The training of trainers model seeks to engage master instructors in coaching new, less experienced instructors with a particular topic or skill. The training of trainers (ToT) model is a framework used by master instructors to train new instructors, enabling them to subsequently train other people in their organization.
Understanding the training of trainers model
As part of a teaching workshop, the ToT model can be used to build a pool of competent instructors who are then able to pass on their knowledge to other people. Instead of having one trainer teaching a large group of people, training can be disseminated much more efficiently by a group of trainers working simultaneously. This encourages personal and professional growth in addition to organizational development.
The ToT model is used predominantly in the healthcare industry, though it has been adapted to other fields. In the United States, the model was used to teach civic engagement to students, staff, and faculty and also educate them in after-school nutrition. ToT has also been used to teach ethics courses in the Dutch military and in Malaysia to teach outcome-based teaching and learning.
The five basic elements of the training of trainers model
The five elements include:
- Training goal – ToT training tends to focus on the sharing of ideas and experiences over the transfer of information or expertise. The model acknowledges that while everyone can be taught effective teaching techniques, not everyone can successfully apply these techniques to become a great teacher. Reflective and best practices exercises can be used to develop the training potential of new instructors.
- Resources – or the structures and processes that enable training to cascade through an organization. These are organized by the trainer and include developing a course outline, understanding trainee needs, preparing subject matter, assessing the impact of training, and performing necessary follow-up work. Perhaps most importantly, trainers need to give trainees time to develop and build their skills around existing job commitments.
- Target group – since the ultimate goal of the ToT model is to produce future trainers, the course content should be practical, interactive, problem-solving, and trainee-oriented. To maximize course effectiveness, it is helpful for the trainer to design the course content based on background information about each trainee. In other words, what are their particular characteristics, strengths, or weaknesses?
- Training course – the course itself needs to utilize diverse teaching materials and expert input from subject matter specialists and fellow professional colleagues. Simple tasks should be addressed at the beginning of the course. So too should broad concepts and other terms applicable throughout. Lastly, difficult concepts should only be introduced incrementally to ensure trainees do not become overwhelmed.
- Training approach – the correct training approach encourages a positive and productive learning experience for the trainees. Here, there are two generally accepted approaches: instructional and group participation. Instructional courses are similar in style to university lectures, while group participation incorporates collective discussion, fieldwork, study tours, and workshops. For trainers, utilizing both during course design is ideal.
Characteristics of a good trainer
As noted earlier, not everyone will be well suited to training other people. With that said, here are a few characteristics of a good trainer:
- Gravitas – the trainer must be well respected by their peers and colleagues within the organization. Respect commands trust and increases trainee engagement.
- Communication skills – an obvious characteristic, but one worth mentioning. Trainers must possess robust public speaking skills and present course material confidently and concisely.
- Empathy and flexibility – the best trainers recognize the individual needs of their students and adapt instructional methods accordingly. Importantly, the trainer must also be able to make time in their schedule to give students the attention they deserve.
- Open to feedback – trainers must also be open to receiving feedback and reflective about their methods. This is particularly true if they are an expert in the subject matter and have strong views about what they are teaching.
- The training of trainers (ToT) model is a framework used by master instructors to train new instructors, enabling them to subsequently train other people in their organization.
- The training of trainers model has five basic elements, with each shaping training course content and strategy: training goal, resources, target group, training course, and training approach.
- The training of trainers model acknowledges that not everyone will be suited to training others. Generally speaking, trainers must possess good communication skills and adequate subject knowledge. They must also be well respected by their peers and open to feedback.
Connected Learning Frameworks
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