Designing a robust training program for your trainees

Creating a training program is an essential first step in upskilling trainees. It is critical that the course material is tailored and well structured to ensure the program meets all its goals. This means a robust training program is developed backwards. You begin by asking, "What do I want trainees to be able to do after the training?" This question prompts the kind of design used and how to evaluate the design used. Learning is said to be robust if the knowledge and skills acquired are retained long-term, can be transferred across situations, and propels future learning.

For a more in-depth understanding of a robust training program, let us break it down:

1. Goal

As mentioned earlier in the introduction, a training program needs to be grounded on a particular objective. What do you wish to see your trainees leave with after the program? The goal of a training program can align with the organization's goals or a specific need. To set a goal, first, think of "Why?" Why are you setting a particular aim? Why is this important for your firm at this specific moment?

Then look at your current situation and identify any gaps. What is preventing you from achieving that goal? What can you add to achieve that goal? This is where your training comes in. Training aims to fill the gap between your current situation and your targets.

Setting goals should be S.M.A.R.T. Your goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. An example of a goal could be to have a course completion rate of 80% within three weeks. The specificity of this goal comes from including the percentage of completion you wish to achieve. This also makes it easier to evaluate once the work is complete.

2. Pre-test and post-test

Think of a training program as the vehicle that moves you from Point A to Point B. Point A is your current standing with some gaps, and Point B is your desired result. However, how would you know if you have successfully arrived at Point B? Pre and post-tests are the answer. Before delivering a training program, we recommend testing trainees on their knowledge of the topic. This allows you to ascertain trainees' knowledge and skill levels before training. After setting up the pre-test, trainees will then go through the course. After this, you should conduct a post-test to ensure it is successful. Has the prior knowledge and skills increased? Was the content understandable?

3. Length of modules

You have identified your gap and the plan is to fill it in with training. However, these gaps might be huge, and you might require several modules to cover them. Although the knowledge areas could have much information, we recommend breaking them into shorter chunks. Humans generally tend to have short attention spans, which should be considered when developing course modules. Creating a training module that learners can complete within fifteen to thirty minutes is ideal and hits that sweet spot.

4. Interactivity

A collection of avatars

Another thing to understand when designing training programs is that you need to engage with your trainees. You want to ensure that your training course is enjoyable and easier to understand and remember. To achieve this, you can include games and assessments. The assessments could be numerical, fill in the blanks, or multiple choice. There are several ways you can make your training more enjoyable regarding gamification. For example, instead of a simple login, you can include a 'create an avatar' feature. This allows trainees to edit their avatars to suit their personalities and profiles. Also, there can be a point system as people progress through the modules. An example is a scenario where there is a foundational model that needs to be understood before moving to the next module. The modules can be arranged such that completion of the foundational model gives the learner points, and these points unlock the next module.

5. Assessing whether your training program is robust

You can assess your training program's robustness with various metrics. Some e-learning platforms provide insights into user activity, time spent on modules, and more. All these are valuable data points in arriving at inferences and conclusions regarding how your learners interact with your course material. If you have a low completion rate, you could validate this by looking at student performance on assessments or if the material was too difficult to digest. The goal is to investigate the reasoning behind the data and ask the “why's.” With metrics given from an e-learning platform, the “why” needs to be asked to get more in-depth knowledge.

6. Survey

Surveys are a great tool to get answers to the “why” questions. Surveys differ from assessments but are equally important in evaluating your training. Most e-learning platforms, such as Chalkboard Education, allow you to deploy a survey to your learners. In these, you get to understand the reasoning behind the data given from the platform. This data can be actionable data that allows you to improve your training.

Why you need a robust training program

A training program needs the above elements to transfer knowledge to learners efficiently. The robustness of a training program is not a one-time process but an iterative one. It starts with a clear goal. Then elements of assessments, short but effective modules, assessments, and gamification are incorporated to make them. And the surveys and post-assessments help make you return to the drawing board and integrate positive changes from the data obtained.

About Chalkboard Education

Chalkboard Education provides a mobile-based, offline-first Learning Management System tailored for underserved communities' training. Lightweight, inclusive, and complete with full analytics capabilities, Chalkboard Education helps you reach your beneficiaries everywhere in the World seamlessly. Currently used in 12+ countries in Africa and South and North America, Chalkboard Education is available worldwide.

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