Four steps for teaching a skill more effectively

Four steps for teaching a skill more effectively

How do you keep people engaged for a full day of training? Especially with a highly technical subject such as lean Six Sigma? Do you meet with problems when the training is done in your company?

We often experience that the training is not effective.

Edge model is presenting four steps for teaching.

Four steps for teaching a skill more effectively


 Explain what is your topic and why. The why is important because it provides people to understand the context around a particular concept. Tell them all the steps involved. For this step is helpful the usage of visual aids. Use questions to gauge their understanding.

Example: Edge model used with process mapping. For each company is good to have mapped all the processes inside it. The process map is fundamental in achieving consistency and repeartable results in business. From the experience, the most effective explainations incorporate stories, and the most effective stories are personal. E.g. during the stay in the emergency room there were found several process breakdowns and noted them on a process map. Then this map was used for communication with hospital executives.


Demonstrate the steps using an example or actual materials. Describe what you are doing. Go at a slow speed so each step in the process is clearly demonstrated and understood.

Example: Demonstrate how to build a simple process map by walking everyone through the step-by-step process. For this demonstration is powerful to use the animation feature for example in PowerPoint.


Guide learners as they go through the excercise for the first time. Provide the materials and tools needed to complete the excercise. A learner must do a new activity at least twice. That’s how real learning takes place and is effective. Repetition is essential therefore let them practice the skills.

Example: Start learning by doing. The exercise contains a short narrative and objectives to build a current-state map. A time limit is provided with expectations for a read-out. Each team is given Post-Its, markers and flip charts to complete the excercise. Learning during this stage is discovery driven. Ideas are shared and knowledge transfer occurs.

For the learners is very helpful if you as the trainer answer questions and offer guidance and direction when you see that the teams are stuck. Your role is to be a coach and mentor.


Enable learners by letting them perform the skill themselves without intervention. Evaluate the effort. Encourage the learners to keep trying until they master the skill. Recognize and celebrate success. Only then have you enabled learners to go off on their own and use that skill.

Example: After 20 minutes (the time is up to you according to the training subject), ask for volunteers to give a read-out. The presenter must feel empowered without any intervention. Facilitate the discussion by asking questions and encouraging other teams for their perspective. At the end of each read-out, recognize each team’s efforts with a round of applause. Taking the time to recognize a team and celebrate it in a public way more effectively communicates your goal than any other method.

The edge model can be used for any training subject. If you add this model into your training practice, this can give you an edge and ensure learning really takes place.


Author: Jana Loskotova