Building a Training, Brick by Brick

Construction Workers Looking at RoofAfter a city planner comes up with a new idea for a building, and after the architect draws up the schematics of the new facility, the scaffolds are put into place and the construction begins.  First, the land is graded and cleared to make room.  Then, the foundation is established using cement, wood beams and posts, and hardware.  The walls are erected, electricity is wired, plumbing is installed, and a roof is placed atop the new structure.  Finally, the floors are laid, the walls painted, and the decorations hung.  Within a matter of months, this new building is a shiny new structure that adds to the landscape of a complex of facilities for a city government.  This new building will house departments, people, paperwork, and processes that allow the city government to function efficiently and effectively to serve the people.

A training cycle in business is much like this process.  If we follow the ADDIE model like we have been discussing, we are at the “building” part of this process.  The ADDIE model calls this part the “Develop” phase of instructional design.  This is where we use the information gathered in the Analysis and Design phases and construct the performance solution (or materials) to be implemented for our project.  We build the actual materials for the training solution, including presentations, assessments, exercises, etc., all according to the information we have from the first two phases.

We will cover our own tips on developing materials in future blog posts, but here’s the basic idea.  You need to find resources to use in your training (references, texts, process guides), and then decide how you want to deliver those.  Make your content using whatever tools you have at your disposal, whether it’s Microsoft PowerPoint, Adobe Captivate, or Windows Paint.  Determine the delivery method, which can be one or multiple media for presenting the materials (in person, online, eLearning, or by proxy).  Finally, the presentation you design should have one ultimate goal in mind: engage the learner.  Obviously these steps are not comprehensive, and they don’t have a specific order to them.  Additionally, Texas A&M has an interesting list of things to consider when working on development of materials for a training class.

Let’s take another construction example: building your own house.  Once you’ve got the specs in mind, you need to establish a process for actually building the house.  You can’t build the roof without walls, and you can’t put up the walls until the foundation is in place.  That would be a very strange-looking house.  The same goes for training materials.  The whole presentation could be a waste if you don’t have a solid template for your slide deck, or an exercise to engage your learners.  Your training course would collapse before your eyes, just like a wall with no solid foundation to stand on.

Can you think of some good tips to make good materials?  Ever had a situation in which you needed to think outside of the foundation?

Photo Credit: Industry Leaders Magazine

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