Train-the-Trainer Model: What it is, Benefits, and Where to Start

A motivated team of skilled professionals is often the backbone of success in business. But how do you ensure that your employees are able to do their job effectively, in the ever-changing, competitive nature of today’s business climate? By making employees subject matter experts through the train-the-trainer model, you can further strengthen your workforce by ensuring a higher level of proficiency and skill retention from every employee, while also encouraging collaborative and contextual learning.
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Matleena Salminen
Matleena is a Content Writer at ClickLearn with 5+ years of experience in writing about emerging technology, AI, and digital marketing.

What is the train-the-trainer model?

Instead of hiring outside specialists to coach and train your employees on various internal tasks, the train-the-trainer model focuses on internal talent development. 

With this training framework, you turn employees into subject matter experts who can help new employees with specific training content related to your business and operations.

Often, train-the-trainer programs go beyond just onboarding. By introducing internal trainers to your team, new skills and new knowledge is passed on to other employees in a more organic and contextual way, enhancing good communication skills and technical expertise within the entire organization.

What are the benefits of a train-the-trainer program?

Train-the-trainer programs provide many benefits for any organization. By providing an opportunity for staff to become experts on a particular topic, organizations can reduce the amount of time spent training new employees and increase the effectiveness of their training sessions. This can lead to:

  • Increased efficiency
  • Increased productivity
  • Improved staff morale and job satisfaction

Additionally, having in-house experts within the organization empowers employees to use their knowledge and expertise to drive innovation, progress, and growth. Train-the-trainer programs help organizations save money in the long run as they don’t have to hire external trainers each time they need additional resources or training materials.

Customized learning experience

With external trainers, it’s not always easy to design a training program that addresses business- or organization-specific issues, like custom software or specialized business processes.

An internal training program solves this issue. Since the trainers have subject matter expertise in your tools and company culture, it’s much easier to create a customized training curriculum. Through a train-the-trainer model, employees are able to attend specialized courses and seminars that help them become better equipped at teaching the skills and knowledge necessary for a particular job to others.

By customizing learning experiences, you’re able to increase efficiency in onboarding new employees and ensuring consistency among company practices.

Cost-effective

Bringing in a certified trainer once to train your in-house subject matter experts is much cheaper in the long run.

Train-the-trainer model provides an effective way for companies to keep training costs down since they only have to pay for one set of training fees instead of individual fees for each employee. Instead of budgeting for potential instructors for each quarter, you invest in the train-the-trainer process once, and afterward, your internal team can carry out necessary professional development.

Better training follow-up

By having a competent internal training team that is well-versed in internal processes, managers can better assess the progress of their employees and ensure they get support early on, in a contextual setting. 

With an internal trainer, it’s much easier for other employees to ask for additional help on-site, even after the training session has finished. Similarly, the trainers themselves see first-hand whether their training techniques have been effective. 

Additionally, by utilizing the train-the-trainer model, companies can easily scale up these training initiatives if needed as there is a clear line of succession for instruction roles. This ensures consistent quality during the training sessions no matter who is teaching the material.

Better learning experience

Internal development programs are often met with a positive attitude from other employees. Whether setting up a training DRI for each department or developing an internal training team, the train-the-trainer model makes establishing one organic and economical. 

Since people are likely to ask for help and guidance from their colleagues and managers on a day-to-day basis, internally-run training methods tend to result in a better learning experience overall. The train-the-trainer model encourages employees to develop their practical skills, helping you ensure your workforce remains agile and at the top of their fields.

This all leads to more effective communication between instructors and learners, resulting in an improvement in overall performance and skill retention.

The train-the-trainer model is an effective internal training model. Because people can ask for help on a day-to-day basis, it helps create a learning environment ripe for developing an agile workforce at the top of the field. 

How to set up a train-the-trainer program

Setting up a successful train-the-trainer program requires careful planning and execution. You want to identify the areas where expertise is needed and create a framework for internal trainer development. 

Be sure to:

  • Evaluate current staff capabilities for initial trainer training
  • Set expectations for participants and ensuring they understand the deliverables required of them
  • Design the training curriculum
  • Create learning materials
  • Collect feedback from participants

TIP: Ongoing evaluation of the program is essential to ensure that goals are being met and that the appropriate resources are allocated accordingly.

 

1. Identify the right participants

Selecting the right people to become your internal trainers requires some thought and reflection. Ideally, you want the right participants to be:

  • Good communicators
  • Reflective
  • Respectful and tactful
  • Experienced in their field
  • Flexible and available

One of the most important factors to consider when selecting trainers is their experience level. Look for people who possess the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively teach a particular subject or task to others. Individuals with good communication and interpersonal skills have an easier time leading and motivating other employees.

It is also beneficial to find trainers with enthusiasm and passion to help create an engaged learning environment. You also want to make sure that potential trainers are available and can commit to the training programs.

Trainers should be selected based upon their skill level and their passion for creating an engaging learning environment. 

2. Set a clear purpose for the training program

When you initially launch the train-the-trainer model, you need to be clear and concise with the purpose and goal of the training program.

Consider the different areas your employees need the most guidance and assistance with – are there software-related struggles? Or are you looking to improve the instructional skills or leadership skills of your team instead?

Map out the areas employees struggle with most, and define the ones that bring the most value to your organization.

3. Determine outcomes and assessments

Once you know why you want to establish a train-the-trainer program, you need to consider how you will measure and assess the outcomes of the training course.

Identify a set of tangible and realistic outcomes and learning goals for potential trainers, and map out how frequently your participants need to be assessed, depending on the curriculum and overall learning process.

For instance, outcomes and assessments for software training can be more straightforward to plan, compared to setting up a training model for aspiring managers and team leads.

4. Design a training curriculum

For your train-the-trainer model to succeed, you need a strong training curriculum. Carefully consider the goals and objectives you hope to achieve, as well as the specific needs of your trainees.

It’s important to assess the resources available to you, such as budget, materials, technology, and personnel. You want to create a learning environment that encourages participants to engage in meaningful dialogue and collaboration.

A comprehensive and practical training curriculum should cover all the topics and assessments learners need to know in order to successfully and independently execute the desired outcomes.

Effective training materials is a vital piece of a training plan. Materials that are comprehensive and interactive help learners and digital adoption tools can make the process of creating uniform, effective training materials much less time-consuming.

5. Create training materials

When creating training materials, it’s important to consider how they will be used and received by learners. Carefully selecting relevant topics, crafting engaging content, and incorporating interactive activities into your materials helps ensure that trainers and learners get the most out of their learning experiences.

By taking the time to create comprehensive training materials for your train-the-trainer program, you can empower your trainers with the knowledge and skills needed for successful instruction.

Using digital adoption solutions with in-built authoring tools helps to reduce the overall time it takes to create detailed and localized training content – especially if you’re setting up a software-focused train-the-trainer program.

6. Collect feedback from participants

Participant feedback helps to measure the success of your training program and identify areas for improvement. Feedback should be collected in a timely manner via surveys, interviews, or questionnaires.

Tools like ClickLearn help you automate feedback collection and processing for software training. Set up feedback surveys for different sections of your training process, and gain a better understanding of how users feel about your training content.

Develop your own in-house subject matter experts

Developing in-house subject matter experts through a train-the-trainer model is essential for any team or organization that wants to remain competitive and improve internal skill transfer and retention.

To successfully launch and maintain a train-the-trainer program, it’s important to identify the areas where training is required and build a framework for internal development.

When done correctly, a train-the-trainer program helps develop a team of highly skilled individuals who can contribute to the company’s success and mission while also simultaneously teaching other employees.

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