Are you looking for a resource to help you improve your training knowledge? One that would introduce you to concepts and techniques that will give you an advantage in the classroom? Or materials that will help hone your skills as an educator? You’ve come to the right place; we’ve gathered 5 of our favourite training resources and included a thorough review of each to ensure that you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Resource 1: Next Level Virtual Training

We all know that virtual training isn’t going away, so why not embrace the change and up-skill to give yourself the best chance of mastering the virtual training environment? Diana L. Howes’ book, “Next Level Virtual Training”, introduces several key principles that address virtual learners in the modern era and how we as trainers can meet their needs.

Resource Review

As virtual training continues to prove its value as an effective learning option, platform providers are constantly improving functionality. Trainers and facilitators need to keep up with these important innovations, adding virtual teaching to their skill set. Written by expert facilitator Diana L. Howles, this book goes beyond the basics of virtual training and online synchronous instruction, providing in-depth insights into advanced challenges.

“Next Level Virtual Training” introduces the Virtual Trainer Capability Model, which identifies eight areas of expertise for the top virtual professional. A train-the-virtual-trainer resource, this book will guide you in developing the specific knowledge and skills to facilitate online interactivity, manage to multitask, be technically fluent, oversee logistics and troubleshooting, leverage your voice, and engage virtual learners. Importantly, this book is about actionable tips, strategies, and techniques rather than technologies.

Inside, you’ll find comprehensive chapters on developing on-camera competence; applying learning experience design to live online learning; and preparing for the combination of onsite and online learners together in a post-pandemic hybrid work environment.

Resource 2: What’s Your Formula? Combine Learning Elements for Impactful Training

Have you ever wondered if there is a formula for engaging, yet educational, training communication? Brian Washburn has done the hard work and written an entire book – “What’s Your Formula? Combine Learning Elements for Impactful Training” – to answer that question with timeless information that still rings true today. A must-read for any trainer who wants to improve student engagement.

Resource Review

Creating engaging and effective training programs is a mixture of science and art. It requires the right balance of adult learning theory, available technology, intuitive tools, proven practices, creativity, and risk. How does a trainer find the right combination and proportion of these elements? How does a trainer know what’s possible?

To answer these questions, Brian Washburn offers a simple, yet elegant periodic table of learning elements, modelled on the familiar scientific table of chemical properties. Washburn’s elements, which are organised into solids, liquids, gases, radioactive, and interactive categories, like to their chemical cousins, are metaphors for the tools and strategies of the field of learning design. Moreover, when they are combined, and under certain conditions, they have the potential to create amazing learning experiences for participants. 

From critical gas-like elements like the air we breathe, present in every training room (think instructional design or visual design), to radioactive elements, that are powerful and dangerous, yet commonly used (think PowerPoint), Washburn guides readers through the pitfalls and choices they confront in creating engaging learning experiences. A well-designed training program can be world-changing, he argues, and if trainers believe in their craft as a learning professional, they can do this too. Whether you are an experienced learning designer or new to the field, this book will inspire with new ideas and ways to organise the learning program design. With stories from Washburn’s professional experience, this book includes a hands-on glossary of definitions and descriptions for more than 50 of his “elements”. 

Resource 3: Learning Science for Instructional Designers – From Cognition to Application

“Learning Science for Instructional Designers – From Cognition to Application” by Clark N. Quinn prepares you to create learning experiences that ensure long-term retention and equips you with the skills to design learning environments that provide skill mastery for your students.

Resource Review

Learning science is a professional imperative for instructional designers. To create effective learning experiences that engage, teachers need to know how learning works and what enhances it as well as the factors that pose barriers. We also need to track the underlying research, so we are able to articulate how our designs reflect current understanding. 

“Learning Science for Instructional Designers: From Cognition to Application” distils the current scope of learning science into an easy-to-read primer. Good instructional design makes learning as simple as possible by removing distractions, minimising the cognitive load, and chunking necessary information into digestible parts. But our aim must go beyond enabling learners to recite facts, to empowering them to make better decisions—decisions about what to do, when to do it, and how. 

Key insights include:

  • providing spaced practice and reflection
  • tapping into motivation to build learner confidence
  • using performance-support tools, social learning, and humour appropriately to bring about learning aims.
  • prompts at the end of each chapter will spark your thinking about how to use these concepts and more in your daily work.

Resource 4: Know How

The ideal book to understand how to embed your know-how in someone else’s brain is “Know-How” by Harold D. Stolovitch and Erica J. This book is something that both seasoned and inexperienced trainers will find to be highly beneficial.

Resource Review

Whether they are subject matter experts, managers, coaches, or co-workers, everyone will need to transfer knowledge to others at some point in their life. Often that responsibility falls to an occasional trainer, someone with considerable knowledge and experience on how to perform a task, but little expertise to successfully transfer their know-how to others. What they need is a great resource to round out their repertoire of training skills.

Enter “Know-How”. This easy-to-read book lays out a simple-to-follow path to help the trainers (and occasional trainers) with whom you work improve their impact. Adding to the sustained influence of their previous books, such as “Telling Ain’t Training”, Harold D Stolovitch and Erica J Keeps have written a fun, effective guide on how to make your know-how stick to another’s brain.

Each of the 12 chapters focus on a single theme and are sequenced like stepping-stones to help you understand how to best transfer know-how to those who learn from you. Chapters include brief explanations, guidance, tools, activities, tangible and accessible examples of real-world applications, and a summary exercise to reinforce your retention of key points. Discover what you need now to quickly get people learning and up-to-speed. No fumbling, bumbling, rambling, or messing with people’s heads—this book delivers the know-how.

Resource 5: Producing Virtual Training, Meetings & Webinars

Kassy LaBorie’s incredible learning resource “Producing Virtual Training, Meetings & Webinars” walks you through production knowledge and skills required for a trainer to master the production of virtual events while delivering engaging training, productive meetings, and captivating webinars.

Resource Review

Have you ever found yourself confidently delivering content for a virtual training session, webinar, or online meeting only to have a participant drop off? Or, have you bravely launched breakout sessions but found that participants got lost on where to go? These scenarios illustrate the convergence of virtual session facilitation and production. While attention is most often paid to the facilitation of virtual sessions, significantly less is devoted to producing them. “Producing Virtual Training, Meetings, and Webinars” rectifies this gap.

Kassy uses examples from common virtual conferencing platforms such as Adobe Connect, Blackboard, Zoom, Webex, GoTo Meeting, and Microsoft Teams. She discusses the differences between platforms and offers a plan of action for conquering just about any application and how to troubleshoot potential problems. This book thoroughly examines typical platform features (audio, webcam, chat, screen share), advanced interaction methods (polling, breakouts, Q&A), and administration and logistics elements (logins, session scheduling, reports).

With production in mind, you’ll also learn how to:

  • design session materials
  • prepare attendees to participate before and during the session
  • build successful virtual working relationships with presenters.

Through stories, templates, checklists, and examples, LaBorie shares about her 20-plus years of engaging participants successfully in thousands of virtual events and gets you up to speed in no time..

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