Monthly Archives: August 2010

4MAT Train the Trainer: The balance between Watching and Doing

In the Mastering Training Design program, we explore the differences in how learners process information. When we “watch”, we make sense of new information through reflection. We ponder the meaning and listen to our inner voice. When we “do”, we make sense of new information through action. We take action and move out into the real world.  Some of us prefer to linger in watching and some of us prefer to move quickly to doing.

The trainer’s role is to guide the learner through this movement from inner reflection to outward action.  The 4MAT model outlines specific steps that address what the trainer does and what the learner does to create this movement.

Here’s a quick 4MAT video I created in response to questions our last group of trainers posed about how to address watching and doing in training design:

Training Design from an Experiential vs Thinking Place

Last week, I facilitated our Mastering Training Design course. In this 4MAT train the trainer workshop, one of the things we explore is the difference between sharing information from an experiential (feeling) place versus a thinking (intellectual) place.

By the second day of this course, participants are digging in and developing their own training designs using the 4Mat 8-step model. Before we work on the real-world course content that participants bring with them, we ask the trainers in our workshop to create a training design on one of two community awareness topic: “be physically active” or “quit smoking”. I am amazed at how quickly trainers can move into designing truly experiential learning. Designing experiential learning involves much more than adding activities. It is the art of eliciting and, sometimes creating, powerful personal experiences in the learner.

I discovered a video created by the Sussex Safer Roads Project on Nancy Duarte’s blog. The commercial is a powerful example of how an experience can be created in seconds. When I watched the video on my living room couch, my 6-year old asked “What’s wrong, Mommy?” You should know that I can be moved by a good dog food commercial. Emotional reaction is not uncommon in my living room. Even knowing this, I was surprised by the universal reaction of the trainers in the room. 

Before you watch the video, take a look at the slide presentation below that I found on This is a typical way that any trainer might approach this subject from a “thinking” place. Then, watch the video and experience what information sharing feels like from a experiential/feeling place. 

Sharing information from a “thinking” place:

Sharing information from a “feeling” place:

4MAT Train the Trainer: 3 Activities for Practice

In the 4MAT model for training design, there are four parts of the learning cycle that the trainer leads the learner through. In the third part, Practice, the trainer is focused on building learner skills that directly link to the desired business impact of the training course.  Let’s take a look at what is happening in this step:

4MAT model: practice

Source: McCarthy and O’Neill-Blackwell, Hold On, You Lost Me! Use Learning Styles to Create Training that Sticks, ASTD Press, p 25.

In Practice, the trainer invites the learner to move into application of the information presented in Share. The learner is doing and the trainer is observing and coaching. Activities that encourage the learner to apply, adapt, practice and/or problem-solve work in this part of the learning cycle.

Here are some examples of activities that fit well in Practice:

  1. Craft a Story vs Report a Story
    Objective: Reprocessing activity which requires learners to develop a story around the information being shared. Learners are divided into two reporting groups: creative story-telling and “just the facts” reporting.
  2. At Your Finger Tips Resource Guide
    Objective: Participants will build a personal, reference guide of the content using index cards and a ring binder.
  3. The Law of Three
    Objective: Action planning activity which encourages learners to identify 3 key learning focuses and plan specific actions around these ideas.

Download the facilitator guide with complete instructions: