April 30, 2014

A simple tool for training design

During a training for progress-focused trainers I provided the participants with a simple tool for preparing their training courses. It is a table consisting of four columns:

Here is brief explanation of these columns:
  • Column 1: WHAT? In this column you write down the topics which should be dealt with in the training. In choosing topics it is, of course, important (at least if you are working progress-focused) to take into account carefully the expectations of clients and participants. The better they will recognize their expectations and preferences in your design, the more likely it is that they will experience it as useful. Before you write down the topics in order in the column it may be handy to first write them on post it notes so that you can rearrange them a bit until you find the order which is most transparent and useful. Then you can write them down in the column.  
  • Column 2: WHY? In this column you write down what the desired and expected outcomes of the topics are. It helps to think carefully about this column and to think more consciously about how to design the training program and why you do what at which moment. It also will make it more easy for you to later explain to participants what the goal of exercises is. Participants usually find this helpful if you do this. 
  • Column 3: HOW? In this column you write which method you will use for the topic. For participants it is usually pleasant when there is a good variation in exercises. This column can help you to build in that variation. For example, you can use exercises in pairs, plenary discussions, watching a video, working in small groups, etcetera. 
  • Column 4: REFLECTION: This column is to be filled in during and after the training day. In this column you write down whether topics and exercises where found useful and, if yes, what was useful. Also, you can write down ideas for improvement (which you may have thought of yourself or which participants may have mentioned). By using this column you encourage reflective thinking and continuous improvement. 
A last remark: it is not necessary to be very strict about the order in which you fill in the columns. Sometimes you may start in column 3 (when you know what should be the output but you don't know yet exactly how to describe the topic). Or you might start in column 3 ("I would like to use the circle technique with this group") and only later decide for which topic you will use it.

If this tool seems interesting and useful to you and you want to try it could you let me know how it went?

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