Training – A Checklist For Designing a Training Program

Being a professional trainer does not just mean having great classroom skills, able to command attention and keep your audience engaged. It also means having great planning skills, being able to design a program that will effectively meet the training objectives. Here’s a handy checklist to go through when designing a training program.

1. Answer the “5 Ws and H” questions: who, what, when, where, why and how. You need to know who your audience is, and what your training subject is, combined of course with the date, time and location. Add the all important “Why” you’re doing this, and that will drive the “How” – the best way to achieve the objective.

2. Outline the program. A course outline will look similar to a speech outline. It should have an opening composed of a great hook and a reason to listen. You should always provide a “road map” of the program, in other words, the agenda. Then you should identify the main points you plan to cover. And then plan a good conclusion, with a wrap-up that brings it all home and a good, memorable closing.

3. Decide on training methods to be employed. Do your training objectives call for whole class lecture? Or will small group break-outs be appropriate? Will you do demonstrations? Perhaps role-playing will be helpful. Or games on either an individual or team basis can add a fun element to the learning. A basic premise of training is that adults thrive on experiential learning, so the more activities and class involvement you have, the more likely your training will be effective.

4. Choose your training tools. Training tools are aids such as handouts or a course notebook or your visuals. Given that people tend to remember more if they have both heard and seen the information, a combination of visual and auditory tools will be most effective. Remember, though, that visuals should be guided by the “UR” rule: they should help the audience “Understand” or “Remember” points. If they don’t, they’re worthless visuals. This is an important challenge for a trainer, to balance the auditory portion – instruction, discussion, demonstrations, etc. — with the visual elements: slides, flip charts, notebook, handouts, etc. You don’t want an over-reliance on either one.