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How Long Should Training Lessons Be?


44073723_sWhat is the ideal length for a training session?

“Short!” one sales trainer told us. And he’s right, because trainees shut down and stop learning when sessions run too long.

“Just the right length,” another trainer said. When we asked him what that meant, he explained, “It depends on the information you are presenting, how you are delivering it, who your trainers and trainees are, and lots of other factors.”

The funny thing is, they are both right. Sessions should ideally be as brief as possible, but these considerations come into play.

What Is Your Delivery System?

As a general rule, “The smaller the delivery device, the shorter lessons should be.” Individual training sessions can take an hour or more if people are in big groups. If trainees are completing training on remote computer terminals, lessons can run to 30 or 45 minutes. And if your learners are training on mobile phones, lessons as short as five minutes have been shown to work well.

Where Does Each Training Unit Fit into Your Overall Plan?

If you write down all the skills and information that you want your trainees to take away, you will see that some topics can be taught quickly, while others require more time. When planning a day of sales training, for example, you might want to start your day with a 30-minute motivational session, then follow up with two one-hour focused skill-building sessions – one before lunch and another after. Then in the weeks that follow live training, you can follow up with weekly 30-minute online modules to reinforce key concepts. If you look for it, you will discover that there is an internal rhythm in your training curriculum that can tell you how long each component needs.

What Are the Optimum Ways to Teach Your Topics?

Some concepts can be taught best through interactive online lessons. Others come to life in live training sessions where trainees break into groups and simulate job experiences. Some learning comes alive with videos. For more complex leadership training, it sometimes works best to create teams of trainees and give them real work to do in your business over time.

Creating the right structure for your training curriculum is both an art and a science. An experienced training development company can be your best partner as you plan a curriculum that delivers your learning in just the right formats in the right doses, at the right time.

An Art and a Science . . .

There is no doubt that training design is both an art and a science. An experienced training development company can often save time, money and miscues by suggesting training solutions that have been proven to work.