Active Training A Handbook of Techniques, Designs, Case Examples, and Tips

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  • Edition: 4th
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2015-05-04
  • Publisher: Wiley

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


The all-time bestselling training handbook, updated for new technologies and roles

Active Training turns instructional design on its head by shifting the emphasis away from the instructor, and on to the learner. Comprehensively updated to reflect the many developments in the field, this new fourth edition covers the latest technologies and applications, the evolving role of the trainer, and how new business realities impact training, advancing new evidence-based best practices for new trainer tasks, skills, and knowledge. Up to date theory and research inform the practical tips and techniques that fully engage learners and help them get the most out of sessions, while updated workplace examples and revised templates and worksheets help bring these techniques into the classroom quickly. You'll gain insight into improving training evaluation by using Return on Expectations (ROE), learn how to extend the value of training programs through transfer of learning, and develop fresh, engaging methods that incorporate state-of-the-art applications.

Active Training designs offer just the right amount of content; the right balance of affective, behavioral, and cognitive learning; a variety of approaches; real-life problem solving; gradual skill-building; and engaging delivery that uses the participants' expertise as a foundation for learning. This book is the classic guide to employing Active Training methods effectively and appropriately for almost any topic.

  • Learn how the trainer's role has changed
  • Engage learners through any training delivery method
  • Inspire collaboration and innovation through application
  • Overcome the challenges trainers face in the new business environment

Active Training methods make training sessions fun, engaging, relevant, and most importantly, effective. Participants become enthusiastic about the material, and view sessions as interesting challenges rather than as means to fulfill requirements. To bring these widely endorsed methods into your training repertoire, Active Training is the complete practical handbook you need.

Author Biography

MEL SILBERMAN was Professor Emeritus of Adult and Organizational Development at Temple University for 41 years. Mel rose to international prominence for his contributions to the field of training. Mel passed away in 2010.

ELAINE BIECH is President of ebb associates inc, where she specializes in helping leaders maximize their effectiveness. She is the author or editor of over 60 books.

CAROL AUERBACH has over 25 years' experience designing and delivering corporate training programs for such companies as CIGNA Insurance, Kellogg's, and IBM.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  xi

Preface xiii

The Goals of This Book xiv

How This Book Is Organized xv


The Nature of Adult Learning 2

The Social Side of Learning 6

Concerns About Active Training 7

The Delivery of Active Training 10


Steps for Designing Active Training 15

What’s in the Part Two Chapters? 17

Chapter One Assessing Training Needs 19

Why Do Assessment? 20

What Information Should Be Collected? 23

How Can Information Be Collected? 29

What If There Is No Time to Do a Proper Assessment? 38

Chapter Two Developing Active Training Objectives 41

Setting Learning Goals 42

Selecting Objectives 44

Specifying Objectives 47

Expressing Objectives 48

Communicating Training Objectives to Others 49

Chapter Three Creating Opening Exercises 53

What Opening Exercises Accomplish 53

What to Keep in Mind When Creating Opening Exercises 67

Ten Ways to Open an Active Online Virtual Training Session 68

Ten Ways to Obtain Participation 69

Chapter Four Preparing Brain-Friendly Presentations 75

Five Ways to Gain Your Audience’s Interest 75

Five Ways to Maximize Understanding and Retention 82

Five Ways to Involve Participants During a Presentation 88

Five Ways to Reinforce Presentations 94

An Example of a Well-Designed Presentation 99

Chapter Five Finding Alternative Methods to Presenting 103

Demonstration 103

Case Study 105

Guided Teaching 109

Group Inquiry 110

Information Search 113

Study Group 115

Jigsaw Learning 118

Learning Tournament 121

Applying the Alternatives to a Common Topic 123

Chapter Six Using Experiential Learning Approaches 129

Role Playing 130

Games and Simulations 139

Observation 144

Mental Imagery 148

Writing Tasks 152

Action Learning 155

Chapter Seven Designing Active Training Activities 165

The Three Major Ingredients of Any Design 165

Basic Questions About Any Design 169

The Remaining Details 170

Three Tips for Creative Designs 172

Chapter Eight Sequencing Active Training Activities 177

Basic Sequencing Guidelines 178

Applying Sequencing Guidelines 181

The Finer Side of Sequencing 188

Experiential Learning Sequences 193

Chapter Nine Planning Active Training Programs 199

The Macrodesign of an Active Training Program 199

Chapter Ten Incorporating Active Learning in All Training 207

Asynchronous E-Learning 208

Group-Based E-Learning 212

Virtual Classrooms 216

Blended Learning 218

Social Media Expands Active Training and Development 220

M-Learning Offers Instant Options 223


Chapter Eleven Beginning an Active Training Program 233

Preparing Yourself Mentally 233

Arranging the Physical Environment 236

Greeting Participants and Establishing Rapport 242

Getting the Best from the First Thirty Minutes of Training 245

Reviewing the Agenda 246

Inviting Feedback to the Agenda 248

Chapter Twelve Gaining Leadership of the Group 253

Setting Group Norms 253

Controlling Timing and Pacing 255

Increasing Receptivity to Your Leadership 257

Handling Problem Situations 258

Chapter Thirteen Giving Presentations and Leading Discussions 267

Knowing Your Group 267

Organizing Your Presentation 271

Watching Your Body Language 273

Adding Visuals 275

Making Smooth Transitions 277

Facilitating a Lively Discussion 279

Chapter Fourteen Facilitating Structured Activities and Promoting Team Learning 287

Structured Activities  87

Team Learning 298

Chapter Fifteen Concluding an Active Training Program 307

Reviewing Program Content 307

Obtaining Final Questions and Concerns 309

Promoting Self-Assessment 312

Focusing on Back-on-the-Job Application 315

Expressing Final Sentiments 316


Chapter Sixteen Providing for Back-on-the-Job Application 321

Prior to the Training Program 321

During the Training Program 323

At the End of the Training Program 324

Obstacle Assessment 328

Peer Consultation 329

Self-Monitoring 330

Follow-Up Coaching and Support 340

Chapter Seventeen Evaluating an Active Training Program 343

Expanding the Four Evaluation Levels 344

Designing Evaluations 354

Obtain Feedback Along the Way 355


Chapter Eighteen Expanded Roles for Trainers 361

Onboarding 362

Leading Change 364

Coaching Managers 367

Mentoring Programs 368

Internal Consulting 371

Building Teams 373

Chapter Nineteen New Business Realities for Trainers 379

Doing More with Less 380

Globalization 382

Working with Multigenerational Workforces 384

Working with the C-Suite 386

Vendor Management 388

Working with Subject Matter Experts 390

We’ve Reached the End—Or Is It the Beginning? 391

References 395

About the Authors 399

Index 401

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