I’m noticing a new trend in requests for leadership training. Better Teams is being asked to facilitate a series of very short training classes versus one long day or two half days, if virtual. The requests are for a series of 90-minutes to 2-hour VILT leadership classes spread out over 3-12 months.
Bite-sized leadership training is different from micro-training, which is typically e-learning or asynchronous learning options.
Creating a leadership training program where several 90-minute training modules are strung together thoughtfully, allows participants the opportunity to practice and then be ready for more. Typically these programs will be 3-12 months long, and the participants will meet at least twice a month, so there's continuity.
There are several advantages to bite-sized leadership courses:
- They are easier for leaders to attend. Leaders often complain about all the work piling up when they are out of the office for a multi-day training session. Short virtual programs save travel time and allow them to work before and/or after the training, which means they don’t return from training with an overwhelming amount of work waiting on them.
- It’s easier to retain small bits of information without cognitive overload. Our brains can only remember so much information, so short classes with less content are easier to retain.
- They provide an opportunity to build skills a little at a time. After a short training, a leader has the opportunity to apply the learning immediately and then be ready to return for another training session that builds on the first one.
Bite-sized courses have some drawbacks including:
- Lack of time to practice and apply skills during the training. There isn’t much time for application in 90-minutes, and chances are the facilitator won’t have one-to-one time with each student, so these sessions tend to be more informational and less skill-building in nature.
- Lack of time to learn complex information. Some topics or skills require more time and will be impossible to know in 90-minutes.
Here are some examples of how these bite-sized training sessions might be scheduled:
- Once a month for 90-minutes over nine months.
- Four 3-hour sessions scheduled over two weeks followed by small peer coaching circles (4-6 people each) with the facilitator.
- Six 2-hour sessions scheduled every other week for 6 weeks.
Best practices for designing bite-sized virtual training programs:
- The ideal time is 90-minutes with no break or 2-hour session with a 10-minute break in the middle.
- At least one breakout session every 45-minutes with 2-5 people in the breakout groups.
- The training must be engaging, not a presentation. Use a mixture of polls, annotation tools, and reactions to create engagement every 3-5 minutes.
- Set the expectation that video cameras will be on and encourage (but don't require) this behavior.
- Provide a PDF fillable workbook for note-taking.
- Schedule a kick-off to establish the ground rules, process, and any pre-work.
- Schedule a closing call that includes the participants' managers to celebrate success.
Are you interested in a series of 90-minute leadership training sessions for your organization?
Reach out to Better Teams and we can customize a program that fits your needs. We have over 10 mini-training courses including Managing Change, Managing Stress, Influencing Others, Building Better Teams, Managing Conflict, and more.
About the Author: Leigh Ann Rodgers, Founder of Better Teams, Team Consultant Academy, and FORWARD, is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator with 20 years of experience in the human development field. Leigh Ann is a skilled meeting facilitator, trainer, and coach working across the globe to help leaders cultivate teams that are happy and high-performing.
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