“Personal Reflection on Attending the TBR Practitioner Class” Contributed by Khurram Bhatti

Khurram Bhatti is a Certified Trainer for “Training from the BACK of the Room.” Khurram attended the Trainer Certification Course (TCC) this past spring and then created this blog post for his own blog. I think you will enjoy his personal story about TBR and brain-based instruction.

My Personal Reflection on Brain-Based Instruction and Effective Training Design and Delivery

“In this post, I will compare and contrast what I knew about brain-based instruction and effective training design and delivery before I attended Training from the BACK of the Room (TBR) with what I now know as a Certified Trainer for this class.The questions I’ll answer in this blog post are: What were some assumptions I made about effective instruction that have changed since I took the class? How will these changes affect the ways I instruct others now?

“My dear readers …

“Yes, that’s correct! Sadly I have been the reason for many deaths – deaths by Powerpoint slides 🙁


“Here is how I used to design and deliver the training sessions I presented:

  • No warm-ups – I just jumped right into the topic to get started with the knowledge delivery.
  • I created rich text slides that said it all.
  • I didn’t use slide images because then learners wouldn’t get a chance to read all the text on the slides.
  • It was important to be an expert on the topic – and to let the students know that I was the expert.
  • Information-sharing was one way traffic – from the teacher to the student.
  • As a teacher, I ran slide shows and students just sat and absorbed all the information – pretty cool, right?
  • With no involvement by learners, they asked fewer questions (which was a good thing!).
  • More slides meant the more the teacher knew, so I used a lot of slides.
  • I didn’t know anything about effective learning or that students’ brains switch off after a short while.
  • I used no formal training design – I taught according to the time allotted.
  • There wasn’t any learner engagement during a training session.

“In addition, I helped put people to sleep during my training sessions because they lost track of what I was teaching. Horrible, right? But trust me, even now there are still so many teachers and trainers force-feeding information to their students and learners.


“Back in 2013, I happened to attend a course in which I experienced something completely different: the trainer stepped back many times during each hour and involved the participants more. The trainer began and ended the day with a personal reflection by the learners. The trainer stated the topic and then all the learners shared what they already knew about the topic. The same kinds of things happened with other courses I attended and I wondered about all the interaction, noticed the similarities, and started taking notes about the different ways the trainers were presenting.

“One day in an Agile conference, I heard about “Training from the Back of The Room” and happened to skip that talk (sorry Sharon!). Later, out of curiosity, I Googled this term and found out that it was quite an interesting teaching concept: stepping aside and letting learners teach each other and learn from one another. I was able to “connect my mental dots” with previous courses that I really enjoyed participating in.

“I searched for the next TBR Practitioner Class and traveled to London to attend it. I liked it so much that I traveled to Austin, Texas to attend the Trainer Certification Course (TCC) and to become a Certified Trainer for the TBR Practitioner Class. I decided to do this because I believed that I could help fellow trainers design more effective learning and training sessions.

“Besides, in Austin I was able to meet Training Certifiers Nicole and Sharon 🙂 as well as having the bonus of meeting and working with 14 other awesome trainers! I am now excited, happy, and looking forward to making learning a more fun and memorable experience for everyone I teach.


“Now I see that TBR is one of many popular, brain-based frameworks used to design and deliver an effective training class or program. I know now that all successful design and delivery models use brain-based concepts.

One of the reasons I really like TBR is because I now use the “4Cs Map” to design both training sessions as well as company meetings. Here is how I have used and continue to use the TBR concepts:

  • I have more confidence in designing and delivering a training session with TBR concepts and strategies.
  • I step aside and train “from the back of the room” (both metaphorically and literally) – and I’m not afraid to do so!
  • I now design a training with lecture-segments of about 20 minutes because the human brain switches off after that time.
  • I design training with the beginning and ending in mind.
  • I use more images and less text on Powerpoint slides.
  • I involve the whole body by having learners move around a lot.
  • I use shorter, rather than longer, topic modules.
  • I use different ways to teach the topic.
  • I mix Powerpoint with flip charts.
  • I involve learners by asking them first what they know before teaching them what I know.
  • The seating arrangement is an important factor for the success of a training so learners sit in table groups facing each other now, instead of in desks or rows.
  • Learning is a social event, where learners learn from each other during the activities, so I include lots of discussion in a variety of ways.
  • I create a psychologically safe learning environment by setting up expectations and working agreements.
  • My training sessions are more interesting and engaging due to the active participation of the learners.
  • I use my TBR toolbox of techniques, concepts, and strategies to experiment with.
  • I gain and retain more energy when learners are involved in activities and I see them laughing and smiling.
  • and I use many more ideas from TBR! 

“If you need help with brain-based instruction and effective training design and delivery, then let’s get in touch, or email me to share your own experiences using TBR ideas in your own teaching and training ([email protected]).”



Thank you for reading!