How to Teach Others

Designing Programs

The quickest way to design the structure, content and facilitation methods of a training program is to examine what other people have done before in similar circumstances. Ask other teachers, trainers, educators and facilitators for copies of program schedules, handouts, source materials and special techniques they use to help managers and staff learn.

Organizational Questions

Before, or during, the time you are designing a program, you need to answer some organizational questions:

1. Are you going to do all the teaching yourself or are you also going to use guest speakers and other trainers?

2. Do you have a back-up plan in case you cannot do the training yourself (for example, if you are sick on the day of training or called away for an emergency)?

3. Can you commit sufficient time and involvement for preparation and/or instructing?

4. Do you have the appropriate resource materials, attendance and evaluation forms?

5. Have you identified the costs of the programs? This may be an ongoing exercise as you continue to develop and redevelop your program. Some of the costs include:

  1. Bulletrefreshments;

  2. Bullethonorarium for guest speaker;

  3. Bulletaudio visual (A.V.) equipment purchases or rentals for off site programs;

  4. Bulletenough copies of: handout materials and other photocopies;

  5. Bulletsufficient staff time and staff replacement costs;

  6. Bulletadvertising for the programs;

  7. Bulletroom rentals (if necessary);

  8. Bulletcleaning costs if any;

  9. Bulletcourse supplies: e.g., paper, markers, pens, masking tape, name tags.

  10. Bulletchild care, where necessary.

6. Have you (or someone else) found a suitable place to hold training sessions? Consider size, location (inside the organization or off site), accessibility to all participants, parking, costs, windows helpful or distracting, pillars blocking people's view, sufficient lighting and heating, etc.?

Content Design

Once you know if you have the time and resources to prepare or revise a training program, the actual design or redesign of the content generally involves the following steps:

1. Do you know who your audience will be? Do you know what information they already have relative to your training program? Do you know what they want to learn versus what the organization wants you to teach them? If not, find out some of this information through talking with some of them, through a questionnaire, a telephone survey of some of the participants or ask other educators for help. What you ask them will depend on how much flexibility you have in designing the program.

2. Identify what you want the program participants to know and what skills they should be able to perform back at work. The strategic and operational plans can help you here as well as departmental objectives and/or performance management performance objectives for people with similar job descriptions.

3. Determine how long each session will be and how many sessions you will have together to meet the minimum standards for work performance.

4. Design an outline of each session including the length of the session, what topics you will cover and what materials you will use. You might use a table such as this to design the outline or agenda of the program:

What Participants Need to Learn (knowledge, skill)

        e.g., how to identify different stresses in their work and personal lives

Ho w They Will Learn It (lecture, role play, game, exercise, reading, project)

        self awareness questionnaire followed by group discussion

How Long They Have to Learn or Practice

        45 minutes

5. Once you have received permission to go ahead with the general outline, prepare all the materials and a detailed outline of each program as if you were going to teach directly from them.

6. Get several experienced managers and/or staff, as well as other teachers, to review your session outlines and course materials to get their suggestions about what to keep, revise or delete.

7. Revise all the schedules and materials as necessary.

8. Select co-trainers and others who will act as back-up for you and include them in any train-the-trainer sessions you participate in or facilitate.

9. Test your new program and materials with a group of managers and/or staff and get specific comments from them throughout the program about what they feel is most helpful and least helpful in the structure, content and facilitation of the program. Use an evaluation form to get their ideas and suggestions. Revise the program accordingly.

10. Begin using the materials for all your training and get participants and other trainers to evaluate that specific program's content, structure, and facilitation. Also, do a self-evaluation after each program to examine what you want to do again for the next program and what you may want to do differently.

11. If you are offering your program on a continuing basis, once every 6-12 months review the materials, participant evaluations, what other programs are doing and suggestions from other teachers to revise the program accordingly.

How to Teach Others

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Copyright © 1993, 1999, 2006 Harry van Bommel

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