There has been a move away from detailed training materials over the last few years, and I totally get it. Whether it’s saving the environment, catering to different learning preferences, curating what’s already out there, or just wanting people to note down their personal learning rather than the theory, in many ways, limiting training materials makes sense.
I have cut down the amount of delegate training materials I create, but actually not by that much. Many people still like to have all the relevant information in one place. That said, increasingly delegate workbooks are presented digitally rather than physically. The slides I create are largely visual so giving delegates a copy of the slides is pointless if it is supposed to act as reference material.
Anyway, last week, I was grateful for my slightly old fashioned habit of creating detailed delegate workbooks. I was running a workshop and was told (15 minutes before we started) that some of the delegates would be attending virtually, from another country. English is not their first language.
They appeared on the screen where my slides would normally be, so I immediately ditched my slides.
Thankfully, I always create detailed trainer’s notes and these, combined with the delegate workbook meant that everything could still run smoothly (albeit that a couple of the exercises had to be hastily rethought!). Instead of showing a slide, I directed people to specific pages in the workbook where the models, examples and some exercises were. It meant those in the room and abroad were treated the same. It also meant that those working in their second language had something to read to make sure that they understood properly. If I hadn’t taken the time to create detailed materials, this session would have been a lot more challenging and frustrating for me and the virtual attendees.
And that’s just one the reasons why designing training takes time AND expertise. It’s not just about thinking about what you want to cover and creating a bullet-pointed monologue interspersed with questions. It’s about creating a brain-friendly session, with options and alternatives. It’s about checking flow and adaptability. It’s about creating detailed case studies and examples, it’s thinking through the exercises, finding meaningful visuals and creating delegate materials that will (if necessary) stand alone.
Because it takes time to do it well, many people take short-cuts. That’s fine if everything goes to plan. But what if…
- You can’t use your slide deck?
- English isn’t your delegates first language?
- You have people attending with visual or hearing impairments?
- Delegates are dialling in from all over the world?
- For some reason you can’t deliver the session yourself?
Thorough training design goes a long way to making these challenges a lot easier for the trainer to deal with, and makes it a much more meaningful event for the delegates.