I found it interesting that when I Googled “Teachback,” the first six entries focused on using the teach back method as an assessment tool in health care — one in which the patient and the provider entered into a one-on-one discussion about what the patient knew about his/her health.
The sixth entry in the search results came from FEMA, and was little more than a checklist of things the instructor should watch out for when viewing a Train the Trainer teach back. In this case, the teach back was formed as an evaluative tool — the instructor graded the participant with a simple pass/fail measure.
And this from the eighth entry, another Train the Trainer program, this one from the CDC:
“The rationale for using this methodology is its unique approach that blends the learning of training skills with the teaching of course content. Many people who facilitate trainings do so because they have expertise in a particular content or technical area. However, they often do not have formal education in training. The goal of the Teachback TOT courses is to enhance the participants’ training skills so that they are better prepared to train others. “
These discoveries excited me: here was the use of a training methodology that applied real-world application and engage the participant in the usage of the material! People being assessed on their ability to perform a task directly related to their jobs — training!
TechSmith’s newsletter prompted a call to action — to utilize the teachback method as it was meant — a tool for assessing content mastery. It brought with it a warning — that as a facilitation tool to engage the class, there were too many flaws in the process.