One of the most important tools of the training trade is the whiteboard. You don’t’ just put your name up on it—you teach from it, underscoring important points with a written flourish. New-fangled electronic whiteboards let you save everything you write or draw in a file, so you don’t have to copy and erase important information. (Of course, you’ve got to convince your company to purchase an electronic whiteboard, and they’re not cheap.)

But your company may already have invested in something that’s an even better teaching tool than the whiteboard—the presentation monitor. Those monitors aren’t cheap, either, but more businesses have applications for a presentation monitor than they do for an electronic whiteboard. Here are some reasons for using a presentation monitor in the training environment.

If the view fits
Here at TechRepublic, we’ve installed a 29″ presentation monitor in one of our conference rooms. It looks like a big-screen TV, and when you connect a laptop to the monitor, it delivers exceptionally high-quality resolution. And it ought to—the street price for that particular model is over $2,000. (Prices depend on the viewable area of the monitor, which varies from 23” to 50”.)

People from all the different business units in the company use that monitor in meetings. Most of the time, it’s used to display a slide presentation, a Web site, a spreadsheet or a word processing document.

But that monitor also makes an excellent tool for training. The next time you’re scouting a client’s facilities for a good training room, ask if there’s a presentation monitor available and use it in your class. Here are some reasons why you’ll be hooked on this technology:

  • Ink-free. When you hook a computer up to a presentation monitor, you don’t have to go looking for a marking pen that works or a cloth for erasing the board. And you won’t get ink on your hands or your clothes.
  • Professional appearance. You have to worry about your penmanship when you write on a whiteboard, but not with a presentation monitor. Increase the zoom setting in your word processing document so everyone can read the font, and type as you teach. (Of course, your slide shows and existing documents will look good, too.)
  • Flexibility. If your class involves brainstorming or taking suggestions from participants, you can copy or cut and paste information much easier than you could if you were erasing and writing on the whiteboard.
  • Teaching by doing. If your students also have computers and can still see your presentation monitor, you can demonstrate each instruction as you lecture.
  • Permanent record. At the end of the class, you’ll discover what is perhaps the most important benefit of using a presentation monitor in training—the permanent record. Your students don’t have to rush to copy everything you type during the class, because they can copy to disk the file from your machine that contains what you typed. When they open that file back on their own machines, the information will, of course, look exactly as it did when you taught the class. What a great way to reinforce the lesson!

To comment on this tip, or to share your experiences using presentation monitors in the training environment, please post a comment below or send me a note .