Laurel and Associates, Ltd. – Madison, WI

Category Archives : curriculum design

Tip #697:  Where Training Design Goes Wrong

On November 14, 2017, Posted by , In curriculum design, By ,, , With Comments Off on Tip #697:  Where Training Design Goes Wrong

Boring and effective are mutually exclusive attributes in learning.” Michael Allen

I’m gearing up to teach an online course on How to Design Dynamic Learning curriculum. This has led me to consider the reasons why some training design results in ineffective training programs.

I came up with 35 reasons. In no particular order of importance, here they are:

  1. Wrong reason for the training;
  2. Wrong target group;
  3. Unclear goal;
  4. Wrong content;
  5. Wrong methods;
  6. Desired level of learning not identified;
  7. Learning activities cannot achieve the desired levels of learning;
  8. Heavy reliance on lecture and PowerPoint;
  9. Places all of the training content on PowerPoint slides;
  10. Lack of specific, observable and measurable learning objectives;
  11. Disconnect between objectives and learning activities;
  12. Over reliance on
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Tip #645: How to Receive and Incorporate Feedback

On October 31, 2016, Posted by , In curriculum design, By , , With Comments Off on Tip #645: How to Receive and Incorporate Feedback

“My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions.” Peter Drucker

There is a real difference between how an internal corporate curriculum designer and an external design consultant can receive and incorporate feedback from document reviewers.

An internal curriculum designer (ICD) can set deadlines for responses and reasonably expect the deadlines to be met. The ICD can specify and limit the type of feedback to corrections and suggestions. The ICD can use a corporate calendar to schedule a meeting to discuss any additional information or clarification that is needed.

It doesn’t work that way for an external design consultant (EDC). The EDC is contracted to create new curriculum and/or revise existing curriculum. In either … Read the rest

Tip #644: Questions, Patience and Pacing

On October 24, 2016, Posted by , In curriculum design, By ,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #644: Questions, Patience and Pacing

“To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are.” Eric Hoffer

In my work as a curriculum designer, I am frequently expected to do something with the content of a document that is unclear, incomplete, or ill considered.

My immediate reaction is to write an email asking one or more questions to obtain clarification and/or additional information, or prompt reconsideration. At the time, I believe that I only have one question to ask. This may be because I am an unrealistic optimist. (Is that redundant?)

As I read further into a document, I write another email each time I have another question. It never occurs to me to wait until I have closely … Read the rest

Tip #634:  How to Ensure Consistency in Training

On August 15, 2016, Posted by , In curriculum design, By ,,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #634:  How to Ensure Consistency in Training

“The secret of success is consistency of purpose.” Benjamin Disraeli

When we conduct training- for employees throughout our organization or for customers in different locations, etc., we want to be sure that they receive the same message and leave with the same knowledge and skills.

There are 16 separate actions you can take to increase the probability that your training programs will be the same- regardless of when and where the training occurs and who conducts the training:

  1. Design a lesson plan that clearly articulates the learning goals and objectives, as well as the type and duration of learning activities to accomplish those goals. If at all possible, involve the trainers who will be facilitating the program so they have
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Tip #4:  Treat the learner with respect.

On August 8, 2016, Posted by , In curriculum design, By , With Comments Off on Tip #4:  Treat the learner with respect.

There are only two immutable rules for a trainer. The first is to treat the learner with respect. This includes recognizing and respecting the learner’s previous experience, current expertise, and pressing interests and needs. The trainer can discover these through formal training needs assessments, informal e-mail queries, or introductory questions at the beginning of a session.  The workshop should be tailored to meet the learners’ needs. This also includes respecting the learner’s time by ensuring that there is good, relevant content and appropriate training methods that build or strengthen necessary skills; and using training methods that meet the needs of different learning styles. The trainer must also treat the learner with respect when interacting during the session. This means that … Read the rest

Tip #3:  Avoid negative transfer

On August 8, 2016, Posted by , In curriculum design, By , With Comments Off on Tip #3:  Avoid negative transfer

All trainers want what is learned in a workshop to “transfer” out of the classroom back into the participants’ lives. What trainers overlook is that the participants’ previous learning and experience will also “transfer” into the classroom.  It is imperative that a trainer consider whether this previous learning and experience can have a positive or a negative impact on new learning.  A trainer can build on “positive transfer”- but should do everything possible to avoid “negative transfer,” which can derail even the most well-designed and effectively presented training program.  In a basic computer skills class, the trainer can ask “common ground” questions* to see how many of the participants have had previous success in typing and in using a … Read the rest