Trainer Outline – Classroom Instruction

Use or adapt this outline to offer your own workshop.

Prepare the Learning Environment

  • Prepare the learning environment in a manner that is most conducive to learning.
    • Bring supplementary library materials.
    • Copy all necessary handouts.
    • Set up computers and equipment.
  • Nothing is worse than watching a presenter who is reading their notes or looks bored or doesn’t seem to know what is going on – don’t be that person. Review all your class notes and curriculum,  practice class presentation and delivery.  Keep the goals of the class in mind.
  • Preparation can save you from a lot of panic.
  1. Show up (on time! – which should be probably 15 minutes or more before the learners)
  2. Copy and bring all necessary handouts.
  3. Check the room.  Set up computers and equipment.
  4. Check the tech.
  5. Greet people
  6. Disaster plan? (when it all goes wrong, who do you call and what will you do?
  • Discuss: What kind of things do you think I had to do to prepare the learning environment for this class?

Effective Training Techniques

  • Present ideas clearly
  • Activity: Small groups. For these three points, come up with ideas for specific training techniques for each category. Then report back to the class. Have each group after the first only add new ideas to avoid repetition.
  • Handout: Effective Training Techniques (for note taking)
  • How do we present info about technology to a classroom? We want to engage people and help them learn. It’s important to use effective training techniques. Present ideas clearly, actively listen to learner input – communication skills. Demonstrate patience and empathy for learner’s needs and abilities.
    • Be enthusiastic & cheerful.
    • Express ideas clearly.
    • Focus on conveying the most important points clearly and concisely.
    • Less is more.
    • Present single ideas.
    • Be specific.
    • Know what you want to say.
    • Use a logical sequence.
    • Avoid jargon.
    • Create interest.
    • Think first and talk second.
  • Actively listen to learner input
    • Get buy in before moving on to a new idea.
    • Respond to emotions.
    • Involve your audience.
    • Get opinions.
    • Don’t just listen, respond.
  • Demonstrate patience and empathy for the learner’s needs and abilities
    • Don’t rush through material.
    • If people are struggling, try to explain it in a different way.
    • If people are getting frustrated or are losing focus, give them a break or do a short activity to clear the air.

Active Learning

  • Active learning techniques address different learning styles. It’s important to have a variety of activities to address the different styles and facilitate the learning process. Having a mix of verbal and written instructions, as well as visual examples and hands on practice will help engage different learning types. Active learning is the opposite of passively listening to a lecture. It involves working together, learning from one another, and doing different things
    • Allow time for question and answer.
    • Incorporate the various learning styles by using handouts, a projector, hands-on learning, and small group work.
    • Having different types of activities (not always the same one) will help keep people’s brains stimulated.
    • Students learn best by doing
    • Teaching should include active training techniques.
  • Handout: Instructional Outline Worksheet
  • Handout: Active Training Techniques
  • GROUP WORK:  Take a look at your handout “Active Learning Ideas for Technology Training”. Let’s review a few of these activities and brainstorm what this looks like in a tech classroom. Let’s do some “for examples..”
  • So, based on those answers and our ideas about what active learning looks like. I want everyone to pair up and work on coming up with a few active learning activities for a Computer Basics class. Use the Sample Workshop Outline to list activities. Remember to incorporate techniques that take into account the various learning styles we discussed in the  “Culture of Learning” module. We identified several different ways that people learn-through hands-on work, by listening, by reading and writing, etc. Let’s apply those learning styles to the technology classroom.
  • Activity: Using your Goals & Objectives outline, come up with a few active learning techniques for this class. (Sample Workshop Outline) Have students work in pairs for 5-10 minutes

Classroom Management Skills

  • Handout: Classroom Management (for note-taking)
  • Set ground rules and boundaries in the classroom.
    • While it is not good to have too many rules, sometimes a few rules are necessary in order to create a learning environment. Let your class know the rules up front (no food, no cell phones, for example), and also let them know what they can do (use the restroom anytime, leave to take a phone call, etc.). Try to remember that adults might be juggling multiple commitments, and give them ways to participate even if they have to step away to take that call. Treat them like adults, not like children.
  • Explain the goals and objectives of the class
    • It is also a good idea to explain the goals and objectives of the class (before the class actually begins). This can help people determine if they are in the wrong class (resumes? I thought this class was about facebook…) and can also help focus their energy. Internet basics is a pretty broad topic, so this can help let people know what you will be covering (and what you won’t be covering!). Another helpful tactic is to let the class know what the schedule is by posting an agenda, or at least telling them. Let them know if you are taking a break, when they will get a chance to practice and answer questions, when the class will get over, etc.
  • Be prepared to deal with difficult situations
    • Even with all the best classroom management and effective training techniques, we still sometimes have difficult situations in a class. These can catch you off guard, but if you have prepared for the situation in advance it can be much easier to deal with. It is important to remember that these are not about problem people, just problem situations. Many times there is a valid reason for the way a person acts, and if you can address that reason then the problem will go away.
    • Sometimes we have situations that are difficult to deal with. It might be someone who really just wants to talk (instead of get help), or it might be someone who doesn’t really want to learn (they just want you to do it for them). [Tell a personal story here – mine is about helping someone fill out an online form when they wanted me to do the typing. I didn’t type for them, but I did help them learn how to do it themselves, extended their time limit, stayed nearby to help them with each step]. In these situations, we want to keep the focus on helping the person learn, and offering them whatever support we are able to (without doing the work for them).
  • Handout: Challenging Behaviors
  • Handout: Challenging Behaviors (Trainer Version)
  • Activity: Challenging Behaviors handout- Give a brief example of each situation, if time allows. Break into groups or pairs and talk about each situation. What is a good solution for each situation What is the reasoning behind that? If short on time, assign each group specific scenarios, and then have them report back to the group.
  • Discuss: Come back to the entire group. Option 1: Go through each example and have people share their ideas. Option 2: Discuss why these situations are difficult to deal with.
  • Homework: Finish worksheet

Practice Outside the Classroom

  • It’s important that at the conclusion of a technology class you leave the students with some sort of homework, or additional resources, or follow-up to the information they learned. Reinforce the learning by encouraging reflection and thoughtfulness among your students. For example, at the conclusion of a class, ask the students for feedback about new skills they learned or new connections they may have made. Ask students to think about how these skills may help them in their job or ask students what is the next step they want to take in their learning. Give students something to take home with them either for further practice on the skill learned or for follow-up.
  • Activity: Let’s work together to figure out what this might look like in a technology class. Our scenario is that we’ve just taught a class on creating a Facebook page for a business or organization and everyone has created an account. We want to leave the students with homework and additional resources so that their business FB page is a success. What kinds of homework or resources might we point them to? – look for answers on your computer. Write answers on white board/flip chart.

Adapting to the Class

  • Adapt classroom activities based on individual learning preferences, level of skill, and level of support needed.
    • Find out who makes up the class and their level of experience by polling the class at the beginning of class. This can be done by asking questions and having people raise their hands, or by having them do a survey. Ask questions that are relevant to the class topic, and that do not single people out. Don’t ask “How many people have never used the Internet before?” – that won’t go over well. Tell a story about how you had to learn this program (to let them know it is ok that they are learning!), and then frame the poll by asking how many people have heard of this, or used it. You can also ask people to share what they hope to learn in the class, or what brought them here today (but this is hard if it is a big class, because it can take a lot of time).
    • Adapting instruction and activities should happen through the entire class. If people look confused, slow down and take more time on a subject. If people looks bored and are checking their email (or text messaging), find a way to make the class more interesting.
  • Activity: Break into pairs and come up with three questions together. Then select the #1 question (that neither of you know the answer to) and report back to the group. Questions can be on anything related to teaching technology, or anything we have covered today.
    • Ways to gauge this – have them answer each other’s questions, have them ask questions, walk around during practice, make yourself available. Wait for them to respond – silence does not mean they understand, it might just mean they are trying to think of how to phrase a question.
  • Check in with learners to ensure they are understanding concepts.
  • Activity: Have people volunteer to come up and poll the class, or demonstrate some other technique for gauging people’s experience or interest. Pick a technology topic to ask them about, and the technique, and then do the poll. Then have the class give feedback on how it made them feel, and whether they would be comfortable being truthful.
  • Discuss: Have the groups report back with their question, and let other people in the class answer and discuss. If no one can answer, then lead them to an answer. If they still can’t answer, go back over that topic – they didn’t get it. If the question is off topic, make a parking lot and come back to it at the end. This will demo the parking lot concept too.


  • Review and reflect upon class evaluations. Incorporate feedback into personal development plan.
  • Handout: Keeping up with Technology
  • Handout: Top Tips for Tech Trainers
  • Handout: Participant Feedback Form Example
  • Evaluations measures four things and one of them is whether you got your point across.  This should be tied to the objectives you had for the class. Evaluations should also measure attitude or reaction – how did the participants feel about the training.  A person who gets excited about something or has their fear eased will be more receptive to learning the tangible skill.  You also want to know if they can use what they learned.  Can they apply the knowledge?  What result did this training achieve?
  • Allow learners time to evaluate the class and the effectiveness of the trainer
  • Activity –Handout evaluations for students and have them complete