Course design 6: Do you want to inform, discuss, develop or what?

One of the most common mistakes among new trainers is to do with their own lack of clarity. It’s not enough to introduce subjects randomly in training – we need to know what we’re trying to achieve with each section of course delivery, how it fits into the overall ‘journey’ the trainees are to take and how best to get them through each step.

Sometimes we’ll use group discussion to make sure everyone is ‘on the same page’ and to check out any areas of contention that might need a little more work.

Sometimes we’ll be asking participants ‘closed’ questions that demand only a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to focus their thinking or to stimulate debate within small groups.

Sometimes we’ll use simple case studies to demonstrate how a principle might be applied in practice.

Sometimes we’ll use complex case studies to get people to stretch their thinking and understanding or to draw together several ‘threads’ we’ve already discussed.

Sometimes we want to inform.

Sometimes we want to discuss and raise awareness.

Sometimes we want to boost confidence by asking trainees questions they already know the answer to.

Sometimes we want to introduce confusion because the first stage of genuine learning is an admission that you don’t yet understand.

And sometimes we just want to give them a break – a bit of psychological downtime to assimilate the information covered so far.

Each of these different aspects of training has its place and none should be ignored. There is much more to group work, for example, than endless barrages of case studies.

So the question for today is simple….

Do you want to inform, discuss, develop or what?


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