Tip #813: Action versus Intention

On March 9, 2020, Posted by , In curriculum design, By , With Comments Off on Tip #813: Action versus Intention

“My father taught me that you can read a hundred books on wisdom and write a hundred books on wisdom, but unless you apply what you learned then its only words on a page. Life is not lived with intentions, but action.”  Shannon Alder

For years, I’ve insisted that the lead-in to the learning objectives should be: “During the workshop, the participants will... “ My rationale is that skill-building training should ensure the active practice of those skills during the program, where the participants can build some confidence in their ability to use their new skills. This is particularly important, considering the fact that post-session, most participants will jump back into their busy schedules with little to no time … Read the rest

Tip #719: When Organizing Principles Confuse

On April 30, 2018, Posted by , In curriculum design, By ,, , With Comments Off on Tip #719: When Organizing Principles Confuse

“Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.” Henry Miller

I had a true AHA! moment last week that an organizing principle can sometimes confuse learners. For years, when I have taught trainers how to create specific, observable and measurable learning objectives, I’ve shown them the final product first. As a matter of fact, I’ve shown them several final products. And invariably, the participants’ design process was less than stellar.

Let me provide some context.

I teach a three stage learning objective design process. First, based on a needs assessment and the resulting learning goals, we identify the key content for a lesson plan using a template I provide. Second, we determine the desired … Read the rest

Tip #564: The Power of Two in Training

On April 13, 2015, Posted by , In curriculum design, By ,,,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #564: The Power of Two in Training

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” Albert Einstein

It is interesting how often the number two recurs in participatory training design, facilitation and evaluation.

In the design phase:

  • There are two basic types of lesson plan formats: (1) the outline format and (2) the table format.

Although they are laid out differently, they have the same components: program title, learning goals, learning objectives, total length of the program, learning activities to achieve each learning objective (organized in learning modules that ultimately comprise the agenda), the duration of each module, handout materials, audiovisual aids and equipment needed, and a means to evaluate if learning has successfully occurred.

  • There should
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Tip #375: How to Choose Verbs for Effective Learning Objectives

On May 16, 2011, Posted by , In curriculum design, By ,, , With Comments Off on Tip #375: How to Choose Verbs for Effective Learning Objectives

“Begin with the end in mind.”Stephen R. Covey

Learning objectives should explain in specific, observable and measurable terms what the learners will do to (a) learn specific skills and (b) demonstrate that they have learned them. This entails using active verbs that are sufficiently clear that they do not require additional verbs to explain what they mean. If the verbs are vague, the trainer will have no way to verify if the desired learning has occurred.

Unfortunately, it is very common to see lesson plans with learning objectives that use verbs that are vague and unclear, stating that the learners will: “know” or “understand” certain knowledge or skills. Without a second more active verb to clarify what the desired learning … Read the rest

Tip #362: How to Build Learners’ Confidence in Their Own Competence

On February 14, 2011, Posted by , In curriculum design, By ,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #362: How to Build Learners’ Confidence in Their Own Competence

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” Arthur Ashe

If learners lack confidence in their mastery of new learning when they leave the classroom, they are much less likely to apply this new learning back at their work site. As a result, the prime mission of every trainer should be to build the learners’ confidence in their own competence.

There are three closely related approaches that a trainer can take to accomplish this. Together, all three approaches will ensure that the learners have the preparation they need.

First, plan for the learners to demonstrate their learning in the classroom. When designing the curriculum, the learning objectives should identify what the learners will do … Read the rest

Tip #260: Learning versus Training

For a long time now, I have emphasized this key message in each and every train the trainer workshop: the training program is about the learner, not the trainer. And each time, as I’ve shown participants how to develop learning objectives, I’ve had to continually remind them that learning objectives identify what the learner will do during the session, not what the trainer will do.

Well, I’ve finally figured out what I’ve been doing wrong- and it has to do with a disconnect between my message and my semantics.

For example, I originally created and taught the following six-step LESSON planning process:



3. S ELECT the … Read the rest