Why did I choose this tool?
I started to think about the way I choose this method and which factors are influencing me as a trainer to choose one or another method. Of course, the first place is for my educational/learning goal, what would I like to achieve and which method or methodology would fit to my learning goal the best.
By building this tool, I thought about other circumstances, factors and leaving the “achievement of learning goal” a bit aside. A different method could be used if you have time. Resources are limited if the group is 45 pax and if you work alone and the group is up to 5 pax
How does this apply to being a trainer?
Trainers deliver trainings and learning activities, which usually has a typical structure of what is the learning process about and how the trainer could support the participants to achieve the learning goals. This planning of the training session could let the trainer think about his/her capacity and the way of thinking while choosing the method.
When selecting methods and preparing a program, it is recommended to consider different aspects. (see other tools prepared to train your skill in choosing, adapting or creating appropriate method). Here is an exercise (there) where you can train yourself in choosing appropriate method, regarding some different circumstances and conditions.
Applying the appropriate method is strongly related with a clear vision of the whole training course. Before choosing, adapting or creating a method you should:
1. Make an assessment of learners’ needs and their learning goals. What do your learners need to know and be able to learn?
2. Set up training goals and objectives. What is the aim of your training course?
3. Check all the constraints and resources of the training (budget, time, number of learners, training physical spaces etc.) – the checklist will be provided in this e-learning exercise.
4. Design the training course and make a development of the content. According to the learners different needs and training requirements, constrain you to build the necessary activities to reach your training goals. Everybody learns differently – knowing this you will design appropriate learning activities.
For example: training course/module could consist of an online preparation; 3 days training session; 1 week of practice with a couching and 2 days evaluation meeting.
5. Put the content to each activity.
6. Choose an appropriate method for each training activity according to the content and training goals
7. Be flexible to make changes of the activities and methods
The following links could help to deepen the knowledge how to select, adapt or create an appropriate method.
How to apply it in everyday life:
Planning a training program/session
Think about simple training session you would like to implement. Don’t think too much and too deep as this is just an exercise to stretch your thinking.
The following framework may be useful when planning any facilitated session or series of sessions. The facilitator should begin his/her plan by working under each of the following headings:
- Write down an overall aim of the training session.
Overall aim. What group members want to achieve, both as a task and process. (For example to create a plan of work for a year).
- Formulate specific objectives
Details of the aims of the session(s). It helps to break the aims down into constituent parts. So the plan might be read as it follows:
To establish the group’s needs;
To establish the group’s priorities.
- When you set the aim and objectives. Now the time is to plan how you will achieve this. What kind of methodology, working approach will you use and what kind of methods could help you to do so?
- At this stage name one working approach: ….
For example: I would like to involve people in creating ideas of the topic.
Write down in words you would understand the meaning, it is not necessary to be very scientific, it is much important to understand your approach of working.
- Now it is a time to think one method per session. We do provide the guidelines of the training session but you can think about the different way to divide training in sessions.
Generic content of the training session:
i) Opening slot (usually called a round where members get to say their name).
ii) Introductions (to each other).
iii) Session outline (according to planned objective).
iv) Each exercise, question and group formation showing allocated time.
v) Next step slot (chance for group to plan what they want to do next).
vi) Evaluation slot (opportunity for feedback on session and assessment of achievement of stated objectives).
vii) Closing slot (particular space to finish the session and close the group).
Methods – the techniques, exercises and materials to be used. For example, group discussion, role-play, and games.
- OK, well done. You are almost prepared. But wait, something is missing…
Here are some circumstances that we recommend you to think about, before building the program and choosing appropriate methods. Of course, not all the circumstances and conditions are mentioned here, so feel free to think about more aspects that may influence your choice of the method.
- Size of the group. Will you change your chosen methods if the group of participants consists of just 5 pax? Or it is 65 pax attending your training session? How the methods will be changed? Or the method will be the same but you will change the organization and coordination of the method, when how?
- International group. Will there be any changes if the group consists of people coming from different countries?
- Physical capabilities. Will you change methods if you know that there will be some disabled people?
- Time. This is only 2 hours session. How will you change the methods?
- Imagine you are implementing the session and in the middle of your session (see which method it could be on this time. (By “see”, I’m inviting you to look what methods you primary thought/wrote down). So in the middle of the session, you see that you’ve “lost the group”. They became lazy and not motivated (if the method is active) or they started to be bored (if it’s more passive method according to your program). What will be your actions? Do you have some ideas, methods in your pocket or other tactics how to bring back the necessary level of energy? What will be your actions?
- Imagine you came to the organization to deliver this planned training session and there is only one office room with working places. Your group consists of 10 pax. What would you do? How would you deal with this situation?
- Did you use this “stretching” practice in planning the learning activity?
- How easy and fast you were in thinking about different method? Did come up like “pop – corns” or you needed more time to invest?
- What are the main differences from your practice when you plan training session?
- How this exercise could help you in choosing the appropriate method?
Think critically, evaluate all factors and be prepared for the method application and improvisation. Stretch your minds while choosing and adopting the method with perceptions “if”.