Guest blog: the best methods for training staff – from the conventional to the unconventional

A mix of training techniques, from the traditional to the active, is the most effective way to teach therapists the skills they need, explains Laura Steventon, beauty therapist and country manager for derma-cosmeceutical brand Nimue Skin Technology.

In my experience, I’ve found that most therapists are kinaesthetic learners, meaning they prefer a more action-based and tactile type of learning. Conventional training generally teaches from a manual a PowerPoint presentation, but this way staff can only concentrate and remember very few points. 

The best way to train kinaesthetic learners is by combining the teaching with an activity, such as building a model. For example, toy maker Lego make a cross-section of the skin and in order to learn skin layers and appendages, you could ask therapists to build it themselves. If you don’t want to invest in Lego, then you could also do this activity with felt cut-outs and layer them up.

Another way is to make up rhymes and mnemonics that they’ll remember, such as for the layers of the skin. For example, Bad Santa Glugs Lots (of) Champagnebasale, spinosum, granulosum, lucidum and corneum. Another great tool is flashcards. When using them, turn it into a game that therapists can play, think along the lines of the board game Guess Who.

Any information that can be expressed as a diagram or flow chart that looks like an action will also be easily memorable. Interestingly, kinaesthetic learners learn best while moving around, so introduce some excellent ice breaker activities such as throwing a ball of string to learn about each another that you can adapt to what you’re trying to teach staff.

The more action-orientated the teaching the easier it is to learn, so practical education to deliver theory will be a winner with therapists. Another great method is role play. I know so many therapists who tell me they hate role play but it’s a great way of teaching that works effectively to help people feel more confident in communicating and choosing the correct words.

Again, it’s action orientated, so helps cement learning. In summary, any creative idea that encourages participation will be, in my opinion, more effective than “death by Powerpoint”.