What are the 7 principles of training?

As a trainer, your role is to maximise learning. Delivering a course can be hard work. It requires preparation and careful planning. You need to spend valuable time during the delivery as well as before the course. Having gone through all the effort, if your delegates don’t learn anything new or forget most of the lessons taught shortly afterwards, you might as well not bother with the training.

To deliver a useful training course, you must consider the seven most important principles of learning. Without keeping these critical principles in mind, you risk delivering a poor course, alienating your delegates from the training subject and wasting your own time in the process.

The 7 principles are as follows:

Principle 1: Attention span is limited

People’s attention span is limited. With so much going on in the world and the ever-increasing number of “stuff” to pay attention to, patience is running thin.

Research shows that people become increasingly more interested in a topic within the first 10 minutes of being introduced to it. However, after 10 minutes their attention drops sharply. Within 30 minutes you will be struggling to hold much attention.

What does this mean for your training? Get to the point quickly when you introduce a subject. Next, move on to a related topic swiftly to keep them engaged and keep them following you along.

To keep their attention, you cannot risk delivering a passive course. You must use frequent training exercises and discussions that increase participation.

Principle 2: Learning requires motivation

Recall from your past experiences that if you were not interested in a topic, how easy or difficult you found the topic. It is most likely that you found it hard when you were not interested.

Similarly, unmotivated leaners don’t learn. People lose interest when they don’t know why they need to learn something. This is crucial when teaching adults. We cannot stress this enough. If delegates don’t know what you are trying to get at, their attention wanders off. Soon they will be on their mobile phones shopping for shoes or checking their social media feeds.

Make your content engaging. Always follow this proven technique when teaching someone on any topic:

Tell them what you are going to tell them

Tell them

Tell them what you just told them

Let’s call this TTT. As it happens, it sounds very much like Train the Trainer (also known as TTT). There you go—you should never forget this now; apply TTT every time you Teach. It’s T’s all around…

Principle 3: The learning curve is not flat

People don’t learn about a given subject at a constant speed. There is always a learning curve involved while learning anything. As learning continues, people’s progress starts to slow down as they reach a plateau. Learners need to become confident about what they have learned and relate this to everything else they know, which is why they reach a learning plateau. After spending some time in the plateau, learners can follow a second learning curve and move on to more complex topics.

As a trainer, you must be aware of learning curves and how individual they are. Some people might be quicker to learn but require more time to reach the plateau. Others might learn slowly, but once they “get it”, progress rapidly. When running a training course, awareness of the learning curves is crucial since a training course is, by definition, more interactive than a lecture and hence tailored to an individual’s skills, knowledge and learning capability.

In practice, this means that the course should contain a lot of hands-on exercises to allow delegates progress on their own while being supervised and coached by you, the trainer. Periodic discussions and question/answer sessions will help learners reach their learning plateaus and get ready for the next phase of learning.

Principle 4: Short term memory is limited, long term memory is limitless

Over the years there has been a great deal of research on human memory. It is now well established that human memory works based on two related systems:

So, here is when it gets interesting. Recall that learning is defined as change in long-term memory. The path to long-term memory is through short-term memory. Now as you have seen, short-term memory seems to be very fussy—limited and fast decaying.

To strengthen holding items in memory, you have two powerful techniques at your disposal:

So, how does this apply to training?

When it comes to long-term learning, the transition from short-term memory to long-term memory is critical:

This principle also suggests why we cannot learn too much too quickly. Trainers who fill a course or lecture with tons of content thinking that they are delivering a comprehensive up-to-date course are making a big mistake. Learners cannot take it all in as their short-term memory gets saturated and your effort will be wasted.

If you want to impress them or make them aware of some content, much like a presentation, this approach is fine, but don’t expect long-term learning. That only comes with rehearsal and practice. And as you might have heard, mastery comes with 10,000 hours of rehearsal, in the form of deliberate practice (Ericsson et al. 1993). You cannot cheat your own brain, nor those of your students!

Principle 5: People have different learning styles

People learn differently. There are many learning styles systems, such as Kolb’s Learning Style Inventory, Fleming’s VAK, Honey-Mumford Model, Gregorc Model, 4MAT, Howard Gardner’s Theory of Mind and many others. In addition, you also have numerous personality type systems categorising humans into various types—a famous one being MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator).

The essence of all these models is to make you aware that you cannot treat everyone the same. For example, in the VAK model, people generally have one of the following preferences:

A good trainer should consider a variety of tools and methods to match a variety of learning styles. Accommodating all methods might not always be possible but it is possible to simulate conditions to cater for certain preferences by carefully planning and designing training materials and interactive exercises that meet each style’s needs.

Principle 6: Feedback is an essential part of training

Learning can be difficult and tiring. To keep learners motivated, a trainer must provide adequate and relevant feedback. However, not all feedbacks are good. When giving feedback, consider the following:

Trainers must always be aware of the incredible power of positive feedback in encouraging learners to challenge themselves and push forward until they learn new concepts or techniques. A trainer’s role here can be critical since without feedback, learners would not know if they are doing well or which direction they should go next. Lack of adequate and specific feedback can considerably slow down the learning process and goes against the principles of accelerated learning.

Remember, 60% of factual information will be forgotten within 2 days if what was learned is not reviewed or rehearsed. Periodic review is much like a self-feedback. It is critical that leaners know about the potential memory loss. Properly designed training must consider this and provide course follow-up and action plans to reinforce learning and prevent learners from forgetting the content quickly.

Principle 7: Take advantage of all senses

Humans have five main senses. The primary ones for visual, sound and touch. Rather than appealing only to one of them such as sound, training can be greatly improved if all senses are engaged. This requires careful planning, use of quality training materials and introduction of interactive exercises that encourage use of other senses such as touch.


To summarise, to deliver a good course considering the following:

Following these powerful guidelines allows you to provide fantastic courses that are well remembered for years to come. The training will prove to be a good expenditure of both your time and the learner’s time and of course, if your training is good, people will keep coming back for more.

Ponder over the above guidelines and score yourself from 1 to 5 on how much you use each or are aware of it while teaching. If you are not happy with your score, find out what you can do to improve your training delivery and take immediate actions.

Remember the last guideline above on measurement; if you want to improve your own training performance, you got to measure it—then you know what to do to improve it.

Source: SkillsConverged

The 10 wrong beliefs of training and how to learn from them

Many people are working hard to become an expert in something. Spending time on any topic will turn a person into an expert in that subject just by sheer accumulation of knowledge. Sooner or later, some of such experts would find themselves in a position of training others to learn their techniques.

The problem is that most experts would simply assume they know how to train others. Their main focus is on being a “content expert” as opposed to being a capable trainer. What keeps these trainers up at night is the worry of not having all the answers. What if they want to explain something and they suddenly forget what they wanted to say? What if they look like a fool? What if people are not convinced that they are indeed an expert on the topic?

Few of them worry about appearing as a poor trainer or not knowing how to teach. For sure you already met many experts who want to help and pass on their valuable knowledge, but don’t do an efficient job of training others.

In order to become a good trainer, you can follow a number of fundamental principles. Learning them is not hard. The difficulty is to remember and adhere to these principles while teaching.

A good way to learn these principles is to learn from bad examples. Rather than going through a to-do list, we like to highlight what leads to poor training. This way, it is easier to spot the behaviour and catch yourself in the act. You can immediately become conscious of it the moment you spot it and take steps to correct your behaviour.

Wrong Belief 1: Assuming people get the idea the first time you explain it

Experts know the content well. A programmer has been programming for years. A Photoshop artist knows how to manipulate layers. A customer service expert knows how to handle difficult customers while still appearing supporting and positive. The problem here is they know the content so well they think it’s obvious. To a new learner, it is not. What happens then is that when it comes to training, they teach a given topic once and expect everyone to have understood and learnt it. They have forgotten how much they had to spend time mastering the skills themselves.

You must be gentle and patient with new learners and don’t assume they will get it straight away. Just assume that they won’t learn enough the first time you explain so that you don’t have any unrealistic assumptions.

Wrong Belief 2: Assuming everyone learns the same way

Experts are learners themselves. Everyone learns in a certain way. They may like to understand exactly what steps are required or talk it through with others. When it comes to teaching, most people think that the best way for their delegates to learn is the way they have learned themselves. You can imagine why this can be a problem. It takes the focus of the trainer away from the learner and instead encourages use of ineffective training methods.

Don’t teach the way you have learned. Understand how your delegates learn and match your teaching to it. Someone might learn by doing, someone might want to be told exactly what to do. You must understand these biases and respond to them accordingly. Considering that you are likely to find several learning styles in any given class, you must therefore have a variety of teaching methods to accommodate your delegates.

Wrong Belief 3: Treating all topics equally

Some experts believe that if they have three topics to teach in one hour, they should allocate 20 minutes to each topic. Wrong, very wrong! You must define how much time you spend on a topic, first, by how important it is, and second, by how long it takes to learn. All topics are not equal.

First think why you need to teach something and what your learners need. This tells you how valuable that topic really is. Next, ask yourself how difficult it is to teach or learn. Decide how much time you allocate based on these two important parameters.

Wrong Belief 4: Spending too much time on process

People who are new to training often try hard to get the training right. That is good intention and admirable. This means that they could spend too much time on process. They spend a good part of the training course telling you about health and safety, when you will have tea/coffee/lunch, how the Wi-Fi used to be easier to connect to before and now is a bit trickier, how you can login to the system to use the shared printer in the office next door when there is absolutely no need for it in this course and so on. This waste of time can put a big dent into the credibility of the trainer and subsequently make training much more difficult due to resistance of the delegates.

First, make sure people want to learn from you and are committed to your training before you tell them about process. If they are not convinced of your expertise or your ability to teach, why should they bother to know how this or that works.

Wrong Belief 5: Saying you don't know how to explain

An expert explains a topic and a learner doesn’t understand. The expert explains it again and the learner still doesn’t get it. In despair, the expert declares, “Oh, I just don’t know how to explain this…” This is a disaster. Upon hearing this, the learner thinks that, if the trainer is struggling to explain this, surely, it must be a tough topic and well out of reach! An expression such as this by an expert means only one thing: “I am frustrated and frankly cannot be bothered to put any more effort in teaching you; I have ran out of ideas to get the point across.” You can imagine why this is a bad idea.

If you find some topics difficult to explain, you don’t have to tell that to your delegates. Instead, focus on understanding your learner’s learning style, finding a different way to teach or consulting a colleague who might have fresh ideas. Never put your hands up and declare you are defeated by the teaching task!

Wrong Belief 6: Passive teaching

Experts, on the way to become expert, end up giving talks, presentations or short informative lectures. When they find themselves in the position of teaching a training course, they simply carry on with the same technique. In a training setting, most often the tools are similar; they would us a laptop, projector, whiteboard, tablet, etc. They therefore assume what they did before would work here and fall back to a one-sided information exchange. This is terrible for teaching. Passive lecturing is not teaching; it is informing people of a concept and hoping they go and learn it on their own. A training course where skills transfer takes place is very different.

If you want people to learn something, you must make them think. There is no other way. Adults learn by assimilating current knowledge and associating it with existing knowledge. With a passive teaching you don’t trigger this assimilation and self-learning. No one would remember your course, so don’t waste your time.

Wrong Belief 7: Repeatedly explaining what you know best

Experts often talk more about topics they like and know more about than others. Instead of thinking what’s important to learners, they can easily get carried away with exciting topics they cannot get enough of and keep focusing on talking about those. Other times, they find teaching a particular topic easier than other topics. Again, they keep spending way too much time to teach these while ignoring other potentially more important topics.

Know your priorities. Do not follow a training path just because it is easy for you or because it is your favourite. Think what your learners need at any given point in their development, and work hard to make them progress forward.

Wrong Belief 8: Testing learners before they get a chance to practice

Some experts are eager to see their learners succeed. That is noble, but some do so at the expense of the learner. They teach a topic and before the leaner had a chance to absorb or practice the skill, they question and test the poor learner. They think, by putting pressure, appearing tough and expecting a lot, they make the delegate pay more attention and learn quicker. The opposite is much more likely. The expectation placed on learners simply puts them off learning.

Before testing or challenging your learners make sure you have given them ample time and chance to practice.

Wrong Belief 9: Not sharing everything you know because of ego

Some experts view their new learners as their potential future competitors. That’s backward thinking. If you like your topic, know enough, and like to teach, then don’t hold back. Your delegates will find out what you left out sooner than you think—especially in this information rich era. Gone are the days where you could hoard information, keep it in the family, like blacksmiths, for generations. Now, everyone on the planet has access to most information. Don’t let your ego get in the way of your teaching.

Give freely and enthusiastically. This is much more rewarding to you morally and psychologically than the value of holding back any information for however long you can.

Wrong Belief 10: Punishing learners for wrong answers

Some experts have an image in their head that in order to be a good trainer, they must be tough. They must appear dismissive and hard to please. The problem with this is that learners get trained that there is no hope, that they will never succeed or get anything right. Naturally, they pay less attention, avoid the topic and the expert or even the whole field.

Adults don’t put up with misery for long; punishing them and making life tough is a sure way to put them off of you and potentially the field. Your career as a teacher will be short lived for sure. Instead, focus on rewarding your learners for giving the right answers and make them excited to learn more. If delegates didn’t get it right, find something they can get right and reward them for it. Then, build up from this happy base.

What are the differences between training and teaching?

“Training” and “teaching” are two different instruments of learning and we have to make a distinction between them in order to know how to use them correctly in our personal and professional development. The distinction is necessary especially for the specialists involved in people development in order to be efficient in their role.

Teaching is more theoretical and abstract, while training is more hands-on and practical. Teaching seeks to impart knowledge and provide information, while training is intended to develop abilities.

For example, suppose you want to teach someone how to paint a house. You can explain how paints works, you can showcase several finished work that you have done in the past, you can showcase masterpieces, you can even demonstrate painting right in front of delegates.

How much can you achieve only with these kinds of techniques?

You can raise learners’ awareness, introduce various techniques or make them interested in the skills. However, unless they pick up a brush and paint something they will not know how it feels to paint or what they are supposed to do when they hold it in their hands. How much pressure does it take, what angle to use, what kinds of issues to expect or how would drawing on a canvas feel? If they don’t go through the experience themselves they are very likely to forget all about it shortly after the course.

It’s the same with management skills, sales skills or any other soft skills. People must experience the skills, preferably several times, before they can learnsomething new.

Teach: to provide knowledge, instruction or information

Train: to develop abilities through practice with instruction or supervision

Training is about learning a new skill. It is not about awareness or getting exposed to a new field. That is the aim of a teaching.

It also aims to teach delegates new skills there and then. In a training course, you cannot rely on training people once they have left the course. That would be self-learning; not an interactive, instructor-led training course.

Training should be viewed by employers as a management tool. A strong training program helps employees understand not just what to do, but also how and why to do it. The best trainers know how to bring in pre-learning materials and useful follow-up processes and to bridge the gaps between past learning and future development programs.

Both teaching and training are important parts of long-term employee development that can be used independently or together to improve employee performance.

The secret of a successful career: aim high and stay focused

Many people think that becoming a performance sport World Cup winner, a Hollywood actor,  an American National TV star, a musician, an entertainer and athletic trainer are incommensurate all together with the lifespan of a human being. Howard proved the aforementioned statement to be false. Yes, it's possible to perform all of the above when you are truly dedicated to your dreams and you chose to have yourself as the main competitor.

Born to an Irish mother and a Jamaican - originated history teacher father, Howard Dell grew up in Toronto, Canada, his childhood being marked by the enforcing period of the ineffective bill of rights enacted in August 1960. In the same period, when his father obtained the right to vote, when Howard was about 6, discrimination was still a large scale phenomenon in Canada and consequently, racial segregation was a day by day reality.

Howard transformed this situation into the inner reason for his ambition to succeed in life.

When he was 10, Howard conceived a lifelong goals list: to participate in an Olympics Game, to be a professional football and basketball player, to be a Hollywood actor and a recipient of one Oscar and one Grammy Awards. Today 3 quarters of the list above were accomplished, even though tragedy stroked him several times, he always knew how to change, efficiently and graciously, his lifestyle and his actions in order to transform bad luck in opportunity.

The first trial of destiny came when, as a young talented basketball player he irreversibly injured both knees in an accident during training. After 2 long years of physiotherapy, Howard decided to become an athlete and to do decathlon competitions. In parallel, by using his sprinting abilities, he started training in bobsledding. Howard told me that after only two months of training, he was awarded the bronze medal at the bobsled World Championships in the Soviet Union. He also participated in 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. In parallel he also spanned several US and Canada football teams.

His acting career began in 1991 as a guest star in the TV show "A different world", where the other guest star was Halle Berry. He subsequently obtained different roles in Hollywood movies. Among these he held a 4 years contract for " The Young and The Restless", the TV series that broke all longevity records.

His life changed again when a call from his doctor announced him a terrible news: he was suffering from a 1/10.000.000 rare liver combined diseases that would have left him with 3-6 months to live. His best choice was to fight for survival through various experimental treatments in the process of waiting his turn in an implacably long waiting list for a liver transplant. After 2 years and 9 months of struggle he thought his time to conclude this life had come, when he collapsed in front of the hospital. Miraculously he regained his conscientiousness after 20 days to find out that  he was in possession of a new liver. The next 2 months brought much sufferance and misery through the accommodation process with his new organ, but he raised again and motivated himself to participate as an athlete  in the Transplant Games Competition and to be awarded the gold medal at only 6 months after the transplant.

Today, Howard spends a considerable amount of time time in Bucharest where he first came to visit  in 2002, after meeting Raluca Sandu, by then a Romanian professional tennis player. His experience in training world class professional athletes helps him today to assist the Romanian coaches as a professional personal trainer.

He is also a consultant on the development of EECP and ECP clinics, specialist in Cardiac Care and treatment of heart disease related illnesses.

Inspired by Martin Luther King's quote: “Now is the time to make real the promises of your potential”, Howard is the living proof that anything can be done by focusing your energy in your dreams and goals.

The lesson is that each of us should clearly define high goals and keeping up with them. His story reveals that life is made by ups and downs but one should not dispair and should never give up.

When passion for collecting becomes a lifetime career

When I met Victor Bota for the first time in a personal branding training in Bucharest, he told me that he is a driver. I was thinking "I wonder what is his project". What I found out that day opened a new world for me, one that I had no idea exists in the middle of Bucharest .

Victor is the most polite man I met in my life and he is a living encyclopedia. He speaks very little about himself, so I know only that he married the most beautiful girl in the world and he has a son who is now part of Victor's team.

Victor's life changed almost 15 years ago when the owner of the company where he was working as a transport coordinator introduced Victor to his passion of collecting. This passion started with tree wine corkscrews and became the biggest collection of corkscrews in the world, according to Guinness Book of Records.

We are talking about almost 30.000 pieces of corkscrews.  Corkscrews that Victor and his team bought from all over the world from fairs and auctions, documented them, photographed, labeled and displayed them for visitors. Some of these corkscrewss are pieces of art, they are telling the stories of places and owners and Victor knows all the stories. The most expensive corkscrew that was sold in a public auction is a part of the collection. It was made from a piece of metal that was extracted from London Bridge which was build in 1176 and demolished in 1831 and it has the price of a luxury car or 10.000 bottles of wine.

The collecting  didn't stop with corkscrews. I am proud to say that I was participating in the official counting for Guinness Book Certification of more than 35.000 pressing irons. It took more than 8 hours to count all this irons together with Victor's team, but it was a lesson of history, geography and art that I would repeat anytime. And it was fun, because in Victor's team there are young people, some of them still study for master degree or Phd, some of them just finished university.

And it didn't stop with pressing irons either, it continued with trivets, another collection certified by Guinness Book of Records as the biggest collection in the world.

But enough about the collections, Victor and his team of experts know many interesting stories about each collection and each particular piece and if you are interested, you can make a reservation on the website of the Museum of Romanian Records  . You can see the history of the world and the evolution of humankind in this collections, but you need to dedicate time and patience to this visit, because we are talking about 80.000 pieces of collection, some of them unique in the world.

Victor is now GM of the Museum of Romanian Records, but he couldn't build and manage this museum without his team that now counts 30 people. Alone, he couldn't travel for almost 500.000 km to visit fairs, expositions, to participate in auctions and meetings with collectors. All this pieces needs to be restored, photographed, labeled by experts.

Victor looks around with pride. It was not easy to build this museum, sometimes he had to give up on meetings with friends when he had to travel or to spend long hours to find solutions to different challenges, but he was working side by side with the owner who transferred him his passion and he loves the team, so he is happy to be a part in this amazing project.

Victor and his team are planning to fulfill the vision of the owner: new records, new documentaries and books about the collections, congresses with the collectors from all over the world, artistic and cultural events, and to become a Center of Excellence for Romanian Top Values.

Victor was right. He is a driver, but he is not driving a car. He is driving his team to success and for them, success is to manage the biggest museum of records in Romania.

Alina Bota

Gabriela Tichelea - "There is life after sport"

Gabriela was born in the south of Romania, in Tg. Jiu, 30 years ago. She touched the handball ball for the first time at the age of 8 and she loved it so much that she decided to make from handball a way of life. All her life choices have been influenced by the sport activity. She played for many sports clubs in Romania and abroad and she was a member of the Romanian National Handball Team.

Like any person who decide to dedicate her whole life to sport, Gabriela had glorious moments, happy times, but also very hard moments. There were long days of hard work, periods of disappointment or of excruciating pain. By 25 years old, after 5 knee surgeries, Gabriela began to have terrible back pains. After many doctors’ consults, she has been told that it’s time to retire because the risk of a paralysis was really high.

There is a study that says that only 3% of high performance athletes are accomplishes after ending their sports career. About 15% make it to the top. She wasn’t in any of those categories. She just loved the sport and dedicated all her energy and passion  to it.

In the wake of her premature career end she was left with making choices that put her in an unfamiliar territory, ultimately looking to find a new purpose in life, in or out of sports.
Without any kind of support, just thinking that all that she know is to play handball, Gabriela tried to find her way for 2 years.

Realizing that pain and confusion was brought upon her life with a purpose, she understood that this is a transition all professional athletes must pass through it and she began to conceive a better way for athletes to make the transition from an active life to the end at their careers.

Now, Gabriela owns a sport agency and she uses all her skills and experience to help former professional athletes to get a new successful start in life after a long career in sports through coaching and workshops.

She also supports professional athletes through their career paths ensuring they reach their personal goals through contract negotiation to see them continually moving forward in their professional development.

Gabriela is a winner in the game of life, as she was a winner in handball. She raised from her pain and now she is helping other athletes to prepare for life after sport.

Alina Bota

Personal Branding Consultant


Approach change as an adventure into a "favorable unknown"

I am Medeea, I am ten years old, I am born in Romania, I have lived three and a half years in Israel and right now I am living in Belgium.

From my point of view, changing the country you live in is funny, but also a little bit sad.

If I had changed the country I lived in later in my life, I guess that it would have been harder for me to adapt. However, each human being has its own personal capabilities to adapt and there are no two persons totally alike.

It is really funny to change your country if you are not racist. You must accept the differences, and these differences should not build obstacles for you.

Curiosity helps any person willing to travel; it will help him to learn the language spoken by the people who inhabit the country where he is moving in and it will help him not being surprised by their particular customs.

Not being racist helps to make new good friends and to learn things that will help you through your entire life. For example, I have learned that "home" is not a precise place, but it is there where persons that you love are, and they are called FAMILY.

Accepting the differences helps you to have trustful friends and it also helps you to not being taken by surprise by changes in your life or in somebody else's behaviour.

It is also sad to change your country because you leave behind the good friends that you have made before your departure.

Here are my recommendations for those who want to move to another country:

-When you change your country, it is advised that you speak at least a little bit of English, so that you can communicate with people from that country.

-Respect the customs of the country you are moving in.

-Approach change as an adventure into a "favorable unknown".

-Be smiling, tolerant, polite and friendly to the others.

-Have clothes adapted to the climate.


If you have kids and you plan to move to another country, please leave your questions in the comments of this article and I will answer when I have time.

Medeea Martinusi

P.S. While in Israel, I have learned and sung one of my favorite songs.