Designing Training Material

Designing Training Material

Posted on
2020-03-19

How to get it wrong

Earlier this year I wrote two articles on using a systematic/ audience centric approach to Training Material Design. These articles sparked debate, which for any professional is desirable. The following “What not to do”, or “How to get the design of training wrong” is a direct result of those debates.



1.   Start (and finish) your training material design with slides.

For professionals who have “conducting training” as a small part of their job, the desire to structure the training around a slide presentation is understandable – It is easy, however it inhibits:

  • An audience centric approach

  • Activities such as case studies

  • Creativity

A recent example, a facilitator I knew by reputation, but had not worked with, I asked if she would be interested in conducting a 1 day program on conflict management. When we meet to discuss the program she was not interested in the “Expected Outcomes”, or “Conflict Resolution Model”, only that she expected around 70 slides with notes to conduct the training – yes I declined.

2.   Use an existing Generic Program as the main source of Reference

This is the second way to get it wrong. While this may seem an easy route to follow, there are many pitfalls. The main ones are, the expected outcomes of your program, are unlikely to be found in a generic program, plus the specific nature of your industry is by definition, specific.
For example, a customer service program designed for a hotel is unlikely to meet the needs of the insurance industry.  

 3.   Be Unaware of the Prejudice of the Designer’s Learning Style

As most L&D specialists know trainers, facilitators and training material designers are all affected by their learning style, in how they design / train or facilitate learning.
If we take Klob’s Learning Styles as the example, those who have an action oriented style will include lots of activates, those who are interested in reflection, will include several “reflection” sessions. This does not produce a balanced program.

4.   Not Setting and Measuring Planned Training Outcomes 

Unfortunately the majority of training does not start with a measurable goal, and little or no effort is made to systematically measure the outcome.

5.   Get a friend to help you Evaluate the material

The best person to get advice from is not your best friend; they like you and are normally sensitive to your feelings.
In conclusion, assuming you are not guilty of any of the “crimes” stated, there are others to contend with, that is why at the core of anyone serious about their development is a passionate seeker of feedback.

Garry Howell

September 2019   

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