What to Do Before Developing a Training Program

By Elaine Biech

Before you dive in to design and develop the training program, obtain a clear definition of the limitations. Many a training session has been headed in a direction only to learn that resources are not available in the form of time, money, or people. Clarify the limitations first.

  1. List all the learning objectives for the session. This is the basis for the content.

  2. If you need to break the objectives down to smaller, more manageable units, do so now.

  3. Arrange the learning objectives into a logical learning sequence.
    The sequences that are most often used include these:

    • Chronological

    • Procedural order

    • Problem/solution

    • Categories

    • General to specific

    • Simple to complex

    • Less risky to more risky

    • Known to unknown

  4. Determine content ensuring that you have enough, but not too much. What do your learners need to know? Need to do? What specific knowledge and skills will help them achieve the learning objectives?

  5. Identify the best methodology — for example, role play, discussion, practice — to use to transmit the content to the learner.

  6. Develop or purchase the support material you need to go along with what will happen during the learning experience. This includes some or all of these.

    • Participant materials, for example, manual, handouts, job aids, texts

    • Visual and media support, for example, PowerPoint slides, videos, software

    • Activity support, for example, role-play cards, scripts, exercises, props, case studies

    • Trainer materials, for example, trainers’ guide, markers

    • Administrative support, for example, agenda, roster, supply checklist, evaluations

  7. Conduct a pilot to determine what needs to be changed or improved to achieve success.

If you need to play with the sequence of the learning objectives, you can do it on your laptop of course. Another possibility is to write each objective on a separate index card. Lay the cards on a table and move them around until you achieve what you’re looking for.