Training Materials Design Analysis

Course Design Analysis - Design is at Heart

 

Quality Control Process and Critical Design Choices

 

At Skills Converged we carry out extensive analysis, evaluation and testing to make sure our training courses are well constructed and can be easily delivered by trainers. We have high standards and use detailed quality guidelines to make sure all courses are consistent and trainers can easily pick up the content and deliver a course. Feedback from our customers, trainers and delegates are constantly collected and fed back to our course designers which are in turn used for the development of future courses. The following illustrates some of the key areas we consider when designing and developing our high-quality training materials:

 

Load Balancing: Overwhelmed

Too much information can be exhausting. Some exercises might be intense and mentally engaging. When people, are tired they can’t learn, so it is important to follow a difficult exercise with light content, sometimes even with humour or stories to let delegates relax and regain energy before leading them to the next topic. Topics in our courses are always balanced against each other and sequenced appropriately to make sure they are not overwhelming.

Load Balancing: Overwhelmed

 

 

Load Balancing: Undersupplied

If the content seems obvious, people usually switch off and start looking anywhere but at the trainer. People remember a boring course for a long time and will avoid using similar services in the future. We don’t want to give you a course that your delegates find boring. When designing our training courses, we make sure all sessions have interesting and non-obvious content so that people with various abilities can always pick up something useful they didn’t know before. We rigorously test the boredom level of our courses when delivering to different people to maximise the appeal of the content. We also obtain a lot of feedback from our customers to make sure this requirement is satisfied.

Load Balancing: Undersupplied

 

 

Energy Management

We structure the course around Breaks to make sure that people have enough energy to learn or participate in exercises. For example, we avoid theoretical content after lunch, because it is likely to put people to sleep. Energy management is mainly achieved through experimentation over course deliveries and from feedback from our customer. We analyse how delegates progress during the course and at what point they get tired. We use this knowledge and feed it back to specific and generic course design.

Load Balancing: Undersupplied

 

 

Pre-Delivery Course Analysis

Every course is systematically analysed to make sure it adheres to Skills Converged quality standards. Training Materials must satisfy two fundamental needs:

  • Delegates must be able to learn as much as possible on a given topic in the short amount of time available in the course.
  • A trainer must be able to pick up the content easily and know how to deliver the course with minimal effort. This requires clear instructions for the trainer to know how to pace the course, what to say, what to ask and what responses to expect from delegates.
Pre-Delivery Course Analysis

 

 

Post-Delivery Course Analysis

After every course delivery, we collect information on delegate satisfaction, expectations, acquired skills, trainer feedback, pacing, ease of delivery, ease of exercise execution and many other key parameters. These are collected in a database and are fed back to training designers which in turn improve the courses. This process is iterative and is applied every time a course is delivered. We also collect feedback from our customers so we can improve the courses and the design process.

Post-Delivery Course Analysis

 

 

Timing Analysis

We carry out extensive timing and pacing analysis to make it easy for trainers to use the training materials for their specific needs and number of delegates they have. As the size of a group goes up, certain elements may take longer such as group discussions or exercises. In addition, a trainer may prefer to spend more time on a certain topic for a specific group of delegates. To cater for all of these needs, during course design we identify certain parts as optional and provide course specific guidelines on how to run the course to satisfy different needs.

Timing Analysis

 

 

Matched Expectations

Delegates have certain expectations when attending a course. A course must be designed and advertised in such as way to correctly satisfy this expectation. The feedback collected from course deliveries and also from our customers who purchase training materials is used to make sure this requirement is satisfied.

Matched Expectations

 

 

Course Extension and Reduction Flexibility

As with all courses from Skills Converged, trainers can easily modify the content, add or remove parts. For example, sometimes trainers have a requirement to deliver a two day course or a half-day course. Since each course consists of a number of well defined sessions, it is easy for a trainer to choose a number of critical sessions and use them for a short course delivery. On the other hand, optional exercises, exercise variations and content extensions provided in the training materials allow trainer to extend the course beyond the original advertised length.

Course Extension Reduction Flexibility

 

 

Lecture Avoidance Measure

An important area that Skills Converged is particularly concerned about is to design training materials in a way to systematically prevent trainers from using a lecturing style when delivering a course. A training course is not a lecture. Numerous studies show that lecturing is a far less effective method in comparison with interactive training when skill transfer is critical. Unfortunately not all trainers follow this methodology. In addition, even those who are familiar with this concept may easily fall back into lecturing mode since it is what most people are used to. As a course designer, we consider lecture avoidance to be a critical parameter. Hence, we structure and design our training courses to maximise interactivity and use extensive question/answer techniques to help trainers avoid the lecturing style systematically. We use Lecture Avoidance Measure during course design and delivery to make sure courses would adhere to specific Skills Converged standards.

 

Lecture Avoidance Measure

 

 

Memory Test: Repetition

Experience and learning theory tells us that to learn we need to repeatedly go over a certain content or skill. Every repetition energises the neurons in our brain and makes it easier to acquire the skill and remember the content. When developing our training courses, certain critical topics are repeated throughout the course and visited from different angles across multiple sessions. This revisiting serves two purposes. One is that the repetition helps the delegates to remember the content and the second is that delegates will unconsciously take that content more seriously since if it is repeated so many times, they would assume that it must be an important topic.

Memory Test Repetition

 

 

How our Training Materials are Made

 

The Making of Our Training Materials

Creating training materials is both a science and an art. We use the latest research in the fields of psychology, IT, social sciences, management and other related topics to create a comprehensive course which can make a difference for the delegates.

In addition, we also use design principles to make the training material visually and artistically interesting. By providing a pleasant, entertaining and educational course, we can maximise the efficiency of delivery and the retention of the content once delivered.

The following concepts describe the underlying structure and development of our high-quality training courses and demonstrate how each feature helps you to deliver a more memorable and effective training:

  • All courses are designed with the learner at the centre of the learning process which means that our courses are extremely interactive and include many exercises.
  • We use the TAP Training methodology and Accelerated Learning throughout the design stage. This helps to provide a familiar structure for trainers to learn about the course quickly and know how to deliver it to get maximum results.
  • There are a series of instructions at the beginning and at the end of each session to make sure that the delegates will understand why they need to learn the topic, where they can use it and how it could be applied to their real-world problems.
  • Specific Course Guidelines provided for each course have instructions on the general delivery of the course such as preparation, what to focus on, pre-assignments and so on. You are also advised on setting the correct pace and how to go through the break times during the course.
  • Slides are designed to be visually engaging with many images and diagrams all serving to deliver a memorable message.
  • Complex concepts or step-by-step guides are explained with useful slide animations.
  • All courses include a comprehensive workbook that delegates can use and keep after the course as a reference much like a book. This focuses the delegates’ attention during the course on learning the content rather than note taking.
  • Blank forms and relevant content for exercises are included in the workbook to minimise the distribution of lots of separate handouts. This helps the printing and binding of the training materials while also making it easier for the delegates to maintain their content in one place.
  • Sometime it is necessary to provide handouts so delegates can easily refer back to the content in the workbook while using the handouts or forms as they through the exercises. 
  • Memory tools such as cut outs are provided for trainers to use during some exercises. Comprehensive notes explain what the trainer should do before the course to prepare them and then how to use them while training.
  • Sessions are designed as independent modules. You can combine any number of sessions from different courses and make a new course based on your needs or use them to extend a course you already have. We use the "sectioning feature" of MS PowerPoint to group slides and further facilitate the organisation of slides into distinct sessions so you can easily move them around if you need to. 
  • Trainer notes contain a set of standard tags that help the trainer to know what needs to be done at specific points. These tags are common to all courses and are defined in the General Course Guidelines. This facilitates common tasks such as initiating an exercise based on given instructions or dividing the delegates into pairs and so on.
  • The slide notes or trainer script are designed based on the latest principles of accelerated learning. To get maximum results, a tutor must keep asking questions rather than telling the delegates about new concepts. This way the delegates are encouraged to think of solutions themselves and are more likely to learn and remember the content afterwards. All trainer scripts contain a series of questions which the trainer should ask the delegates and answers that the trainer should expect to receive. A trainer can easily expand a topic by asking more related questions until delegates have delivered the right answer.