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:
- 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 a deep understanding of the training intent and a sense of ownership.
- Design a participant manual that includes all of the content as well as participant directions for each learning activity.
- Create a facilitator manual that explains the key points and messages for the training program as well as the purpose, set up, facilitation and timing for all learning activities. This should also list all necessary audiovisual or facilitation materials and provide a room diagram.
- Annotate the table of contents for the participant manual to identify each learning activity and its time allocation to set up the activity, assign the activity and debrief the activity.
- Incorporate an activity to check learner retention (a quiz or questionnaire) to ensure the learning objectives have been achieved.
- Build in a participant evaluation that: (a) has the participants rate their degree of learning for each learning objective (a 1-5 scale is sufficient); (b) has the participants rate the entire training program; and (c) asks for comments regarding the facilitator, key learning, the program and any recommendations for change.
- Have all potential facilitators attend and participate in the training so that they can experience it from the participants’ point of view as well as observe how the training should be conducted.
- Immediately after the potential facilitators participate in the training, review the design decisions, areas of emphasis and training tips as you walk them through the facilitator guide and the participant manual.
- Give the facilitators an opportunity to practice facilitating sections of the training in a mock training, where they can receive feedback from the trainer and their peers.
- Have the facilitators practice co-facilitating the training program with the lead trainer.
- Videotape and label each section of the training (as facilitated either by the lead trainer during the training program or by the potential facilitators during their practice session). Place the videotapes on an accessible site for future review and reference by the facilitators.
- Make packets or boxes of any audiovisuals (PowerPoint slides, flip chart easels and paper, etc.), facilitation tools (colored markers, index cards, laser pointer, masking tape, etc.), tabletop items (participant name cards, kinesthetic objects, etc.) and participant handouts (prizes, certificates, etc.) so that each facilitator has everything needed to conduct the training program.
- Audit the first program that each facilitator conducts independently.
- Create a group chat room so the lead training and facilitators can debrief and share experiences, receive program or facilitation dates, and discuss how to resolve issues that arise as they conduct their training programs.
- Meet with the facilitators on a scheduled basis to discuss and plan any revisions necessary to the training program.
- Conduct refresher train-the-trainer programs as needed.
If you have any other ideas for how to ensure training consistency, please let me know and I’ll add them to this list.
May your learning be sweet.