Tip #97: Tailoring Training

Purchasing an existing training program can be very time and cost effective, particularly if you don’t have the time or expertise to design it yourself. You may still need to tailor the program to best meet the needs and culture of your organization, if the program was not originally designed with your organization in mind.

Sometimes, all it takes is revising the title page and replacing existing case studies with more organization- or industry-specific cases. That is a very easy fix and then you’re good to go!

A greater difficulty arises when the internal logic of the program, the order in which the content is introduced, does not align with your understanding or comfort.

Some programs allow you to reorganize modules into an order that is more appropriate from your perspective. Then, all you need to do is make sure that the Table of Contents of the program reflects the revised pagination and any accompanying Power Point presentation is revised to reflect the new content sequence.

If you cannot repaginate the participant materials, the next best thing might be to create a flow chart on a flip chart (as well as in the participant materials) that indicates the order in which the modules will be covered. Although you cover content out of pagination order, which can be awkward, the participants and you will have a clear signpost. If you explain at the beginning of the session that you have reorganized the sequence to make it easier to learn the material, the participants will be more open to the idea.

However, what can you do if the program allows no flexibility for tailoring- and you still find that the content sequence is awkward for you? A process map or wall agenda can help you and your participants stay on track, because it provides a constant visual of the content sequence. You can refer to the process map at any time, using your laser pointer to identify what content has been covered and what content is next on the program. I have found this to be invaluable, since I have very little experience training using other people’s materials.


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