Scaled Management Systems

Common Training Delivery Problems of Novice Trainers

Results from a survey* of people considered experts in delivering training identified three major focuses:

(1) Determine what trainers considered to be the most frequent training delivery problems they faced as novices
(2) Determine how experts respond to these problems with solutions they have found to be effective
(3) Present the findings in a useful manner for practitioners

The conclusions from each of the two distinct surveys within the study formed the research base for the major outcomes – the 12 most common training delivery problems novice trainers experience and expert solutions to these problems.

12 Most Common Training Delivery Problems of Novice Trainers:

1. Fear

a. Be well prepared – thoroughly research your topic beforehand
b. Use ice-breakers
c. Acknowledge the fear

2. Credibility

a. Don’t apologize
b. Have an attitude of an expert and demonstrate this in presentation behaviours
c. Share personal background

3. Personal Experiences

a. Report personal experiences
b. Report experiences of others
c. Use analogies, movies, or famous people

4. Difficult learners

a. Confront problem learner
b. Circumvent dominating behaviour
c. Small groups for timid behaviour

5. Participation

a. Ask open-ended questions
b. Plan small group activities
c. Invite participation

6. Timing

a. Plan well
b. Practice, practice, practice

7. Adjust instruction

a. Know group needs
b. Request feedback
c. Redesign during breaks

8. Questions

Answering questions
a. Anticipate questions
b. Paraphrase learners’ questions
c. “I don’t know” is okay. However, follow up and identify the answer or a source of information that will provide an opportunity for the learner to explore / investigate.

Asking questions
a. Ask concise questions

9. Feedback

a. Solicit informal feedback
b. Do summative evaluations

10.Media, materials, facilitie


  1. Know equipment
  2. Have back-ups
  3. Enlist assistance
  4. Test equipment beforehand


  1.     Be prepared


  1.     Visit and check facility beforehand

Arrive early

  1.     Brief or ‘induct’ participants on the facilities available

11. Openings and closings

  1. Develop an “openings file”
  2. Memorise
  3. Relax trainees


  1. Summarise concisely
  2. Thank participants

12.Dependence on notes

a. Notes are necessary
b. Use cards
c. Use visuals
d. Practice

e. Notes are reference material – don’t read from them verbatim

*For Expert Selection and Data Sorting criteria refer to pages 300 – 302 of “The Adult Learner”.

A selection of instructive text from:

“The Adult Learner” 6th Edition, 2005
Malcolm Knowles, Elwood F Holton III, Richard A Swanson
Publisher: Elsevier Inc – Butterworth- Heineman