Course design 4: Know your audience

Knowing the client is important as we saw in the last episode. But beyond that it’s equally important to know the audience. After all it’s one thing to know that you’re delivering training for a Local Authority but that knowledge alone won’t help you decide whether to plan a course for senior social workers in child protection or home care service providers in elderly care services.

We need to know who the training is aimed at as well as who it’s delivered for.

There is no point introducing training on medication administration to workers who don’t deal with it. Similairly it’s not necessary to train psychiatrists in psychiatric diagnosis – they’re already well versed in that. It doesn’t matter how interested I might be in deliberate self harm (as it happens that really is a topic that fascinates me) – not everyone needs to know about endorphins, self harm as a coping strategy that releases emotional turmoil resulting from invalidation and trauma.

This is one of the many situations in training design and presentation when we need to be clear that our own individual opinions and preferences are much less relevant than the needs and philosophies of the client.

There is a limit to this, of course, and most of us have at one time or another withdrawn from training rather than become involved in something we disagree with but these are relatively rare extremes. More often than not disagreements between the interests and philosophies of the trainer and the client are much less significant than that.

In most cases all we need to do is remember that good trainers are able to ‘step aside’ and focus upon the topic at hand rather than their own personal opinions and bias.

So another of the keys to good and effective training is to know your audience.


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