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Training Should Result in Work Products

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I often re-work training agendas, so they are no longer theoretical presentations.  My goal is that they become a combination of new skills and actual work with an outcome, a deliverable or a decision.  Outcome-driven training invests participants and leadership in the process, reflects the best-practices of adult learning, and jump-starts projects or campaigns.

The agenda re-work usually involves:

  • An opening about the goals or expected outcomes (often done by a leader)
  • A brief presentation including new information that applies to the discussion
  • A discussion that is facilitated among the participants
  • A process to work to consensus
  • The identification of the next steps for the group to take or recommend

I have used this approach with a committee to get them to make decisions about website content, communication plans, advocacy campaigns, community-based programs and infrastructure projects.  The success of outcome-based training depends on several factors including:

Outcome or goals?

The outcome should be clear to participants in advance.   This will help them to understand that the goal is not to have a philosophical conversation or to re-visit previously decisions.  If the audience will not take a trainer or facilitator seriously, the organization’s leadership should present this.

Who is in the room?

The leadership of the organization needs to decide on whether participants are decision-makers, designated team members, or doers. All of the necessary people should be in the room,  so the discussion and the decisions happen at the same time.

What information must be conveyed to the group?

This is often included in the materials and presentation, so participants are familiar with the issue, best practices or skills required.  It is helpful to cover the material that is difficult to understand or is new to the participants.  The trainers and presenters will need to discuss this in advance with the leadership or participants.  Although many trainers surprise their audience at the event with their presentation, it is often better to share this information in advance, so participants have time to process it.  This helps to generate learning, discussion and results.

Realistic timing?

Is this something that can be discussed, planned or decided in the time allotted at the meeting?  If  this is not possible,  the activity can be divided into  shorter discussions over a series of sessions or days.

Next steps?

Capture the momentum with a discussion of next steps.  Does the outcome require leadership approval?  Are there current work assignments?  When is the next meeting and who will call it?