Student engagement is one of the main focal points of our train the trainer methodology at Planet Speaking℠. Content that meets the needs of the learner will include valuable takeaways that help to increase retention of topics and strengthen instructor credibility. These morsels of information are what adds real value to the adult learner’s training experience.

Key takeaways can be reinforced through various instructional techniques that help us to remember certain topics. These can be repetition, mnemonics, summarizing, application, and many more. Ensuring students understand why certain topics are important will provide many key takeaways in the classroom. “Teaching to the why” is really hammered hard in my Train the Trainer sessions. It is so important in adult learning that it’s covered in a separate posting.

The Door Code Example

The “door code” example is a quick way of demonstrating key takeaways. If I simply told you that the code to access the office supply cabinet is 1519, I’d be expecting you to memorize or record that information. If I’m a citizen of Planet Speaking℠ and decide to TEACH you the code, I’d explain differently. I would teach that the office supply cabinet code represents O – the 15th and S – the 19th letters of the alphabet. Therefore, 1519 represents OS for office supplies. Need to create a new pin code? Use this method and the code can be recalled quite easily. This is a very satisfying experience for the learner because they can recognize an immediate application of the topic being presented.

Mnemonics and Rhyming

Mnemonics and rhyming are effective tools for memory when used properly. These can be tricky as they can quickly grow in length and get out of hand. The biggest thing to avoid here is making the training seem childish or corny. One or two of these learning devices is good but don’t go overboard. Our own Train the Trainer methodology at Planet Speaking℠ centers around our Three C’s of the Effective Training Instructor: Credibility, Content, Classroom. I will admit here that even our own mnemonic is borderline. The training world is littered with these and it can be confusing as to which C’s we’re even talking about. (Here’s where repetition comes into play) There are even some content providers with their own versions of three C’s. So why did I keep it? First, it’s hard not to appreciate a mnemonic that also has some alliteration. Second, I mainly use it to categorize topics to make things easy to navigate.

Teaching Beyond the Obvious

Key takeaways come after a topic is introduced and are used to fill in the gaps. Let’s look at an example of conducting safety training on ‘how to properly inspect rigging and lifting equipment’. Your average trainer might point out that The Crosby Group® has provided markings on their lifting equipment that can be measured to see if they’ve been misused or distorted and leave it at that. The Planet Speaking℠ effective instructor would go on to teach that the Quic-Check® markings are designed to measure at the inch or half inch mark. So, markings that measure 3 or 3.5 inches, depending on device, are in good condition, where measurements of 3.75 inches would be an indicator of distortion. This additional information is the real take away, the actual value, and is the point where you start to see student’s heads nodding in understanding. You can also see that Crosby® has some well thought out designs that should be highlighted by a good instructor.

Crosby Quic-Check


Building key takeaways into your instructional design will enhance the learning experience and give real value to the learner. Do it with intention. Put the takeaways right into the training material. Using takeaways effectively requires a thorough knowledge of the subject matter and can really increase instructor credibility. The students will be thinking, “this instructor really knows their stuff”.

Do you build key takeaways into your training lessons? Have you had instructors make good use of them? What are some of your favorite examples of good key takeaways in the learning environment. Use the comments below and share some highlights with us.


Posted by Josh

I've been a Technical Training Instructor for over a decade, teaching a wide variety of classes across the globe. I have a passion for creating and delivering high-quality training content in a way meant to fully engage the learner. "Planet Speaking" is our version of a Train the Trainer model based on our experiences as trainers and instructional designers.

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