What To Do When a Participant Doesn’t Pass Your Course

What To Do When a Participant Doesn’t Pass Your Course


While most corporate training sessions are designed to be informational and provide an opportunity to build on existing skills, some training sessions are designed to include a pass/fail component. Different industries will require different outcomes, and you’ll need to plan your training courses accordingly. However, once in awhile, you might encounter a participant who doesn’t meet the requirements of your course, and you can’t “pass” them in the course. This can be a source of anxiety and frustration for participants, as well as you as a trainer. Here’s what to do when a participant doesn’t pass your course.


Speak to the Participant

Before you jump to any conclusions, speak to the participant who was not successful in meeting the objectives of the course. Find out if you can provide clarification on any speaking points, or if they need anything to help them understand the concepts. Keep in mind that while some participants might not care about meeting objectives, it is your job to ensure people meet them as part of your contract with the client. Try to get as much information about what went wrong before moving forward.


Decide If Alternative Assessment Methods Would Help

After speaking with the participant, you can determine if another form of assessment might be better suited for their learning style. Many people don’t like taking written tests but can articulate perfect answers verbally. Maybe they would prefer to do a presentation or write something to show they understood the concepts. Another approach might be to discuss with them how they see themselves utilizing the information you taught them. If you can be flexible on your assessment methods, you might be able to provide them with a passing certification.


What if Multiple Participants Don’t Pass the Course?

It might happen that more than one person isn’t successful in meeting the objectives of the training. If this is the case, you will need to do several things to determine the cause: first, review the objectives to make sure they are attainable. If more than half the class didn’t meet the objectives, they might be unrealistic. Don’t adjust the objectives without speaking to your client first because some objectives might be hard and fast related to the industry in which they work. But bringing up the issue might make them realize that a different approach might be necessary. Second, critique your teaching methods. Ask yourself if you did a good job of delivering the materials in a way that included various learning styles and gave everyone an opportunity to meet the objectives. Finally, speak to the participants to get their perspective on where they think things went wrong, and determine a course of action that might see them meeting the objectives. This could include adjusting them with your client, adjusting your teaching style, or offering an alternative method of assessment.


The more flexible you can be in assuring participants that you are there to help them succeed, the more success you will have in your training business. Never leave a training session without addressing why a participant wasn’t successful. It will help you grow as a trainer, and it will help them be successful in their jobs.