Training small groups - The Role Of The Trainer

The role of the workplace trainer has changed in recent times with the gradual swing from trainer-centred instruction to a learner-centred approach where individuals are more responsible for their own learning.

A workplace trainer may take on many different roles depending on the needs of individuals.


 A coach assists others, usually less experienced, in acquiring new or additional skills and improving their performance. Coaching is used with learners who need directions and supervision because they may be inexperienced in some areas.

Coaching also provides support and praise to build self esteem and involvement in decision making. Effective coaching also enables the experienced learner to increase his/her commitment to doing a good job.


A mentor is someone of relatively high status within an organisation who, by mutual consent with another individual, performs the role of career guide and role model by championing, steering, supporting, advising, tutoring and acting as a confidant. Mentoring provides a broader, less specific, perspective that gives the learner the opportunity to:

* Form a developmental relationship.

* Learn the organisational or company operations.

* Learn about the culture of the organisation.

* Be guided in their professional and career development.

Mentoring may be an informal process where individuals decide themselves who they are paired with. On the other hand, it may be quite a formally structured program that people know about and can easily access.


The role of the trainer as a learning facilitator is vital as the learning situation becomes a highly participatory one between learner and trainer.

The facilitator becomes the learner's partner in the learning process and provides a learning environment in the most effective and helpful way.

The facilitator will assist learners to become self-directing in their learning and provide support and encouragement as it is needed.

For all three roles there are five steps to implement effective learning:

* Determine the need

* Explain

* Demonstrate

* Practice

* Feedback

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