Trainer's Toolkit

How to use the Trainer's Guide

As a presenter in the workplace or community, you may be asked to give sessions on financial topics. This Trainer’s Guide can help you plan and present an engaging, effective session to an audience of adult learners. It contains:

  • Teaching tips and suggestions to engage learners and present the material effectively
  • Information about teaching adult learners
  • PPT presentations
  • PDF Guides for each module. These PDF guides provide an outline of presentation suggestions for each module, including:
    • An introduction to the module
    • A list of materials and equipment you will need
    • Summaries of key information points in PowerPoint slides
    • An icebreaker activity that can be used to discuss learners’ expectations and assess their current knowledge about the topic of the module
    • Steps to complete in-class activities
    • Suggestions for helping learners summarize and consolidate their learning at the end of each mini-module
    • Links to online tools, activities and resources you can use during the session, where appropriate

It is not necessary to teach the modules in order or in their entirety. They are designed so they may be taught independently of each other. You may teach an entire module, one or more mini-modules, or selected activities, depending on your audience and the time available. If you select the modules or mini-modules relevant to the topics your audience wants to learn about, you will have a simple, straightforward package of resources to support your presentation with minimal preparation.

Although this Guide should be helpful, you do not need to follow it precisely. Instructors also possess a wealth of knowledge and experience about personal finances. Bringing your own experiences, anecdotes and advice into training sessions will greatly help learners understand and integrate concepts that otherwise could be dry and abstract.

Tips for Presenting the Financial Toolkit Learning Resources


  • Don’t try to do too much. Learners will take away more from a focused presentation that gives them time to reflect than from one that rushes through a lot of topics and details without pause.


  • Most videos are short – two to three minutes in length. They are intended to introduce a topic, but not to cover it thoroughly. You can also use them to provide a brief summary after a presentation.
  • Most people are accustomed to absorbing videos passively. Ensure active learning by asking learners to look for things they agree with, disagree with, don’t understand, etc. Follow the videos with a discussion of what learners got out of it.


  • Some worksheets can be completed quickly within a learning session. Use them to break up a presentation and help learners apply the topic to their own lives.
  • Some worksheets require personal research and thought, and are not likely to be completed in a single session. If you ask learners to start work in the session, they are more likely to complete it on their own. You can ask them to do some of the easy items in order to get started, or focus on items that you think might be challenging.
  • Follow up worksheets with a discussion. This will help you assess whether or not learners understand the worksheet, whether they need to review some information and whether they can apply it to their own circumstances.


  • Use discussion questions to ask learners to share their own experiences, raise contradictory ideas and present their own questions.
  • Open-ended questions are more likely to engage learners and provoke thought. They are generally more useful unless you are seeking only a brief survey response from learners.
  • With learners who are reluctant to take part in discussions, it can be helpful to have them make notes about how the learning relates to them, either individually, in pairs or groups, and then share their notes with the group.

Summaries of key messages

  • Research shows the importance, especially for adults, of reviewing and restating their learning. The key messages offer a valuable way to do this. Be sure to allow enough time (five to ten minutes) for a quick learner review.
  • You can use the key messages summaries at the end of each mini-module to:
    • Review and reinforce the topics of the module
    • Assess how much learners have understood and if you need to clarify any topics
  • This guide suggests a simple way to use the key messages in a class or small group. However, you can vary this approach to make it more appropriate for your learners. For example, you can have learners write their own summaries, make a presentation or contribute to a whole-class summary.

Action plans

  • The Action Plans at the end of each module serve as both a practical review for learners and the first step in putting their learning into practice. Research indicates that once learners take the first steps they are much more likely to complete any necessary action.
  • If you are using only some of the mini-modules, be sure to point out that the Action Plan is a valuable tool for learners.
  • Learners will gain most from applying the Action Plan to their own circumstances. Discussing the Action Plans in pairs or small groups can also give learners social encouragement and reinforcement for the actions they need to take, and it can help learners with limited knowledge or experience.

Icebreaker activities

  • Icebreaker activities serve both to create a relaxed learning environment and to give you an idea of the level of knowledge and commitment of a group of learners.
  • Encourage a brief discussion about the topic of the session, and probe for what learners already know and what they want to learn. You can then tailor your presentation to the needs of the group, and point out how it answers their questions.
  • The initial discussions may let you identify false ideas that you will have to correct in your presentation, and may also show you the basic understanding you can use to build learning on.


  • The PowerPoint slides (downloadable from the Trainer’s Toolkit section of the Financial Toolkit website) can help learning by reinforcing your oral presentation with visual cues and by giving learners a brief visual summary of your points. Oral presentation, while essential for some topics, tends to be the least effective form of teaching, and benefits from reinforcement through visual and other media.
  • The slides reinforce the messages in the mini-modules and provide a consistent structure for your presentation. However, it also helps to personalize them with your own details and experiences.
  • Be sure to check in advance that projection equipment is available and working and that the slides will be visible to all learners.

The website

You may want to use the website to supplement or expand on in-person activities. Consider techniques such as the following:

  • Refer learners to the website to review a topic during activities, at the end of a session or later when they need more information.
  • During your presentation, go to interactive tools and online worksheets on the website, such as interest calculators or cost comparisons, and demonstrate them using a screen projector. Ask learners to give some problems they would like to work out (e.g., How much interest will I earn on a given investment by the time I retire?) or use prepared sample data to save time.
  • Go to the videos on the website and screen them using a screen projector. Use them to summarize a presentation or introduce a discussion. The Trainer’s Toolkit contains a video response sheet and prompt questions for each video.
  • If you plan to use website resources in a training session, check in advance that you will have a reliable Internet connection and a projector, and that all students can see the screen clearly.
  • Use the website for short, focused presentations only, and keep sessions interactive. Learners quickly become distracted when viewing screen presentations.

Topics may contain links to related items in other modules or other websites. Some topics are discussed in more than one area in order to prevent excessive cross-references.