TB Notes Newsletter
No. 3, 2008
TB ETN’s Ask the Experts
This feature is brought to you by the TB ETN Membership
I conduct a TB Update every year for our staff of nurses. What are
some methods of presenting the material that will increase interest,
yet maintain continuity of content?
Engaging participants in a training course can be both challenging
and rewarding. Participants are more likely to learn training
content and gain skills if they are actively engaged in the
training. There are many training techniques that can help in this.
Some methods you can readily apply include–
- Following four important training concepts
- Using adult learning principles
- Providing a variety of training methods
Following four important training concepts
Understand and follow these four training concepts to provide a
solid foundation for developing an engaging training course for
- Facilitate a learning environment; build on the experience
of the participants
When training adults, it is important that the trainer create a
collaborative environment by including the participants’ ideas,
knowledge and experiences. The trainer’s role is to enhance,
assist, and foster learning that builds on the experiences of
the participants, rather than being the only one providing
- Training is not education; it should be applied immediately
Telling is not training
- Training is providing participants with skills, knowledge, and
attitudes that they can apply immediately to their job.
- Education is providing students, patients, and colleagues
with content information that they may or may not use at a later
- An example that illustrates the difference between
training and education: Driver education teaches one about the
rules of the road and the correct procedures for driving, but
driver training actually teaches one how to drive.
Simply telling participants things and providing a
Power-Point presentation does not mean that they will actually
learn the information and gain the skills. Participants who
engage actively in the learning process increase retention.
Including more content does not mean that more learning
Including more content may mean that too much information is
being provided in the time available. It is better to
concentrate on the most important or essential information to
ensure participants actually learn it. Too much information can
overload participants with content and they will lose interest
at a certain point.
Using adult learning principles
Many people think that training adults is the same as teaching
students in a traditional school system, but this is not true.
Adults learn differently from children and require different
training approaches. Knowing and applying adult learning principles
helps you use the right training techniques to enhance learning, and
is critical to the success of your training courses. The following
chart describes some important adult learning principles and
training techniques you can use to engage the adult learner.
Adult Learning Principles and Training Techniques
|Adults bring a wealth of knowledge and experience and which they want to share.
||Encourage participants to share their knowledge and experiences. Include activities that utilize
their knowledge and experience, e,g., role play.
|Adults are decision-makers and self-directed learners.
||Include problem-solving activities such as case studies.
|Adults have different learning styles that must be respected.
||Provide multiple ways for participants to learn the material, e.g., print materials, question and answer, modelling of the skill.
|Adults want to participate rather than just listen to a lecture.
||Create a participatory learning environment with various types of activities, e.g., lecture followed by group exercise.
|Adults a re motivated by information or tasks that are meaningful and applicable to their jobs.
||Ensure that the right participants attend the training. This can be done by restricting enrollment via
the application process, required prerequisite to training, pre-test with a minimum required score, or limited to a
specific job series.
|Adults prefer training that focuses on real- life problems.
||Relate content to the types of problems they encounter in their jobs. Have participants send
questions or a description of problems before the course begins.
|Adults expect their time during training to be used carefully.
||Follow a realistic time schedule; get started on time; ensure all equipment and supplies are in
place before participants arrive.
|Adults feel anxious when participating in a group that makes them look uninformed, either professionally or personally.
||Avoid criticism. Acknowledge all participants contributions.
|Adults learn best in a positive environment where they feel respected and confident.
||Create a positive environment by provide positive feedback and showing respect to all participants.
|Adults come from different cultures, life-styles, religious preferences, genders, and ages.
||Respect all differences and encourage participants to respect each other’s differences, as well.
A saying well known in training courses is--
I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.
The following chart provides information on what adults remember.
This is very important for knowing how to design your training. If a
trainer only lectures, then participants will probably only remember
20% of what is said. Creating a participatory training where
participants are active and “saying and doing” will help them
remember more from the training. It will help ensure that
participants actually gain the desired knowledge and skills.
Providing a variety of training methods
If variety is the spice of life, it is also the spice of
training. Providing a variety of training methods will help
participants stay engaged. In fact, you should change the pace and
activity about every 20 minutes.
Following are some methods you can use to create variety in your
- Change the presentation styles.
- Change facilitators often. Just having a different
facilitator can change the pace and create a different energy in
- Use two or more facilitators for one presentation.
- Create participatory learning situations; participants should-
- Stay involved and active;
- Share their knowledge and experiences.
- Provide various learning activities to help participants apply
the content, including the following:
- Exercises (e.g., case studies, study questions/tests, problem
- Group discussions (e.g., large group that involves all the
participants, small groups that allow more interaction
- Role plays (if appropriate)
- Demonstrations/modeling of the new skill
- Use a variety of media
- PowerPoint slides
- Overhead transparencies
- Flip charts
- White boards/black boards
- Use a variety of visual aids
- Charts, graphs, diagrams
- Change how participants work during the different activities
- With their neighbor
- In groups
- At the same table or several tables together
- By other factors related to the activity (e.g., location where
they work such as region or health facility, job duties such as
physician or nurse)
Vary the group composition for the different training activities
to ensure participants interact with a variety people in the
training course. (Note: This can also help ensure no one person
always dominates the same group.)
- Change seating arrangements
- Change where and with whom people sit in the room. It is
helpful to have participants sit in different locations and interact
with other participants. (Note: This can be an effective tool to
manage difficult participants; if two or more participants are
continuing to talk together throughout the training, you can split
- For a group discussion, have people sit in a circle in a
different part of the room.
- For group exercises, participants can move to different parts
of the room.
- Take frequent breaks
- Take at least a 15 minute break at least every 1.5 hours or
- Take a short 5 minute break every hour (make sure participants
return from breaks on time)
- Use various presentation techniques
- Use analogies to make a comparison. This is helpful for
teaching about a complex concept or process. For example, latent TB
infection is like having a thimbleful of bacteria in us; with TB
disease, it is like having a bucketful.
- Give quotes to provide a clear statement related to the
content. For example, “The mind is a wonderful thing. It starts
working the minute you’re born and never stops until you get up to
speak in public.” Roscoe Drummond
- Provide interesting statistics to help prove a point or show
validity. For example, it takes eight or nine positive comments to
undo the damage of one negative comment.
- Provide different points of view to enhance understanding. For
example, some people think that training adults is the same as
educating students. But training provides adults with skills,
knowledge, and attitudes that they can apply immediately to their
job. Education, however, provides students and patients with content
information that they may or may not use at a later date.
- Use humor (where appropriate)
- Use questions to engage the participants
- Encourages all participants to contribute and to share
knowledge and experiences
- Allows for differences of opinions
- Keeps participants alert
The following resources provide additional information on
Released October 2008
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Division of Tuberculosis Elimination - http://www.cdc.gov/tb
Please send comments/suggestions/requests
CDC/Division of Tuberculosis Elimination
Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch
1600 Clifton Rd., NE - Mailstop E-10, Atlanta, GA 30333