer from the bakery and arranging an excursion.



Games are an excellent way to involve supported employees in training. They can be used to introduce and to reinforce new skills and knowledge. Some simple games could be:

As with excursions, there should be an early debriefing in the workplace following a training session where a game has been used as a training method. The key learning points from the game should be revisited either individually or with the work team. Ensure there is opportunity for supported employees to talk about and practise what they saw and did during the game and link the experiences from the game to their work.



Use lectures/talks with care. Most of us have experienced a lecture – sitting and listening while a speaker tells us all something about a specific topic.

Lectures are a cost-effective way to deliver lots of information to large groups. They are not an effective way of transferring learning because the learner has little, if any, opportunity to practise the skills or knowledge. Lectures will work if the lecturer is able to gain and maintain attention by talking about things that are relevant and useful.

If you do need to provide information to supported employees through a lecture, carefully consider ways you can make it interesting, useful and involve the supported employees.


ACTIVITY : Will it work ?

Think about one aspect of a training session where you might need to do some lecturing or quite a bit of talking. List some of the ways you could ensure the information is useful and interesting to the supported employees you work with.

Role plays

Role plays can be a great training tool. They can provide a way to practise skills and behaviours in a safe situation and can allow supported employees to 'practise' ways to operate in the workplace. Discuss the use of role play in a training activity with an experienced workplace trainer.

While role plays are an ideal way to actively involve supported employees in learning and provide an opportunity to practise or behave in a 'make believe situation', they do have some disadvantages. The disadvantages can include:

Role plays will only be suitable for some supported employees and should be used with care. If you are new to training or not sure of a positive response to a particular scenario, do not use role play.

It is important to debrief a role play so that supported employees come out of their roles completely and can discuss the workplace implications of the roles they have been playing. To debrief a role play successfully a number of steps should be followed.


Each training method has strengths and weaknesses. The selection of a training method should be determined through consideration of the learning preferences and styles of the supported employees along with the training requirement. The following table summarises some of the strengths and weaknesses of each of the methods discussed in this section.

Method Strengths Weaknesses
Discussions Potential to involve all supported employees.

Useful to gauge existing knowledge and skills.
Some people may not participate.

Can get 'off track' if not facilitated well.
Demonstrations Provides opportunity to show best practice and preferred procedures.

Provides opportunities for supported employees to practise.

Allows for checking that skills have been transferred.
Needs to be carefully planned and paced in order to be effective.
Excursions Provides supported employees with an individual view of workplace processes and procedures. Transfer of learning to the workplace may be limited.
Games Can introduce new skills and equipment in non-threatening ways. Can introduce and reinforce new skills and knowledge. Transfer of learning to the workplace may be limited.

Competition may distract from the learning.
Lectures/talks Cost effective way to deliver a lot of information to a number of supported employees. Provides limited opportunity for the supported employees to practise the skills.

May be difficult to gain and maintain attention.

Transfer of learning to the workplace may be limited.
Role plays Provides an opportunity to practise skills and knowledge in a safe situation. Supported employees may have difficulty distinguishing between the 'make-believe situation' and reality.

Transfer of learning to the workplace may be limited.

4.2 How can a demonstration be delivered effectively?

The cycle for demonstrating skills is made up of six parts.

1. Decide the skill that needs to be developed by the supported employees

To do this you will need to know whether the supported employees have the knowledge and behaviours required to learn the skill. You may need to discuss this with other people in your business, such as occupational therapists or training and development specialists.

2. Analyse the steps that are part of the skill

Carefully consider the different parts of the skill. Good skill demonstration needs a step-by-step analysis.

3. Gather all the equipment you need to demonstrate the skill (and make sure it is working)

You may want to have some pictures or diagrams that show each part. If you can have photos of people from your business performing the skill, it may help the training process. The demonstration can have a number of parts.

4. Demonstrate the skill to the supported employees

Talk about how the skill will be used in the workplace and why it is important to practise correctly. Firstly demonstrate the skill at the same rate it would normally be performed at the worksite, then slowly demonstrate the skill explaining how each part links to the other. Ask for questions and comments, for example 'Did I do that right?', 'Is there anything else I should have done?'

5. Supervise the supported employees practising the skill

This part of the training session is where you will spend the most time. It is probably best to get each supported employee to, practise the skill one at a time. Wrongly learned techniques are difficult to correct. It may help the skill development process to:

6. Check the supported employees' skill development

You will need to assess whether the supported employees are able to perform the skill to the standard required for the workplace. There are a number of ways this can be done, for example, by asking questions, sequencing photos or demonstration. Assessing competency is covered in more detail in 'Section 5 Assessment, reporting and evaluation'.

The six part cycle is illustrated in the diagram below.

Step 1 - decide the skill that needs to be developed by the supported employees

Step 2 - analyse the steps that are part of the skill

Step 3 - gather all of the equipment you need to demonstrate the skill

Step 4 - demonstrate the skill to the supported employees

Step 5 - supervise as the supported employees practise the skill

Step 6 - Check the supported employees' skill development

This diagram shows the six part cycle diagram. Step 1 - decide the skill that needs to be developed by the supported employees. Step 2 - analyse the steps that are part of the skill. Step 3 - gather all of the equipment you need to demonstrate the skill. Step 4 - demonstrate the skill to the supported employees. Step 5 - supervise as the supported employees practise the skill. Step 6 - Check the supported employees' skill development

ACTIVITY: Time for a cuppa

Your business has decided to expand into a takeaway food outlet. As part of the training, supported employees are learning the skill of making a good cup of tea. You have the task of training a group of four supported employees in this skill.

Identify the steps that are part of making a good cup of tea. Write them in a sequence.

What equipment will you need to demonstrate this skill?

Practise making a cup of tea using the steps and equipment you have listed above.

Demonstrate the skill to someone who can provide you with constructive comment about your demonstration techniques. What did you do well? Are there any areas that need more work? Refine your training plan.

What hints would you give someone who was training supported employees to make cups of tea?

This diagram contains illustrations of seven items - a kettle, a dripping tap, a tea bag, a cup/saucer, a spoon, some sugar cubes and a carton of milk

This diagram highlights the method used to make a cup of tea in a series of steps: Step 1 - fill the kettle with water from the tap. Step 2 - boil the kettle. Step 3 - place the tea bag in the cup. Step 4 - pour the boiling water over the tea bag in the cup. Step 5 - remove the tea bag and add sugar and milk according to taste.


4.3 Is feedback important in training delivery?

Giving timely and constructive feedback is an essential skill for people providing training. Constructive feedback involves providing feedback that focuses on the positive parts of the behaviour and provides support and guidance for the development of new skills. For example, your feedback following a particular task may be that the task was well done and perhaps next time they might like to try this. Constructive feedback during training will guide behaviour and help skill and knowledge development because the supported employees will know when they are demonstrating what is required. Constructive feedback should be based on observation, focussed on the training issue, and information-specific.

Feedback should be:

Monitor the effect of your feedback. If you offer too much or too little it can have a negative effect. Feedback should assist the supported employee move toward the acquired skill or behaviour however their progress may not always be consistent.

Timing of feedback can be critical to the learning process. Use constructive feedback to provide the supported employees with information when they are close to having gained the new skill or knowledge. Use constructive feedback to let the supported employee know when they are doing well.

Give feedback when supported employees are close to achieving the skill, knowledge or behaviour required. For example, if a supported employee shows that they are grasping the skill although not getting it quite right, provide feedback to indicate they are doing well and offer suggestions for improvement, or demonstrate the skill.

Remember that feedback should be a two-way process. Supported employees should be provided with opportunity to provide feedback about the training.

CASE STUDY : Weighing in

Katie is learning to measure choc-chips for the Chocoholic Cookie Company. Each mixture requires 1.25 kilograms of choc-chips. If too many are included the mixture is difficult to handle. Too few means the cookies are rejected as they don't meet quality requirements. Katie needs to learn to measure the choc-chips to a line drawn on a container.

Winston is Katie's supervisor. Winston and Katie have discussed the need to have the measurements correct. Winston has demonstrated the procedure and Katie is going to try next. Her first attempt results in far too many choc-chips being measured with many falling on the floor.

Winston suggests she tries again a bit more slowly so that she can stop pouring before the container overflows. With her second attempt, she stops right at the top. Winston congratulates her on this effort and asks her to measure another amount, this time only to the marked line. With each attempt, she gets closer to the line and Winston gives her feedback on the behaviour that is taking her closer to completing the job correctly.

Are there similar situations in your workplace?

How do you approach the training?

4.4 What are training tools?

Training tools can be any physical object that helps a supported employee learn new skills, knowledge and behaviours. The tools available to assist training are as varied as your imagination. Use what you know will work. Try to involve as many senses as possible in training sessions. By incorporating tools and equipment into a session you are extending the supported employees' opportunity to learn. However, this will only happen if you can use the tools and equipment well.

4.5 Do training tools work?

Choosing the right training tools can help supported employees learn and apply new skills and knowledge. Training tools can be complicated and expensive or simple and inexpensive. Selection should be based on relevance (and budget). A rule to work by is if the tool helps supported employees understand how to do a task better, it should be used. If it is likely to confuse or complicate training, do not include it in your training.

Think about using:

Use the things that are readily available, that are more likely to be relevant to the supported employee and can consequently assist transfer of skills and knowledge to the worksite.

Visual cues such as photographs or product samples can be used to help learning. For example, if you work in a biscuit production company you might show supported employees a number of photographs of biscuits that are the right size, shape and colour as well as some that do not meet the quality specifications. Alternatively, you could have real samples available.

Less technical tools such as whiteboards/blackboards and poster/butcher's paper are useful in most training situations. Remember you don't need to have large boards or sheets of paper. Size can range from hand-held through to wall-sized. It could help your training for each supported employee to have access to individual sheets or boards.


4.6 Are DVDs and videos good training tools?

DVDs, video players, data projectors, overhead projectors and electronic whiteboards can all be good for classroom-based training purposes. To be really useful they have to be part of a training session, and integrated into the session. They are rarely successful if used as the only method of delivery.

There are obviously some drawbacks to using these at the worksite and they are generally better used in off-site training. Before using any of them in a training session:


4.7 How does challenging behaviour affect delivering training?

Training can only be effective if the supported employee wants to learn. Schedule the training for another time if the supported employee you are training is not receptive or ready to learn.

If you have a number of supported employees with challenging behaviours, you will need to carefully plan any group training sessions.

4.8 Is it better to train an individual or a group?

There is not a set answer to whether it is better to conduct training on an individual basis or in groups. It is best to consider each training opportunity on its merits and then decide whether to opt for one-on-one training, or training in pairs, small groups or larger groups.

One reason you may decide to train on a one-on-one basis is if the supported employee is likely to be distracted when learning as part of a group. You may be aware that the supported employee will enjoy learning more if they have your undivided attention and is therefore more likely to be able to transfer the skill to their work. Another reason for training individually is to allow you, as a supervisor, to gain a better understanding of a supported employee's capacity.

Small group training is particularly useful for training supported employees for team roles. It provides an opportunity for supported employees to see how the work they complete has an impact on the finished product. It can also be very useful for training how to reach product quality standards.

An advantage of small group training is that it assists supported employees to gain an understanding of their role and the roles of others in their team. It can provide a sense of working together and putting supported employees' best skills together for best work practices.

It is important to consider group dynamics when considering group training. For example, a supported employee with psychiatric disability may be sensitive to working in a group and may prefer to work individually.

An alternative to individual and group training is a graduated approach. A graduated approach allows you to introduce additional supported employees to the training as each person gains the skill or knowledge you are targeting. In this situation you might start by training one supported employee, perhaps the person least enthusiastic about group training or most likely to be distracted. Gradually add more to the group as more supported employees become confident with the training.

CASE STUDY : Gordon and the team

Gordon has been a supervisor at Drafest Dog Products for 10 years. He has had experience working with a large number of supported employees and until now thought he had seen it all. However, he now has a team of supported employees that are more challenging than any he has had before.

The production line is moving to producing larger packets of dog food and Gordon knows he will need to train the team in new lifting techniques as well as changing the packing process. He has about a week before the new product is introduced.

Gordon recognises that some of the team will need individual training as well as group training. What should Gordon do to prepare for the training he will have to provide for the team? How should he include all the team members?


CASE STUDY : Grand final season

Maria is a footy fan. She has been an enthusiastic Sydney Swans supporter for 15 years, wears red and white on every possible occasion and regularly sings the supporters' anthem to anyone who will listen. Usually Maria's enthusiasm for football and the Swans doesn't impact on her work but this year the Swans have made it to the grand final.

Maria is so excited she is having difficulty concentrating on her work for more than a few minutes at a time. This is having an effect on production and the team is having difficulty meeting its daily targets. With nearly two weeks until the game and with new orders arriving, Norm, Maria's supervisor, decides to move her to another part of the production line where her 'footy fever' will have less impact on the team's production output. Moving Maria will have little effect on the rest of the team. Norm decides to swap her with Liam, a member of the team who wants to try her job anyway. It all looks as though it will work out well, particularly if Norm can do some training in the next day.

What are some of the issues Norm needs to consider when he is planning the training for Maria and Liam?

Would you recommend that Norm trains Maria and Liam individually, as a pair, or should he train the whole team as a group?

CASE STUDY : The Cookie Company depends on me

Claire, Tim, Annabel and Andrew are the packing team for the Cookie Company where each of them works at the end of a production line. Their job is to put 12 packs of wrapped Scottie Shortbread Biscuits into cardboard cartons, then label and seal the carton before it is put on the pallet for distribution. Generally, they all complete the packing well but the labelling has been a bit haphazard lately. Some cartons are being sent with labels upside down or on the top of the box instead of on the side.

What issues need to be considered before deciding whether there should be individual, group or graduated training?


4.9 Does having more than one trainer mean better training?

Having more than one trainer at a training session can add interest and value to the training session, providing there has been sufficient preparation. Make sure you know the role of each trainer and that everyone is clear about the objectives of the training session.


4.10 Does cultural background affect training design and delivery?

Cultural background can affect training. An awareness of potential issues is a good place to start when you are training a supported employee. For example, the training you provide may have to cater for language differences or the differing ways people interact because of their cultural backgrounds. The Disability Services Standards require businesses to 'provide support to individual consumers in a manner sensitive to their age, gender, and the cultural, linguistic and religious background' (Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 2004, Continuous improvement handbook, version 2, p. D.1).

Activity : Cultural backgrounds and training

Get a copy of the Continuous improvement handbook, version 2, (January 2004) or go to, and read pages D.1 to D.3.

Think about the different cultural backgrounds of the people you work with. What things do you need to consider when providing training to supported employees in your workplace?

What are some of the implications cultural differences may have for training in your workplace?

Who would you talk to if you needed more information about a particular culture?


Effective workplace trainers have a menu of training delivery methods that can be used to provide the right training at the right place and pace. Good training delivery involves the supported employees and provides them with plenty of opportunities for practice.

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