Cover Image
close this bookDesigning Human Settlements Training in African Countries - Volume 2: Trainer's Tool Kit (HABITAT, 1994, 182 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentForeword
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentThe lecture
View the documentVisual aids
View the documentQuestion and answer
View the documentDiscussion
View the documentDemonstration
View the documentSimulation
View the documentThe case method
View the documentCritical incidents
View the documentRole-playing
View the documentInstrumentation
View the documentBrainstorming
View the documentNominal group technique (NGT)
View the documentForce field analysis
View the documentAction planning
View the documentOther learning transfer strategies
View the documentPerformance analysis & needs assessment
View the documentTraining impact evaluation
View the documentTraining the staff to train
View the documentCoaching
View the documentTeam development
View the documentRole negotiation
View the documentIntergroup conflict intervention
View the documentOrganizational goal setting
View the documentA closing note


Learning Emphasis

Organization Focus

More and more I used the quickness of my mind to pick the minds of other people and use their knowledge as my own.

- Eleanor Roosevelt

Demonstration is one of the oldest teaching methods. It takes place anytime one person shows another person how to do something. As children, we all experienced being shown how to tie our shoes by a patient father or mother. The parent would tie their shoe while we watched. After doing it a time or two, the parent would help us do it. Usually, they would take the two ends of the lace and put one in each of our hands. Then, with their hands over ours, we would together go through the motions of forming the tie. After doing this together once or twice, we would be asked to try it alone. Uncertainly, we would then try to repeat the process we had observed and been helped to do, now with the parent simply watching, coaching and, maybe, even reaching in to correct a wrong movement.

In the world of work, many examples of demonstration come to mind. Apprentice mechanics are taught to repair vehicles, in part, through demonstration. Secretaries are taught to type this way, and beginning masons to lay bricks. In most modern organizations, office workers are taught to use the computer primarily through demonstration.

Demonstration involves learning mind/body coordination in relation to a task. In other words, the mind of the learner is fed information on how something is done as the eyes observe the process of doing it through demonstration. The mind of the learner then launches a coordinated attempt to repeat what was observed.

Demonstration may be used one-on-one or in groups. It may provide a means for illustrating or clarifying how something is done to several people at one time, without having them attempt to perform themselves - this is often necessary when a large number of people are involved - or learners may watch the trainer perform the task and then try it themselves, as when learning how to change a tire or repair a radio. A good example of the demonstration process at work is learning how to compose a letter at a computer workstation.


Explain how the task is to be performed to help the learner grasp the idea intellectually. The trainer might convey task instructions using the lecturette and possibly visual aids. Of course, this step might be accomplished without the use of demonstration with the learner working alone, aided by an instruction manual or computer tutorial with examples and exercises.


Check out how much has been absorbed. If several learners are involved, the trainer might engage them in a discussion at this point, to find out how well the learners understand the task and how it is to be performed.


After explaining how the task is done, show the learner. This may be done by actually creating a document on a computer while the learner observes. Note: special devices are now available to project images from a computer screen on to a screen that is visible to the trainer and the learner while seated at their respective computer workstations.


Ask the learner to repeat the task as demonstrated. Following instructions, the learner now attempts to repeat what he or she has seen while the trainer observes and offers suggestions. This continues until the procedure to be learned is mastered by the learner.

Many demonstrations are simple and routine. For example, the steps required to “boot” (start up) a multi-user computer system can be demonstrated for the benefit of an employee who will be responsible for taking the system up and down each day. Using a simple diagram like the one shown below, the supervisor might begin by having the employee read a description of the process. The supervisor boots the system following the four steps, explaining each step as it is carried out. The employee is asked to read the four steps once again. After completing the reading, the employee executes each step, guided by the supervisor as needed. Any mistakes are identified by the supervisor and corrected by the employee on the spot. Finally, the employee repeats the booting process from beginning to end and continues to do so until the routine is carried out correctly.

How to “Boot” (Turn On) the Computer System

Step 1.

Turn the KEY clockwise (to the right) while depressing (pushing in on) the RESET button.

Step 2.

Press the START button. The READY light will start blinking.

Step 3.

When the READY light stops blinking, push in simultaneously on the WRITE and the PROTECT buttons.

Step 4.

Wait for about 60 seconds. An “0” will appear in the STATUS WINDOW. The computer is booted now and ready for use.


Good demonstrations require careful preparation. The trainer starts by deciding on the exact steps which the learners need to observe. The work space and materials should be sufficient for the number of people to be trained. If learners are to repeat the task being demonstrated, each must have enough equipment or other materials to carry out the task. The number of people who are to practice the task being demonstrated should be small enough to be coached adequately by the trainer. Since demonstrations take time, the activity should be scheduled to avoid running out of it.


The demonstration is an ancient learning technique used to help others do something by showing them how it is done. Typically, learners watch the trainer perform a particular skill and then practise doing it themselves. It is common to find demonstrations accompanied by the use of lecturettes, discussions and audiovisual materials. On the other hand, demonstrations have particular value when working with people who need to learn new skills, but who have difficulty learning from printed material or information presented orally.