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How to Create Engaging Training with the 4Cs

We use Brain-Friendly Training techniques to create engaging training courses. We have picked up many of these techniques from studying Sharon Bowman’s Training from the BACK of the Room! book and also delivering the TBR Practitioner Course. So what can you do to create engaging training courses?

Engage Your Learners with The 4Cs

Training from the BACK of the Room! uses an instructional design model which Sharon Bowman calls “The 4Cs” to help us build engaging learning experiences. The 4Cs are:

C1 – Connections
C2 – Concepts
C3 – Concrete Practice
C4 – Conclusions

When we create a course, we ensure that we break down each module of our training into these 4 components. This way, we build engaging courses for our learners.

C1 – Connections

Create engaging training with C1 - ConnectionsA C1 – Connection activity is used to connect learners to each other and learners to the topic. These C1 – Connection activities immerse learners in a psychologically safe way. It is worth mentioning that this is a key part of a C1 – Connection activity, however we should be clear that we also use the C1 – Connection to “warm the brain up” for the new knowledge that is to come. Research indicates that it is vital that we do this to aid learning and retention. We use engaging learning activities for instance a Fast Pass, Quick Start, or a Pair Share here framed with questions that get learners thinking about the topic.

C2 – Concepts

Create engaging training with C2-ConceptsNow that we have got everyone ready, we introduce new knowledge to them with C2 – Concepts activities. A C2 – Concept activity typically delivers small chunks of new information and is interspersed with moments of active review. We keep the lecturing to a minimum, so we engage our learners along the way. We can immerse our class with tools and activities such as Graphic Organisers, Concept Centres, or a Quick Write.

C3 – Concrete Practice

Create engaging training with C3 - Concrete PracticeScientists say that recall of new knowledge is vital for learning and retention. C3 – Concrete Practice activities are engaging learning activities which promote learning and retention. As trainers and teachers, we can also use C3 – Concrete Practice activities to help us understand whether our learners have “got it”. Did we deliver the message we set out to deliver? If not, we get an opportunity to fix it there and then. Examples of tools we can use to engage our learners include Ball Toss, Teach Back or a Gallery Walk.

C4 – Conclusions

Create engaging training with C4 - ConclusionsThe final part of the 4Cs is the C4 – Conclusion. During a C4 – Conclusion activity, we engage learners with opportunities to summarise, evaluate and celebrate their new knowledge. This allows our students time to reflect on what they have learned, decide what is most important to them about it, figure out what they will do with the new knowledge and celebrate. Commonly we use activities like Ticket Out, Letter to my Future Self or a Learning Log.

Create Engaging Training

If you want to create an engaging training experience for your participants, it is not as hard as you think. Apply these tried and tested brain-friendly techniques and you can’t go far wrong. Sharon Bowman‘s 6 Trumps add further brain-friendly punch. Also, remember to avoid Anti-Patterns of Training.


If you would like to learn more, consider attending one of our Training from the BACK of the Room Practitioner Courses.

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