An Investor’s Guide
As a teacher or a trainer, you are investing in the learner—if only by way of the time and energy you
exert to improve your teaching techniques. Throughout this book, you’ll find improvement tips that
will make your teaching and their learning fun, fast-paced, and functional. Before we get to those,
however, here is a glossary of techniques and terms used in the book, as well as a checklist designed to
advance your improvement actions.
Participant Assignments. In addition to individual tasks, I will suggest using pairs, triads, teams, and
whole-group exercises to achieve various purposes. When the exercise calls for some type of revelation
or personal experience, pairs or other small-group formations work well. When role-plays are used (or
other exercises calling for an observer to note an interpersonal exchange), I suggest using triads. When
an exercise merits full-group attention, the best method involves speaking to the class as a whole
throughout a given exercise or for any one part of it. One option is to keep one-half of the class busy
while you teach the others “up close and personal.” Then reverse the process.
Quizzes. The element of surprise can be a powerful force in retaining new knowledge. Design quizzes
that both elucidate and educate. By juxtaposing what participants knew pre-quiz with what they learned
post-quiz, they can more quickly appreciate the width of the knowledge-gap. Other quizzes should be
designed to test the degree of retention or to determine the degree of comprehension. (I recommend
that you never ask any one participant how he or she scored on a given quiz. Additionally, never ask for
a show of hands related to scores at the lower end of the continuum.)
Handouts. These are designed to supplement the intent of the exercise and to reinforce the main
points being made. Handouts are also employed when participants need to have a common under-
standing of a situation, on the basis of which they’ll take further action.
As you prepare your handouts, keep in mind their future value. What can you do to prevent them from
being discarded as participants walk out the door? Design them so they will also be useful references or
resources in the future. Consider what is most critical and how it can most easily be presented. By now,
you know my biases regarding PowerPoint. Instead of handouts that are merely copies of your slides,
put some effort into creating handouts that reflect the instructional flow of your presentation—
handouts that contain summaries written in a conversational tone, perhaps, and exercises for future
Case Studies. Case studies, due to their real-world nature, enable participants to correlate their own
experiences with someone else’s and to project possible outcomes. When the actual outcomes are
compared to their projections, participants will then learn through discussion and analysis how best to
handle comparable situations if and when they occur in their own lives. There’s a safety net associated
with case studies—they reveal pitfalls without making participants take the actual steps into those pits.
By studying how someone else handled or should have handled a difficult situation, participants can
derive benefit that can later be applied to their own personal and professional situations.
Buzz Groups. There’s a definite “buzz” that emanates from a classroom filled with small groups
working on the same assignment and probably approaching it from different perspectives. Trainers can