A beginner’s guide of how to create a training course

A beginners guide of how to create a training course

If you’re wondering how to create a training course you’re in the right place. Designing your first face to face training course from scratch can sounds like a daunting task if you’re a beginner. But it doesn’t have to be difficult. This article will cover the process of how to create a training course.

1. What’s the objective?

I’ll not get into the detail of scoping out training, as I’m assuming since you’re designing face to face training you’ve already effectively scoped and know this is the right route.

You need to be clear on the purpose and the objective of the training is. What are you trying to achieve? What will be different regarding the learners’ skills, knowledge or behaviour change as a result of attending this course?

Objectives should always be the first thing you think about, as this frames the direction of the content and the activities you choose to use.

Good learning objectives are short, and use specific, measurable verbs. If you need guidance with writing objectives you can use blooms Taxonomy of Educational objectives to help you.

Example learning objectives:

By the end of the training, learners will be able to:

  • Describe the managers role within the appraisal process
  • Identify and compare what makes a good appraisal vs a poor one
  • Demonstrate the skills of manager conducting a good appraisal

2. Consider any organisational context you need to bring into the training

Context is key quote

Organisational context is important when designing training. The more context you have before designing any content the better, so you can account for the learners needs and bespoke the content as much as possible.

Anyone can find a generic training course on the internet and deliver it, but the value is in making connections between the content and the learners or organisation’s needs.

  • Is there any context that would be important to incorporate into the training? I.e. vision, mission, values, strategy etc
  • Is the training as a result of business changes, what are they? Be clear on this, especially if it may be controversial and take learners focus away from the learning. If this is likely to be the case, build time into the training to discuss if its appropriate to do so.
  • Get to know your learners – What do you know about the learners you will be delivering the session to? Are they open to this learning or will they be challenging of the content? What’s their base level of knowledge like? The more you know the more you can tailor it to their needs.

3. WIIFM – What’s in it for me?

Think about your learning in the eyes of the learner, they will want to know what’s in it for them. What will benefit them? What will be different as a result of attending? By making this clear for learners they’ll be more likely to engage.

4. Create a lesson plan

Lesson plans are there to provide you with a clear structure for the training. They’re there as your reference point, to keep you on track with activities, timings and resources. They’re an essential part of the planning process.

Some choose to skip past lesson planning process and work in the notes section of PowerPoint. I wouldn’t recommend using this approach as through planning you might realise you don’t need any presentation slides.  

Example lesson plan - Development Professionals.
Sample lesson plan – available to download below

Lesson plan top tips:

  • Be clear on the length of the session – have you been given a time limit to work within?
  • Once you know the length of the session have enough content to cover the learning objectives but don’t cram too much in
  • Outline the activities in as much detail as you can – what makes sense in your head when you write it doesn’t always translate the same when you read it back on the day. Make your activities clear and your future self with thank you for it!
  • Add in timings to your lesson plan but don’t be too hung up on them – they’re there as a guide and won’t account any discussion you’ve not planned for but is still valuable
  • If any activities do run over, be clear on which ones can be altered or shortened
  • Add into your lesson plan summary/debrief questions or questions to challenge so if you are struggling to think of something you have some to hand.
  • If you are using any additional resources or slides add in what resource is needed when. This means if anyone delivers your session in the future they know what is required to deliver the training.
  • Room set up – How do you need the classroom layout set up to aid the activities you’ve added into your lesson plan?
  • Don’t be afraid to take your lesson plan into the session with you and reference it throughout, it shows you are prepared.

Example lesson plan

In this example you will find a fictitious lesson plan for appraisal training, you’ll notice a mix of activities, resources and content included.

5. Decide what activities support the learning objectives

Use your learning objectives to help you plan what activities you will use to embed the learning. Do make sure you keep the activities regular, as training that is just being ‘told’ information by a speak does little to engage learners or help them to retain information. Learners learn best when they are actively engaged in activities that are relevant and helpful.

As a general rule of thumb, stick to 20 minutes or so per activity, with a new/different approach each 20 minutes.

Use a variation of activities to keep the learners engaged throughout and appeal to different learning preferences, which you can see in my example lesson plan. I’m very practical and don’t always remember to bring in much reflective/thinking time in my sessions, something I’m aware of and try to plan more of now.

Example activities you can use within learning

When your still learning how to create a training course activities can be difficult, use this list below to start generating ideas.

  • icebreakers – fun short activities to warm the group up
  • Games – Get creative to how you can use games in your training
  • energisers – A short activity like an icebreaker. Good to have in your back pocket for when the energy in the room lulls, usually after lunch!
  • case studies – Create your own or use real life examples from other companies
  • videos – Either create your own videos or there is plenty content available on the internet you can utilise
  • competition – healthy competition is a great way to engage learners
  • active activities – i.e. getting learners moving around the room
  • brainstorming – coming up with ideas on a topic
  • simulation – Simulated activity i.e. setting up a mini production line and asking learners to improve the production rate over time.
  • role play – The activity that’ll usually be met with the most groans from learners, but it is an effective way to practice skills in a safe environment.
  • group discussion – A great way for the group to share experiences
  • critiquing something – Critiquing is also an effective learning method
  • creating something – Get the group using their hands to create something real, usually learners respond well to this type of learning but it fit every type of content
  • self-reflection – build in time for the group to reflect and answer questions about their own performance in a particular area. Being given time to reflect is useful as we don’t often get/make that space to stop and reflect in work time.

6. Create any supporting materials

PowerPoint presentation

If you want to use PowerPoint then ensure it is visually appealing and not filled with pages of text, the slides are there to support as a visual aid, not there to be your notes for the training. That’s what your lesson plan is for. Limit the number of slides you use and ensure they aren’t too busy, keep it only to what is required to get your message across.

Activities

You’ll need to prepare any activities in advance and have these ready. You may want to trial any complex activities with a group first to make sure instructions are clear.

Handouts

Handouts are there to share more detailed information that wouldn’t sit within your slides, such as a case study, or a template. Or it can be a reference page that learners can keep post training.

Pre/post work

Decide if there will be any pre or post-work for learners to complete in the training. Pre-work is good in getting the learners thinking in advance of the session, and bringing along this knowledge as a base line. Or giving those with a thinking preference more time to read, digest and form opinions on the content prior to attending on the day.

Assessment of competence

Do you need to test their knowledge in any way? This is particularly useful for any regulated industries such as Health and safety. To ensure they have a base level of knowledge before they’re allowed to use a piece of equipment or machinery. You can assess competence through quizzes, observation, simulation, role plays etc.  

Summary

That’s it! Four key things to remember, clear objectives, organisational context, detailed lesson plan, varied, relevant activities and you’re good to go!

That was the beginners guide of how to create a training course, use these tips to feel confident designing your very first training course. Next week I’ll be covering a beginner’s guide to delivering your first face to face training, so watch out for this coming next week.

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