How to develop engaging classroom training

Posted by The Odigo Group on September 7, 2017 9:00:00 AM PDT
The Odigo Group

In-person, classroom training is the preferred method of content delivery for most instructors. While travel, budgets, and timelines often make it difficult to send an instructor around the world or gather a group of learners in a physical location, the quality of content delivery is unsurpassed.

Instructors identify non-verbal cues from learners and can adjust the pace, level, or quality of instruction in real time. Instructors can quickly assess the depth of learner engagement based on eye contact, posture, and eagerness to participate in learning activities.

Learner participation is a key indicator of successful curriculum delivery. In the same way that writing notes rather than typing them results in greater retention of the content, so participating in an activity results in a more successful learning experience.

Here are a few ways to incorporate learner engagement into classroom training.

Encourage learner-led discussion

Rather than simply lecturing or presenting to your audience, create opportunities for discussion. “Death by PowerPoint” is a common phrase among corporate learners who are forced to consume volumes of “slide-ware” as a scalable training delivery method. Unfortunately, few people retain the content on those slides for long without some sort of engagement or discussion on the topic. And, the most engaging discussions are always learner-led. For example, when a learner raises a question or an opinion, it is helpful to encourage a response from another learner in the room to check their understanding and open discussion with similar or different viewpoints. When the Instructor provides all the answers or responses, it quickly ends the discussion, whereas if the learners are learning together—while staying on topic—the conversation becomes rich and layered with multiple perspectives.

Deliver real-life examples

I started my career as a history teacher, and while stories are plentiful in history, it is often difficult for learners to relate to events or situations that happened in a different time. Likewise, it is difficult for learners to relate to a corporate story that is too sterile … especially if the topic involves policies, procedures, or compliance practices. These are all important topics that learners need to understand. But, if the content can be delivered in such a way that the learners can relate, it resonates more deeply and they will retain it longer. For example, share a story of why a policy came about—what was the pain point that created a need for the policy? How did the policy solve the pain? Or, share a story of a team member who fell outside of compliance. What were the ramifications? How can your learners avoid finding themselves in a similar situation? The power of storytelling in business cannot be underestimated.

Make a project, presentation, or essay part of the course requirement

Creating curriculum that requires learners to present or share insights with the rest of the class drives learners to grasp a concept or aspect of the learning material, develop a perspective, and become a subject matter expert. This is an impactful way to ensure learners understand the content presented and can articulate the key learning objectives clearly. Even if each presentation reflects only a small part of the curriculum, learners are often more engaged in listening to and learning from their peers to gain a holistic view of the learning objectives for the entire course. Project-based learning works as well in corporate training as it does in elementary education. The subject matter may differ, but the learner’s need to digest content, add their unique contributions, and present it as an expert for others to learn from is the same.

Certainly, today’s technology enables online learning delivery platforms with built-in interactivity, but many instructors still prefer classroom training scenarios for the best instructor-learner engagement. If you would like to learn more about developing training or readiness programs, The Odigo Group can help. Visit our Strategy & development page or email

Topics: Content Development