Training Should Result in Work Products
Training agendas with a mixture of short explanations and evidence and practical applications with work sessions are often the best way to turn training applicable after it is over. Outcome-driven training invests participants and leaders in the process, reflects the best practices of adult learning, and jump-starts projects or programs with deliverables.
The agenda typically 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 toward 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 previous decisions. If the audience does not take a trainer or facilitator seriously, the organization’s leadership should present this.
Who is in the room?
The organization’s leadership must decide whether participants are decision-makers, designated team members, or doers. All necessary people should be in the room, so the discussion and the decisions happen simultaneously.
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 presence, 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.
Is this something that can be discussed, planned, or decided in the time allotted at the meeting? If this is impossible, the activity can be divided into shorter discussions over several sessions or days.
Capture the momentum with a discussion of the next steps. Does the outcome require leadership approval? Are there current work assignments? When is the next meeting, and who will call it?