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Trainers who spend too much of their allotted teaching time on the first part of a lesson and then have to whip through all the other parts of it at breakneck speed are not uncommon (our inspectors keep coming across them and they are a regular complaint in the learner feedback we routinely analyse for clients) but they should be.

Sometimes this happens because the trainer is having a bad day (we all do now and then) or the class is unruly or disrupted by some outside event, so it’s important to look at their overall record before jumping to conclusions about them. Sometimes it’s because the organisation the trainer works for is not taking its responsibilities ,to give its trainers time to plan and prepare, to develop them, to run internal quality assurance, to give learners a great training experience, to induct trainers properly before throwing them in at the deep end, seriously enough. Sometimes it’s a problem with the design of the course which might have been put together by people who don’t teach (more common than you would expect – especially where compulsory training is concerned). Sometimes the trainer is at fault for not planning the lesson, not being ready to start, not engaging their learners, not concentrating or, in very rare cases, not caring whether the course goes well or not. And sometimes it’s a mix of these things.

Getting the pace of a training course right is essential to achieving good learning outcomes. The right pace means learners new to the subject and learners more familiar with it are equally engaged, and it means there is time to let learners learn from each other.

It might seem an obvious requirement but because steadying the pace is a function of both organisational capability and trainer professionalism, it is also a litmus test of how well a training organisation is run.