Quality improvement professionals often must train staff in new processes or initiatives, but the effectiveness of those sessions can depend on the approach. A simple meeting with a PowerPoint presentation may not be the best way to get good results.

The best results will come when the participants feel involved with the effort and want to help reach the desired goal, says Camille Epps, MM, director of learning for Vizient in Irving, TX.

“You have to engage them. You can still use PowerPoint presentations, but they need to include images that resonate and not just bullet points,” she says. “You also need to incorporate activities, scenarios/storytelling, and group discussions to help participants better understand the concepts and the expected behaviors. Keeping the learner engaged is the key to effective training.”

Epps endorses the Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation (ADDIE) model, and says it helps ensure the efforts are relevant to what is needed.1 Vizient also has moved away from using the word “training” and emphasizes that these are “learning” events. Clear objectives help ensure the goal of the learning event is achieved.

“We also use ‘chunk learning,’ sometimes called microlearning, using adult learning principles, which show that they can only process information in short bursts. Another effective approach is to create YouTube-style videos and infographics to help emphasize the main points,” Epps says. “Lastly, you can design the training around a story. Start the training session by telling a story and tie training concepts together at the end of the learning event.”

Epps cautions against these common mistakes:

  • A data dump with too much information in one learning event. Learners will not retain all the information.
  • Vague content that does not flow together.
  • Not allowing time for questions or breaks.
  • Not allowing time for hands-on interaction, discussions, and activities.
  • Insufficient time to summarize what was presented.
  • Not discussing next steps.

Surveys help evaluate if the training session was effective. Send surveys immediately after the learning event. The suggested time frame for completing a survey is three days after the learning event, while the learning experience is still fresh on the learner’s mind.

“Another way to evaluate training is to use the Kirkpatrick four levels of learning evaluation method [reaction, learning, behavior, and results].2 Set the stage at the beginning of your learning event to ask what the learners’ expectations are so that you can adjust if needed or make plans to address expectations that are presented,” Epps says. “Set up a check-in/follow-up appointment with the participants a few weeks after the learning event. Use that time to analyze what learning has been applied or what may need to be reviewed at a later date.”


  1. InstructionalDesign.org. The ADDIE Model.
  2. Training Industry. The Kirkpatrick Model.


  • Camille Epps, MM, Director of Learning, Vizient, Irving, TX. Phone: (844) 825-5842.