With Intranet 2.0, collaborative tools and innovative LMS platforms now mainstream in the workplace, organisations are designing more and more collaborative training; moving away from classrooms toward participative training, where the group itself determines what is learnt. Yet collaborative learning remains an in-exact science, particularly in business. In this post we look at the role of the instructor or moderator in collaborative learning. (more…)
A workshop for Business Owners, Risk Managers, HR Managers or anyone responsible for drafting a social media policy for a business or organisation.
This one-day workshop is designed to assist anyone who needs to draft a Social Media policy on behalf of an organisation.
- A self-contained pre-work module, in which you research your particular requirements and identify the risks specific to your organisation.
- A morning face-to-face session in which you hear from experts in Risk, Insurance and Compliance about the need for social media policies and the various tips and traps involved in writing effective social media policies.
- A discussion, in which we provide feedback on the research you have gathered.
- An afternoon workshop in which you draft a social media policy for your organisation. We will provide templates, checklists and advice on your draft and the steps required to complete and publish a policy for your organisation.
You’ll walk away with a draft social media policy for your business or organisation.
Contact us using the reply form below and we’ll let you know when the next workshop will be held in your city.
AUD $1100 per person, GST inclusive
How to prepare and present a training course:
10 easy tips for beginners
1. Plan to get time on your side
Give yourself at least an extra week beyond what you think you’ll need to create your training program. Then leave time to fine tune your course materials and practice reading them out loud every day before the big event. As we all know, life tends to happen and cause unexpected delays.
2. Channel your audience
As you start to put together your training course, have your trainees and what they need to know in mind. Put yourself in their shoes. What information will help them better complete the work they’ll have to do? It’s likely that the answer to that questions will help you design a relevant outline. Then, filling in the blanks in your course content may actually be a piece of cake.
3. Take the fear out of public speaking
If you don’t feel confident in presenting your training course verbally, consider joining a public speaking group such as the Toastmasters. Being in the same boat with others who fear presentations as much as you do may help you get over your fears so you can conquer any podium — or boardroom.
4. Practice, but forget the ‘perfect’
Practice reading your presentation in a smooth voice. Rather than trying for that elusive thing called perfection that never really seems to exist anyway, concentrate on sounding natural and avoiding “ums” and “ers.” That, plus speaking slowly enough to let your audience really get what you’re saying, is going to go a long way in making your presentation a successful one.
5. Have a back-up plan
Preparing trusty, clearly-written, hand out sheets stressing the crucial things to remember in your course content will save you if your electronic presentation tools fail you. This way, whether or not your charts and graphs do get broadcast without a hitch, your trainees will literally have a better grasp of your key points.
6. Revisit your training materials
Just like a roast, let your completed training course “rest” before going back to it. You may notice information to delete or add that escaped you before. Check for a logical, flowing order to your sections and again, put yourself in your trainee’s shoes.
7. Take your cues from the top
Be original, but also consider what successful higher-ups in your company do during training and presentations. Understand your company’s culture and don’t include anything in your materials that may be offensive or controversial.
8. Do have a sense of humour
Good-hearted humor can really help a dreary training course be more palatable for everyone involved. Again, don’t insult anyone — when in doubt, leave it out! And stay on target with your objectives and timing; you’re not there to deliver a comedy show.
Keep a running checklist during the project and check items off as you go. Lest you forget anything from home on the big day, place your materials and anything else you need in your car the night before or right at your front door along with your shoes.
10. Special delivery
Tell yourself that the presentation is going to go well. It probably will. After all, you’ve put a lot into it. Be calm and enjoy the experience as you arm your trainees with the knowledge they need in the workplace.
Write effective learning objectives and the rest will be easy!
Most people involved in designing a training program know that preparing a learning objective is an important initial step. Being able to describe what a learner is supposed to ‘get out of’ a training session establishes:
- Why they should attend the training
- What content they will be taught, and to what level of detail, and
- How they can be assessed to determine if they have correctly learnt what they needed to learn.
In my experience, however, I find people tend to deal rather glibly with the learning objective stage. Sure, they’ll write them, and the learning objectives will often be listed at the front of workbooks or slide presentations. But when it comes to concise statements of what a person will learn and how they’ll demonstrate that learning, the learning objectives often fall short.
Watch out for the ‘U-word’
A word I watch out for in learning objectives is the verb ‘to understand’. It often appears at the beginning of learning objectives, like this:
‘At the completion of this course, participants will:
- ‘understand the accounts receivable process’
- ‘understand how to install a thermal geo-membrane layer’
- ‘understand the Complaints Handling procedure’.
At first glance, these objectives might look ok. The problem with them, though, is that they’re quite abstract and not particularly measurable. How will participants demonstrate that they ‘understand’ what they’re meant to know? There’s no implicit way of evaluating, measuring or assessing if the objectives have been met or achieved by participants.
It’s easy enough to add the measurable dimension. The following objective, for example, does it:
- ‘At the completion of this course, participants will demonstrate their understanding of the accounts receivable process by correctly entering accounts into the ledger’.
… Or here’s the objective without the word ‘understand’ at all:
- ‘At the completion of this course, participants will be able to correctly enter accounts into the ledger’.
The goal, or ‘terminal objective’ is still for participants to ‘understand’ the accounts receivable process. However, each of these objectives now contains an implicit ‘enabling objective’; people will be required to demonstrate their understanding of the process by doing something, and doing it correctly.
It’s not semantics, it’s a question of precision
When I ask Instructional Designers why they use abstract verbs like ‘to understand’ in their objectives, they often reply that they ‘don’t want to scare the participants off’ by suggesting they’ll be tested. Or they say the training is simply to ‘raise awareness’ of a process or policy.
To me, training, to some degree or other, involves a transfer of knowledge and tests whether the transfer has taken place. This is particularly the case where a competency is being taught, but even if you’re just educating an audience, there’s room for comprehension activities or discussions to see if the key points have been learnt. If a session doesn’t test the transfer of knowledge in some form or other, I don’t believe its training, it’s an information session, or a speech, or something else.
So my advice is: If you’re writing training, take the time to write measurable learning objectives
Ok, we’ve established that a good set of learning objectives create the framework for a transfer of knowledge. What if you don’t have the time to write them?
I would argue that taking the time to craft a good set of learning objectives will actually save you lots of development time. To prove this point, look at our re-worked example again:
- ‘At the completion of this course, participants will demonstrate their understanding of the
accounts receivable process by correctly entering accounts into the ledger.’
It’s one sentence, but it contains a lot of design information:
- We know that participants attending the course are people who will be entering accounts receivable into the ledger.
- We know that we need to tell them or show them the correct process for entering accounts into the ledger and (potentially) demonstrate it
- We know that they will then need to demonstrate that they can enter accounts into the ledger.
- ·It’s implicit that there’ll need to be an exercise to test comprehension of the principles and application of the process (the next question the ID might ask is how many accounts would reasonably demonstrate this capability? What types of ‘typical’ accounts would we use in an exercise?)
- We know that we’ll need to assess the exercise to ensure the accounts are correctly entered.
So, right there in one learning objective you’ve got the recipe for the training, including the recipe for assessing participants. You could show this objective to various stakeholders and get their agreement to it, prior to developing the content. It’s then just a question of following the recipe to draft the session.
Even abstract concepts benefit from precise learning objectives. For example, let’s say you’re simply providing contextual information about a change in work practices.
Where you might be tempted to write:
- ‘At the completion of this course, participants will understand the reasons for the new garbage disposal policy’
… you could make the transfer of knowledge measurable by writing:
- ‘At the completion of this course, participants will be able to correctly explain the reasons for the new garbage disposal policy’.
See the difference? Even if you don’t intend to get each participant to explain the reasons, you have set up the objective so that the transfer of knowledge could be tested. The training you write will almost certainly leave the participants able to explain the new policy.
In this brief slide presentation, Jane Hart from the UK-based Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies outlines how social media is changing our appetite for training.
According to Jane, there are eight key characteristics of ‘Smart Workers’ which must be considered when designing training.