Building a Training Program

Build your training programIn previous blog post we talked about different elements of developing your training program.  But perhaps we should step back and take a larger view in the development of a training program that is more comprehensive.  There are several steps that you must take to develop a training program that will support companywide training for more than a single project.  These steps include

  • Designing your program
  • Identifying needs
  • Deciding on a training model
  • A training program’s basic outline
  • Evaluating training
  • Elements of a training class.

Program Design

In the section on program design, we will talk about what should be in a training program and what should not.  Not all training programs are identical, some have elements that will not be present others.

Also in this section, we will talk about the best way training should be delivered in a variety of situations.  At times, face-to-face training, sometimes called instructor led training, is the best choice.  For other types of training e-learning, using a learning management system, may be the better choice for the training.  We’ll talk about situations where are each of those would be better or worse for your training situation.

Identifying Needs

Previous training discussions talked about assessing needs.  We’ll just briefly review those posts and talk about how they fit into an overall plan.

Training Models

There are variety of training models available for trainers to choose from.  Depending upon your situation, some models will be better than others.  When we get to this section, we will talk about three or four of the most commonly used training models.  Their strengths and weaknesses and the situations you should consider using each of them.

Training Evaluation

One of the elements of training that often gets overlooked, is the evaluation.  In today’s current business climate of doing more with less, training evaluation can be critical for continued funding of the training program.

Elements of a training program.

When we get to this section of this series of posts, we’ll talk about some of the basic elements commonly found in most training.  Those elements are pre-assignments to training; pretraining assessments; energizers; training tools; and finally post training assessment.

Creating Proposals

Whether you’re an independent consultant developing training or a staff trainer for an organization, there will be times when you need to create a proposal for a training program.  In this section of this series we will talk about common elements in a training proposal.

As we go through this series, please share your experiences developing and running a training program.

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How Do You Prepare on The Day of Training

Preparing for TrainingHow you prepare on the day of training really brings out different personality styles. I’m not talking about the way you actually deliver the training but how you get ready for that day.  I am a concrete sequential (if you hadn’t already figured that out yet) which means I tend to make lists, think of training as a step-by-step process, and I happen to be more task oriented than people oriented.  My wife on the other hand is a random abstract which means she is more likely to go with the moment, think of training by the end result, and she is more interested in the people than the specific tasks needed to get there.  To better understand how those to styles work, let me illustrate with the difference in how we prepare for training.  Let’s assume we are both doing the same training in two weeks.

Reviewing briefly, I over prepare and tend to have multiple backups of everything.  It is all filed, in order and ready to pull to be used.  If it is a small group I may even label the handouts by who gets what.  I want everything prepared so I don’t have to think or worry about the process the day of the event.  I like it planned and scripted out as much as possible.  I will try to practice the major parts of the presentation and probably have them timed out to fit into a schedule I developed (probably down to the minute).  I also will probably be changing and tweaking my portion of the training right up to the beginning of the actual training.

My wife will do some of that prep as well but is far less likely to have the materials grouped and labeled.  She won’t write a script for the presentations but will rather sketch out an outline of what she wants to say.  She has done almost as many trainings as I have (more for adult learners than I have where I have more with kids than she does). She is more likely to adapt on the fly than I am.

Each of us has a style of training that works for us and we will totally operate within our own style.  The times we are doing a training together we both adapt and include the other’s style into the event trying to build on each of our strengths.

Each style has its strengths and each has its weaknesses.  It is important for you to know which style you operate best in and work to your

Strengths and weaknesses of each style of preparation:

Over Preparation – strengths

  • All materials ready for training ahead of time so not rushed
  • All objectives will be covered
  • Most scenarios planned for

Over Preparation – weaknesses

  • Less adaptable to opportunities and circumstances
  • Some content may be rushed to get it all in
  • Time will probably be spent preparing for things that don’t happen

On the fly – strengths

  • Easy to adapt to opportunities and circumstances
  • Can be a more natural/conversational tone to training
  • Preparation time utilized better

On the fly – weaknesses

  • Training less likely to cover desired training objectives
  • Training may not flow as well/may seem disjointed
  • Finally, this style requires specific talent to pull off (more people think they can do this than really can).  I have seen many teacher and trainers use this style and leave the participants in a state of confusion about how things are related or work together to meet and end goal.

Regardless of your primary training style, it is important that you are comfortable with it and still meet the needs of the participants.  Depending on your training group those two may seem in conflict with each other always remember first and foremost the training is not about you but rather about the participants getting the desired knowledge and skills.  Call it a growth exercise for you if you aren’t in your comfort zone.

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Getting Materials Ready for Training

Last time we talked about Preparing the Space and Equipment.  I touched on how I prepare materials but thought I would go more in-depth with this post.  When preparing materials for a training, I look at three things: preparing materials, organizing for distribution, and backup plans.

Preparing Materials

I like to have someone else look at the materials I am going to use before I copy them.  Copying MaterialsThis “someone” should be a person other than the one who helped you beta test your training.   If they have seen your training already, they bring some expectations and prior knowledge that may prevent them from giving you an accurate picture of your materials.

The person you are looking for in this role may or may not have experience in your training but they should be looking at the completeness of the materials.  Are all the images where they are said to be?  Did you leave out a resource they need to complete the activities.  Their fresh eyes can help you see what you left out and what is repetitive in the materials. Continue reading

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Preparing the Space and Equipment for Training

Preparing for TrainingPreparing for a training event is where the obsessive compulsive really comes out in me.  I like to have things a certain way when I train.  However, I will try to set aside the worst of those habits and give some guidelines that may help smooth your training experience.

Planning

When I am developing curriculum, I try to list all the things I need to have available when I train/teach.  I use a form similar to this: Continue reading

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Preparing for Training

Curriculum DevelopmentThe last several weeks we have been going through how to conduct a needs assessment to know what training is needed.  For the next few weeks we will talk about preparing for training.  As before I will take you through several steps or phases of that preparation.  Those phases include:

  • Developing curriculum
  • Preparing the space and equipment
  • Getting materials ready
  • The day of training

This phase is about developing the curriculum.  This is not intended to be a short course in instructional design – because there is no such thing.  Developing effective curriculum takes hours of training for a designer and years of practice to develop their craft.  This post is intended to give a trainer some hints and suggestions about potential trouble spots to watch for that may make your training less than effective for your learners.  Some of it you might do yourself and some would be a conversation with an instructional designer (assuming you’re not doing it all yourself).

The curriculum you will use in your training can come from several different sources.  It may be a package that you purchased from a vendor for this topic, it may be something that was developed in house previously as part of regular training, or it may be training curriculum that you are developing from scratch to meet this need.  Regardless of where the training content comes from, there are several things you should do with it before you present it to learners.

Learning Objectives/Outcomes

Continue reading

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