As a critical transition point for instructor-led training (ILT) programs, train-the-trainer (T3) events offer a unique opportunity not only to train facilitators on program content but also to evaluate that content in real time. You can see what works, what doesn’t and what you need to refine.

For learning and development (L&D) professionals, T3s are a standard step to launching a successful training program. However, in order to create an exceptional training program that engages and inspires your learners, you must also create a T3 that does the same for your facilitators. Leverage the following best practices to take your T3s to the next level.

Follow the T3 Golden Rules

The first golden rule of train-the-trainer events is to treat your facilitators as you would have them treat your learners. Make sure your T3 content appeals to all types of learners. Are you including key visuals, such as slideshows, images and video? Do you have time scheduled for your facilitators to practice and model instruction?

The second golden rule is to treat your T3 as you would the training event. Make sure your T3 environment is learner-centric. Include frequent breaks, provide healthy snacks and make sure your days aren’t too long. Applying the same focus and attention to detail to your T3s as you would your live training event will help your facilitators experience their learners’ experience firsthand and, in turn, deliver that same experience when they are facilitating.

Empower Your Facilitators

Many L&D professionals have a team of facilitators with a wide range of skill sets. During practice or modeling sessions at your T3, make sure to pair up your facilitators based on their strengths and weaknesses. Each pair should complement each other’s talents and areas for growth so that each facilitator works with a colleague who can help them grow.

Not sure who to pair up? Use the following questions to evaluate your trainers:

  • What type of learning do they prefer (e.g., visual, auditory, kinesthetic, etc.)?
  • What are their biggest roadblocks as facilitators?
  • Who are the best role models in the team, and why? Use your strongest facilitators to model instruction so the rest of your team can use them as examples.

Make sure also to include time throughout your event to meet with each facilitator individually to answer questions, work through any concerns and ensure he or she is confident in the content.

Find Ways to Surprise and Delight

With so much information to learn in a short amount of time, train-the-trainer events can be intense for your facilitators. Break up the event with memorable “surprise and delight” moments that help facilitators relax and have fun. Here are a few ideas:

Facilitator Fun Facts: Before the T3, gather one interesting fact about each of your facilitators. Throughout the day, take a moment to share a handful of facilitator “fun facts,” and have the group guess which facilitator each applies to.

Post-it Praise: In your opening session, ask facilitators to write on a Post-it note one compliment they’ve received that made them feel awesome. While the group is at lunch, mix up the Post-it notes and place one on every seat at random. When the facilitators return, everyone has a compliment to read.

Mid-day Snack: Help your facilitators beat the afternoon slump by serving fun, personalized snacks during a break. Don’t have the time or the budget to personalize food? Create a fun experience such as a make-your-own-sundae bar.

Using these key best practices, you can deliver an elevated T3 that supports, engages and delights your facilitators — and encourages them to do the same for their learners.