How to Design Great Training

15/05/2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Trainers,Training and Learning

How to Design Great Training

There’s often confusion about constitutes training design. Some people think it’s coming up with the big picture concept. Others think it’s the creation of PowerPoint slides and handouts. In my opinion, it’s both of those things and a whole lot more!

Great training events don’t just happen – they are carefully designed.

Great training design makes sure that there is a seamless link between what is in the key stakeholders heads, and what actually get delivered in the training room – regardless of who delivers that training, when or where.

It makes sure that delegates find the training relevant and engaging. More importantly, it makes it possible for them to apply their learning when they get back to work (though whether they actually do, depends on their motivation and the support/encouragement they receive from their own manager – what gets measured gets done)

So here’s a step-by-step guide to designing a great workshop.

  1. Start with the objectives. You cannot hope to write a great workshop course if you don’t know what it is your stakeholders are trying to achieve. Speaking to multiple stakeholders is valuable – look for commonality and contradiction to clarify exactly what needs to be achieved. Separate those things that are training issues from things that are process or performance management issues. Remember that training isn’t always the answer!
  2. Brainstorm all possible content that will meet these objectives. I tend to create many mind maps and litter my desk with post-it notes before finally settling on the content that will best meet the objectives.
  3. Structure this content using MASTER and thenadd relevant times that reflect the emphasis that the you feel ought to be put on various elements taking into account stakeholder needs.

MASTER is an accelerated learning principle first defined by Colin Rose. It stands for:

How to Design Great Training













  1. See what source material you have and can include. Avoid looking at what already got until the content and structure is clear in your mind. If you start looking at existing material before this point it is too easy to drift away from the agreed specification and start trying to make it fit what you already have. However, it is silly to reinvent the wheel if good existing material exists. Then, look at the gaps and work out what new content needs to be researched and developed.
  2. Bring it to life. Whether or not you subscribe to learning styles theory, good training is varied in its style. Make sure that there is a mix of activities and methodologies to appeal to different people and retain interest throughout the session.
  3. Write the programme! And here I do mean write the program – in detail, using full sentences and clear explanations, especially for exercises. Only by properly writing it can you make sure the context, interpretation and emphasis is right and truly bespoke to the client. I tend to write a detailed Trainer’s Guide and Delegate Workbook (which contains all the ‘content’ – increasingly this is digital), Activity Handouts and Visual PowerPoint slides (often these are just pictures, models or a few words – just enough to prompt the trainer). Slides should never drive the training – only ever support it. In addition, it’s good practice to produce Equipment and Supporting Material Lists, Joining Instructions (especially if there is pre-course work to complete) and an Action Planning Document.
  4. Have it Reviewed. Before running the workshop, ask a trainer to look at it – do they know what to do? If not, it’s not clear. Hen working as an associate, I picked up a course written by someone else and there was an instruction to ‘Tell the Admirable Crichton Story’ I didn’t know what this was, and there were no further instructions. Good training design is water-tight. Get it proof-read, and then walk your stakeholders through it. Make any final tweaks, and you are good to go!

Guest Blogger – Sheridan Webb is an experienced training designer that specialises in creating bespoke programmes for large-scale roll outs. She also provides ready to use bite-size materials under the Power Hour brand.


Need futher help on How to Design Great Training? Commment below