Training design tipsYou have completed the training needs analysis. You have documented the results and confirmed with the business unit manager that training is indeed warranted, because you have confirmed a lack of needed skills and knowledge. For part two of my three-part series, I’m sharing 10 tips that will help you design learner-centered training. 

  1. Don’t start at the beginning. Instead, find out what learners already know so that you can connect that knowledge to your upcoming training program. Don’t teach what they already know; teach what they need to know next.
  2. Malcom Knowles, father of adult learning theory, tells us how important it is for the learners to have a compelling reason to learn the new knowledge and skills. Design your training overview so that it ties directly to success in their current position, or success in a future position.
  3. Design your face-to-face course with Bob Pike’s 90-20-8 rule in mind: Don’t make your lesson longer than 90 minutes, change the pace every 20 minutes, and involve the learner every eight minutes.
  4. Designing e-learning or a synchronous leader-led webinar? Then change your training design to my 60-10-4 rule. Every 60 minutes, announce a short break. Put a slide in your deck that shows people standing and stretching. Stretching will get the blood flowing again and improve learning. Change the pace every 10 minutes and, at minimum, involve learners every four minutes. Ask them to respond to a question with a green check or red x, have them chat their responses to a question, or give them time to complete an activity.
  5. Using your analysis data, draft criteria-based learning objectives. What will the learners be able to do as a result of this training course? Robert Mager suggests writing an objective with an observable action and at least one measurable criterion or standard, and the actual conditions needed to accomplish the objective. For example: Given a loan file and the LoanMe computer program, the credit analyst will locate and stipulate necessary loan documents at 98 percent accuracy in 20 minutes per file.
  6. How will you know if the learners have learned it? Create your evaluation strategy in the design phase! What level of expertise do you expect them to achieve by the end of the training course? What performance tests will you use during and after the course that help assure transfer back on the job
  7. Decide which instructional methods will help learners acquire the competence and confidence to use their new knowledge and skills on the job. Typical instructional methods include lecture, case study, demonstration with practice, review games, role play, self-reflection, debate, group discussion, read and discuss, and simulations.
  8. Using your analysis data, design the training course with the best sequence. Decide which order of lessons will enhance learning, so that each lesson builds upon the others.
  9. Try these typical sequencing options, as suggested by Don Clark:
  • start to finish or job performance order: the learning sequence is the same as the job sequence  
  • simple to complex: learning sequence starts with simple concepts and increases in complexity 
  • critical sequence: learning activities are ordered in terms of relative importance 
  • known to unknown: familiar topics are covered before unfamiliar topics 
  • dependent relationships: mastery of one objective depends on prior acquisition of a previous objective.

     10. Complete your design document. Review this with the business unit manager and the subject matter experts to validate that you have included everything      that they need to know, not everything that there is to know! 

To discover more of the tools necessary to develop powerful, bottom-line-focused training, join me for an upcoming Designing Learning Certificate Program.