Lecturing During Training

Can Lectures be Good?

I used to hate lectures. As a response to finding so many trainers using lecturing in all or most of the time of their training sessions, I developed an inclination to jam pack my training with training activities and to avoid using lecturing altogether in all training sessions I was delivering. Despite finding the all-activities training to be highly successful, enjoyable and engaging yet as I gained more experience in delivering training I started to realize that lecturing does indeed have a place within the training session and can even improve the overall effectiveness of a training program if used appropriately.

Activities Saturation

The first insight about the importance of injecting some lecturing in a training program came to me after delivering a training session in which I led participants into repeatedly carrying out a number of group activities in a row. I observed that participants just got fed up from the repeated group activities they were asked to do after having to do them for several times. The final time they were doing the group work they seamed reluctant and went through the activity with low energy.

Lecturing Appreciation

The second incident that helped me change my mind about the all-activities no-lecturing approach I once clung strongly to was when I attended a training program by some senior trainer. He used very few activities during his full-day training sessions and did not provide for a lot of interactivity. On the contrary, he spoke a lot and lectured for long during the sessions. At the end of that two-day training program I was surprised to find most participants giving him the highest score in the training evaluation forms! Many of them came to greet him and thank him heartedly for the training. They even clapped with enthusiasm and appreciation for him as he closed the training program. This experience had me rethink my earlier beliefs and start appreciating the concept of lecturing once again.

Some Like Lectures

I also remember a third incident where one of the trainees spoke up during the first half of the training session I was delivering and said to me: “Now we want to hear you speak.” I attempted to explain to him that the training program was based on activities rather than on lecturing yet I did realize that for many people they have been conditioned to listen to lectures and expect to find one during the training program they are attending.

Mixing Lecturing and Activities

After such revelation I had I started injecting mini lectures or lecturettes in between activities during training sessions I delivered. I noticed that providing such mini-lectures made participants very eager to carry out activities when the time for activities comes. I also noticed that giving several activities to trainees makes them very attentive to the trainer when the time comes for him to speak and give a mini-lecture or short presentation. Alternation between training activities and short lectures seemed to provide the best effect in a training program. Nevertheless, I still believe that time provided for activities should still be more than that given to lecturing perhaps its double.

Lively Lecturing

In order to make lecturettes interesting and effective it is best to fill them up with storytelling and perhaps accompany them with drawing or charting on the flip chart. This would help make them the more engaging and impactful.


So whenever designing for a training program remember to include a combination of many activities and a few mini-lectures in order to get the best of both worlds and achieve the highest impact.

When do you think is it not appropriate at all to use even mini-lectures during a training program?

Alternation and Variation in Training

Alternation is an important concept in training. A trainer should be able to use alternation during a training session and throughout the training program in order to guarantee a strong and effective training program.

Breaks in Between Training

Alternation can manifest in different forms during the training. For instance, a trainer should alternate between providing training and giving breaks to trainees during a training session specially for long training sessions. This alternation between training and breaks helps trainees revitalize themselves and be fresh and absorbent during the training. It creates a strong training session.

Alternating between Activities and Lecturing

Other than breaks, a trainer should also alternate between providing interactive activities for trainees and giving them direct information himself by speaking or presenting. This alternation makes trainees highly appreciate the interactive activities when the time for them comes and be highly attentive when the time comes for the trainer to present something or speak.

If the training becomes nothing else other than activities trainees might get exhausted and less appreciative of such activities. Likewise, if the training consists only of lecturing by the trainer, trainees get bored, become less attentive and the training as a whole becomes less effective.

Variation in Training Style

Breaks, activities and presenting are elements of alternation during a single training session. Across the whole training program there is also a third element of alternation namely alternation in training style. It could be a good idea that a trainer varies his or her training approach from one training session to the other. This could lie more under the concept of variation rather than alternation.

Variation of training style during a training program not only makes trainees less bored but it also provides them with different elements that build and satisfy their training needs in a way similar to how varying the type of food one consumes from one day to the other helps the body get what it needs from the various elements.

Alternation and the related concept of variation are two important concepts that allow for more enjoyable and useful training if used by the trainer appropriately.

What other forms of alternation can you think of that can be used in a training program?