3.4. Training methods

Training methods are ways of achieving the objectives of training with regard to selected content. There are many guides available that describe widely different methods, so here we mention only some of them.

Methods for the acquiring of new knowledge.

These include, for example:

  • Presentations using tools such as PowerPoint or Prezi, being a combination of speech and photographs, diagrams, etc.
  • Lectures. Short speeches (generally not exceeding 20 min.) which allow you to pass new knowledge in a systematic way.
  • Videos or animations showing participants step by step, e.g. how to use an application on their smartphones.
  • Infographics. Presentation of the issue in the form of key figures, concepts, charts, graphics, etc.
  • Visualization. A graphic form to present some issues, e.g. in the form of a drawing, collage etc.

Methods to analyse problems, make decisions, etc.

These include, for example:

  • Case studies. Descriptions of some problematic situations (real or imagined) that the trainees analyse wondering, e.g. What is the problem? What solutions were adopted? What were its consequences?, as well as proposing alternative solutions.
  • “Decision trees”. Structure to make decisions step by step, from determining what the problem is, what are the alternative decisions that can be taken to solve the problem, what values must be taken into account, etc.
  • Discussions. There are different ways of doing a structured discussion and related rules, e.g. to limit speaking time of each participant, ending a speech specific proposal (application), etc. One of the options is to discuss “for – against”, when the participants are divided into two groups, one of which invents arguments “for” a solution, and one “against”. After their presentation, all participants choose the best solution for their opinion.

Methods to develop social skills

These include, for example:

  • Role play. Participants take on the roles of different characters and play a scene described in the instruction e.g. one person plays the role of an employer, who is looking for an employee with specific skills, and the other person the role of job seeker, who has to prove that he / she has such skills.
  • The simulations, which usually rely on the fact that the participants take action under the “mock reality” described in the manual, which sets the frame. This “mock reality” to a certain extent reflects the situations that occur in reality. For example, participants take “mock” meeting of the municipal council, which is to decide on the distribution of the budget for various purposes. The instruction includes then e.g. the budget that the council has at its disposal, its decision-making procedure, etc. Although the participants take part in a “mock reality”, their behaviour, and emotions are true. In this way, they learn social skills: to communicate with others, cooperation, conflict resolution and decision-making.
  • Games, which are a kind of simulations with a clear element of competition. Participants – acting under specific rules – have to complete an assignment for obtaining a reward for example the highest number of points. Games may involve individual participants or teams. It may take place in the training room, in the city (urban games) or online (games using computers, tablets or smartphones).

When choosing training methods you should take into account the following factors:

  • The objectives of the training. If in the course of the training, participants have to learn new skills, you cannot conduct training using only presentations.
  • The number of participants. Remember that the more people the group has, the more time you spend on the implementation of the methods developing skills and discuss their effects.
  • Training time. The shorter the harder it will be to use methods focused on developing skills.
  • Experience of the training participants. If they are not accustomed to working methods you propose, their use may take more time.
  • Available equipment or Internet access. If you want to use during the training, e.g. tablets, you need to make sure that the organizer can provide them, or whether participants can bring their own devices.
  • The stage of the group’s development, e.g. you have to consider if participants know each other enough and trust each other, to propose methods during which they must work together (simulation) or reveal their beliefs and values (discussion, role play).
  • Different learning styles of the participants. There are many classifications of learning styles, e.g. one of them divides the people to “listeners” (people who learn by listening to others, talk, discuss etc.), “visuals” (learners through the visuals, drawing, etc.) and “kinesthetics” (people learning “in action”, group work, etc.). It is important that you include different training methods when planning the training in order to address the needs of the participants preferring to learn in the frame of different styles.