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Train-the-Trainer approach – a fruitful way to scale up teaching

Updated: Oct 6, 2020

EduRes Consulting specializes in the Train-the-Trainer approach. What is it actually? Train-the-Trainer approach is often understood as teacher education. Well, for us at EduRes Consulting, it is much more. It can be used to train any professional to pass on the knowledge and know-how of both the subject of learning and the methods/skills to do it. The trained trainers can then pass on what they learned (cost-effectively) to another group of trainers, who can further train trainers - or students. Thus, Train-the-Trainer approach enables scaling up of the training programs.


Train-the-Trainer approach is also seen as in-service training - meaning learning while working. There are certain benefits when getting training as a part of the work. These are putting the lessons learned immediately into practice and bringing experiences with it back to the training, so that it can be improved or tailored, as necessary.


Tailoring is the key to the Train-the-Trainer approach. Why is that? Especially professionals learning at their work need training, which directly fits their challenges, which is relevant, meaningful, and interesting to them. Further, it needs to be in line with the workplace culture, readiness, resources, and acceptance. Without these contextual and relevance issues, it is difficult to apply and sustain in practice what has been learned. Thus, training, which is only based on individual level of the competences, interests, and resources, is seldom sustainable. If training is happening outside workplace, my recommendation is always to train a group (of minimum two) professionals, so that there is a sparring partner when they get back to work.


Based on the above, the Train-the-Trainer program could follow the ADDIE training model (https://www.talentlms.com/blog/addie-training-model-definition-stages/). This instructional design model has five steps: 1) analysis of the goals and needs of training both on individual and organizational level; 2) designing; 3) developing plans to bridge the gap between the goals and needs; 4) implementing the training; and 5) evaluation of the outcomes to be able to further adjust the training. The ADDIE logic is nothing new; it is the general knowledge management cycle approach. What is probably new, is the multilevel way of working to co-create learning in the process as well as the relevance and sustainability of learning.


We at EduRes Consulting strongly believe that the Train-the-Trainer approach brings sustainability of learning. Tailoring of the training enhances ownership of learning as well as knowledge transfer and knowledge co-creation in the ways, which are pertinent in their cultural and social contexts. In addition, Train-the-Trainer approach can function as a powerful tool for empowerment of the learning communities!


Arja R Aro

(Photo: Arja R Aro. ’Beautiful colors of the Finnish autumn’.)

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