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How to do a proper technical training for developers

rlxdprogrammer profile image Marcell Lipp Originally published at howtosurviveasaprogrammer.blogspot.com on ・3 min read

Most developers really appreciate to have a chance to take part on technical trainings paid and organized by their company. It is really a good opportunity to learn something new and make the daily work more effective. There are professional companies offering trainings, but at several companies there’s an internal training system, where trainings are held by the employees of the company. Unfortunately a part of these trainings is just a waste of time and money, because they are not transferring the knowledge in the right way. To do a proper training is not easy at all, next to the outstanding technical knowledge very good presentation and teaching skills are also needed. In the post I collected several points based on my experiences which you need to act if you are holding a training for developers. And I think most of these points are valid for any kind of training.

  1. Know the knowledge level of your audience

Before the training you should understand what is the current level of the group. You can have some personal talks with them or you can send around a short questionnaire some days before the training. You can also do a short introduction round at the beginning where everyone can tell what is their experience. Adapt your training based on this information.

  1. Set up an agenda, but also a bit flexible with that It is necessary to have an agenda for the training where you are collecting which topics need to be addressed. But also a bit flexible, if one topic requires a bit more time don’t change to the next topic without really finishing it.
  2. *Less is often more * Don’t try to address all topics. Try to collect the most important ones and let your audience understand that topics better. Addressing many topics usually means that the audience does not understand any of them properly.
  3. Plan breaks Noone can pay really attention on you longer than 90 minutes without brake. After 90 minutes at least 15 minutes long break it needed.
  4. Don’t plan too much for one day It is not effective to plan too much for one day. Sometimes I attended trainings which were 10 hours long. I don’t remember anything from the last 3 hours. The training shouldn't be longer than 8 hours per day (including breaks).
  5. Teach way of usage instead of pure facts It makes much more sense to show some working examples instead of showing slides with a lot of data, especially in the IT world. Everyone can find the raw data on the internet. A training should be more practical
  6. Be interactive Always try to communicate with your audience, ask them about their experiences, ask if they understood everything clearly, check if their really understood. You can also do some team work session.
  7. Do practical exercises in teamwork If you are doing practical exercises (like implementing a small program) do it always in teamwork. So that the group members will talk to each other about the material and they will point out themselves what they don’t understand clearly or if they misunderstood something.
  8. Concentrate on practical usage in their situation Always try to find examples from the field of your audience. So if you are doing the training for people working in banking sector don’t bring you examples from automotive business.
  9. Be open for questions Always ask it your audience have questions and give a full answer. Never tell that “sorry I don’t have time to answer this question”.
  10. Check what their understood from the training It is not enough to broadcast the information. You need to make sure if your audience really understood what you are talking about. If not just try to explain it from another perspective as well.
  11. Be available after the training

A training does not finish at the end of the day. Your audience retrieved a lot of information, they need to process it, to try it out in practice. Most likely they will have questions after some days of weeks. Be available for such questions, either online or schedule a follow-up meeting.

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