As my core business is designing training (and as such, I like to think that I know a bit about it), I thought that it was about time I shared some of the useful tips and techniques I’ve learned over the years. So, for the next few months, I’ll be rolling out a series of ‘How to…’ blogs, around designing different types of learning. This first blog in the series will look at designing training workshops for other people to deliver.
The first thing to bear in mind when designing training for other people is that most trainers don’t like it…at least not initially. So put yourself in their shoes and consider WHY they might not be so keen, and then take steps to remove all of the barriers. They worry about losing control, about not being clear about key messages, not being able to inject their own personality, running exercises that they aren’t comfortable with and losing the thread. When we understand this, we can make sure that all of these potential issues are addressed. So here are my top 5 tips for designing training for someone else to deliver.
1. Involve them if possible. Some of my most successful programmes are those where I have worked closely with the deliverer to specify the course outline. Not only are two heads better than one, but it helps us to understand each other, and build trust. When the training is designed, it’s good to meet again to explain what has been included and why. Listen to their suggestions and together, agree where their ideas may be used.
2. Include detail. No-one wants to run a course with a 50 page ‘script’, but neither can we expect the other person to mind read. You need to explain what you want the trainer discuss or highlight, without telling them exactly what to say. I was once handed training materials that included ‘Tell the Admiral Crichton story’. I had no idea what this was, so couldn’t do that. If I have a good example or anecdote that I think should be shared, I write it out in full on a separate piece of paper that the trainer can refer to if they need/want to.
3. Provide an Overview. Create a mind-map, flowchart of one-page overview of the flow of the course, its objectives and its key sections. This helps to put the learning into context, and enables the trainer to see where the training is going and how everything fits together.
4. Include Options. At many points during a workshop, the objectives for a particular section can be achieved in a number of ways. Explain what the required outcome of the section is, and then provide 2 or 3 suggestions for how this can be achieved e.g. ‘Run a reverse brainstorm by asking…’ or ‘Split delegates into 2 groups. Ask one to consider….’ or ‘Ask delegates to interview each other about X, and then report their conclusions to the group’. Make it clear WHAT must be covered; HOW it should be covered may be more flexible.
5. Make sure that resources and references are clearly labelled. If you need the trainer to use particular support material, make sure that it is clearly identified – not only in the session plan, but also in a separate ‘Equipment and Supporting Materials’ list. Label your handouts appropriately, and refer to specific pages if using a workbook. Remember to specify which visual aids should be used and when.
Remember that the person delivering the training is the public face of the training. Rightly or wrongly, the quality of the training is often judged by their ‘performance’ so through careful design, we need to give them the best possible chance to do a great job.