Designing effective training interventions

effect-training-interventionsWhy design effective training interventions?

Training is really about the communication of ideas. If a trainer is communicating with their participants–by structuring and delivering content in a logical sequence–learning will occur.

Effective training interventions have eight steps. However, you don’t necessarily need to complete all the steps in one day or unit. The trainer should consciously decide whether or not to include any of the following steps when designing a training intervention.

I. Getting the participants’ attention

Starting with a quote, picture or story that is related to the presentation’s topic immediately gets and focuses the group’s attention.

II. Stating the training objectives

Stating the training objectives at the beginning of an intervention serves two purposes. It tells the trainees:

  1. What they will be able to do at the end of the module and
  2. Why the training is important.

Objectives should start with action verbs (describe, demonstrate, explain) and should be measurable. For example, demonstrate the appropriate method for establishing a wetbed nursery.

III. Determining how you will teach the objectives

First ask yourself, “What information or skills are needed by the learner to accomplish the training objectives?” Then ask yourself, “How is the best way to convey the required information and skills?” (e.g., lecture, practical, exercise).

IV. Showing examples or demonstrating concepts

Real examples and demonstrations enable participants to learn about a topic and to see examples of the desired product, process, or behavior.

V. Checking that the participants understand

Checking for understanding provides the trainer with regular opportunities to assess comprehension of materials presented throughout the module. If participants can’t demonstrate knowledge, it’s a cue for the trainer to revisit the topic. Ask questions or give an exercise to check that the participants understand the concepts before moving on to new concepts.

VI. Guiding the participants

Guided practice allows participants to try new knowledge under the supervision of the trainer, thus increasing the probability of success and accuracy. An example might be where a trainer is assisting a participant in the use and reading of a Leaf Color Chart.

VII. Allowing participants to try it on their own

Once instructed in the material and guided through an example of the practice by the trainer, the participant is given the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the material on their own.

VIII. Summarizing and evaluating

By providing a good summary of the training session, participants can walk away with a nice and neat package of what was accomplished during the training intervention. An evaluation assesses the degree to which the training accomplished the objectives for each learner. This could be as simple as “Today, we learned about establishing a wetbed nursery. Can anyone tell me the three major steps we discussed?”

Developed with input from AD Atkinson, MA Bell, and the Training Resource Center at Eastern Kentucky University