Improving Our Delivery: Training from the Back of the Room


BY: THE CENTER’S EXPERTSDepositphotos_142852939_L.jpg

The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center’s (The Center) team of experts are dedicated to partnering with our clients to train, consult and find the right solutions to help them succeed. After all, our success is your success. To do so, we are always evaluating ways we can evolve and improve.
As new generations enter the workforce, we must adapt how we deliver our training services to manufacturers. It is essential that our courses remain engaging and informative for participants to want to take what they’ve learned and apply it in their organization.
Recently, several of our instructors were certified in a new training program called Training from the Back of the Room. It focuses on building courses focused on how people learn and absorb information rather than through traditional lecture.
“As we notice a younger and less experienced workforce, engagement is of utmost importance,” said Charlie Westra, Director of Manufacturing Services at The Center. “Lecturing on its own does not aid in creating a lasting experience for our participants. The more we can get our students involved in the learning process, the more impact there will be on learning, retention and putting the class material to use in their workplace.”
The program uses the 4Cs to build an effective course.
  • Connections. Building a connection to your audience will engage them from the beginning and allow them to feel comfortable to participate.
  • Concepts. Focus on the concepts you want the audience to grasp and understand by the end of the course.
  • Concrete Examples. Identify how you will teach the concepts utilizing concrete examples that the participants are already aware of and can relate to.
  • Conclusion. Ask the participants to summarize what they have learned and how they plan to utilize their new knowledge in their workplace to improve their job/organization.
“For me, this program helped provide a framework for developing training courses, gave us tools to make our training more effective for the learners and less about the instructors, and provided a common language for those involved in training development and delivery,” said Andy Nichols, Quality Program Manager at The Center.
When building a course around these 4Cs, we are allowing the students to take the lead. They can learn by doing exercises that use concrete examples to help them fully understand the concepts. This will keep them engaged rather than sitting and listening to an instructor go through a lengthy PowerPoint presentation.
Anthony Welsh, Six Sigma Master Black Belt, said, “I thought the class was extremely helpful in learning how to design an instructional session that is memorable and engaging. The students will benefit by experiencing a training session that is noticeably different than the typical lecture.”
Over the course of five weeks, this training taught us to take a step back and thoroughly evaluate the way we create and teach courses. The program's key principles focused on designing course instruction from a student perspective. How do they want to learn? What approach allows for the best information retention? Successful instructors need to connect with participants and meet them where they’re at to effectively deliver course curriculum.
Shaun Leahey, Quality Program Manager, said, “The program was a beneficial experience for our team as trainers but more importantly for our students. By using brain science and how adults learn, we can take our training to a new level and create an environment that appeals to how our clients learn and increase our effectiveness. Not only will the content and material be delivered in an engaging way, but it adds elements of fun and interesting activities to keep our courses from feeling like you’re listening to a lecture.”  
With this new certification in our pockets, we hope that our students will walk away from our courses with a renewed excitement for their job. We are excited to be revitalizing some of our courses to improve learning for our students. Our goal is always for students to apply their newly acquired knowledge within their organization. Come train with our industry experts by registering for an upcoming course here.
Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at


Categories: Continuous Improvement, Leadership/Culture, Manufacturing, The Center