A typical training, even lasting a few hours, can be divided into three stages: (1) start, (2) develop and (3) completion. Below you will find a brief description of these stages.
3.3.1 Start of the Training
The purpose of this step is to get to know the participants and the trainer, to explain the purpose of training and determine of the applicable rules, and thus build mutual confidence and motivation to learn. At this stage, you should ensure that:
- Participants get to know each other. This is especially important if participants have not met before. You can propose some form of presentation and using it as an example to introduce yourselves first. It can include, e.g. first name, school or organization which the participant represents and additional information about the experiences with the training topics, your favourite computer game, etc.
- Introduce yourself to the participants. In addition to the basic information, as a trainer you should tell them a little more information e.g. to explain what competencies you have related to the subject of training, what are your experiences as a trainer, as well as convey other information that will convince the participants that you are “right person for this job”.
- Ask participants what they would like to learn during the training. This can be done in many ways. The simplest is that the participants introducing themselves finish the following sentence: “During this training, I would like to learn …”. More complicated is the following: (1) give to the participants small post-it and ask them to write down on each of them one thing they would like to learn, (2) ask each participant to read what he / she wrote on post-it and pinned them, for example to a cork board, in such a way that the cards contain similar content were next to each other. This creates a “map of expectations”, which will figure out what participants especially want to learn (what content is most often repeated).
- Refer to the “map the expectations” and tell the participants which of these expectations will be fulfilled during the training, and which do not and why. It is apparent that during a training it is impossible to meet all expectations of all participants. Say it straight, and if it is possible to select an additional source of knowledge on topics that during this training will not be discussed.
- Tell the participants what is the training program, what are the topics of each session, and their duration. Hand out the printed program or hang it on the wall written on the flipchart sheet. Tell what hours you foresee a break and how long it will last.
- Set up with the participants the rules that will apply during training (contract). Knowledge of the rules reinforces the sense of security, and thus supports learning. In addition, jointly established rules allow the trainer to refer to them ( “together we agreed that …”), and thus you did not take all responsibility for its application. The easiest way to determine the list of rules, it to propose a few of them, explain what they are and include some proposals from participants (“What would you have added to this list?”). A more sophisticated may be as follows: (1) ask participants to recall other trainings they participated (lessons at school, extracurricular activities, etc.), and reflect on what helped them in learning, which meant that they felt safe and wanted to get involved, (2 ) ask them to formulate a proposal for rules that would make them feel so during this training, such as: “when I appear in front of a group, it is difficult for me to collect my thoughts, I would suggest that we do not interrupt each other, when we want to say something”, (3 ) ask each participant in turn to suggest one of the principles, and finally create the list – preferably no longer than 5-7 rules – which seems to be most exhaustive, (4) say that this list will be able to be supplemented, if during the training turns out that an important principle has been omitted.
Examples of rules during the training
- We say the first name
- Everyone can express their opinion
- We listen carefully
- Do not judge others, but we do not have to aggree with their views
- We can at anytime ask a question, if we don’t understand something
- We have turned off mobile phones
- There are late without a good reason
At this stage, you use a planned training methods so that participants have developed competencies described in training goals. This means that participants perform various tasks (individually, in pairs or in groups), during which they acquire knowledge, skills and shape their attitudes. As a trainer, you should:
- Give participants the instructions associated with a given task. Tell them what is the purpose of the task, suggest the way in which they can achieve this purpose, as well as specify the time that they have available. For more complex tasks, print and distribute to participants the instructions describing the steps associated with the execution of the task. It is not only that the participants know what to do and at in what time, but also to take responsibility for the task and independently undertake the related decisions. Announce that if they do not understand it, before they ask you, they should try to find the answer in a conversation with other participants. If you find that participants have sufficient competencies associated with learning, let them to achieve the expected purpose of the task using different method than suggested by you. During a typical training most of the tasks participants perform in groups (in this way they learn social skills). It is important that everyone is involved in work, but during some of the tasks selected participants fulfil additional roles, e.g. a leader or person responsible for presenting results of work to other participants. In such cases prepare relevant instructions, explaining what are the roles and responsibilities which are associated with them.
- Provide conditions for the execution of tasks. Select the participants a space in which they can accomplish a given task, e.g. tables prepared to work in groups. Provide materials and equipment needed. Leave them to decide how and when they want to do it.
- Monitor the progress of the tasks. Observe how the participants perform tasks. Pay attention to how they communicate, whether they are all involved in the work of the group, how they fulfil their roles. If necessary, help participants by providing additional explanations. Try not to interfere excessively in the course of their work, do not try to do something instead of them. In general, it is better if they can act on their own even if they commit mistakes (“sometimes you win and sometimes you learn”). Remember, that the more autonomy you give the participants, the more time you have to monitor their work, and thus more space to provide them with feedback on the progress of work in groups.
- If necessary, make changes to the approved training plan. The result of the monitoring may lead you to modification or to change of the training plan. Do this if you come to the conclusion that some needs of the participants proved to be more important than it appeared at the stage of needs assessment, or if the method you planned does not fully allow for the achievement of the training objectives. In order not to miss such a situation, you can:
- In the middle of the training (if it lasts longer than one day, at the end of the day) to ask the participants of short statements about what they have learned and whether it is knowledge that is useful to them in circumstances in which they intend to use it (e.g. trying to get a job, realizing a project at school or NGO, etc.).
- Hang on the wall flipchart sheet, where participants can at any time to write down some suggestions e.g. “I’d like to get to know the other applications for film processing, than those previously met.”
- Provide in the form of a online survey question “Do you learn skills you really need?”, with a simple scale e.g. from 1 to 10, where participants can select their answer.
- Allow participants to present the results of the tasks. The method of presentation depends on whether the participants worked individually, or in groups, as well as how much time you have (the shorter the training, the less time you have for the presentations). Remember, however, that does not make sense to propose tasks, if the occurrence and effects will not be able to be presented. If participants are to “learn from mistakes”, it follows that, first of all, at this stage. If participants work in groups, the effects can be presented by one person selected by the group. His / Her statements may supplemented by other members of the group. Another option is to present the results by all the members of the group, who share the roles (parts of the presentation). Here are a few methods of presentation that you can use:
- Writing about the effects on the flipchart sheet. Text can be enhanced with diagrams, graphics, etc.
- If the effect of group work is digital, participants can use the projector (e.g. a powerpoint presentation, the profile they created on a social networking site, for example, Linkedin, photographs, video, etc.).
- Asking participants about playing out scenes, illustrating e.g. the course of an interview with the employer.
- Summarize the course and effects of the tasks (reflection). Suggest participants some form of summary of the course and effects of the completed tasks. The course of the task is the way in which the participants tried to achieve the expected results. To help participants reflect on the course of the task you can ask e.g. the following questions: “What are the methods you used to implement the task?”, “What worked, and what would you do differently in the future, pursuing a similar task?”, “Were there any difficulties?”, “If so, how did you deal with them?”, “How was the communication in the group?”, “Was it easy to get along?”, “How did you make decisions?”. Effects of the tasks are what have been achieved. To help participants reflect on the effects of the task you can ask e.g. the following questions: “What did you achieve?”, “To what extent did you achieve the purposes established in the instruction?”, “Are you satisfied with the results?”, “How could you improve the quality of carrying out a similar task next time?”
Make sure to leave enough time for the ending of the workshop. The ending is as important as all other parts of the workshop, so in case people already start to pack and talk to each other ask them to focus for a few moments more. The ending of the workshop should involve the following elements:
- Tell the group that the workshop is about to end;
- Summarize on what has been done by stating again the topic and reminding the main parts of the workshop;
- Evaluate the workshop with the participants. This can be done orally by making a round asking each participant to share with the group on what he/she has learned from the workshop, what he/she want to put into practice after the workshop. To the oral evaluation a written evaluation can be added where you ask the participants to fill in a questionnaire, where they can anonymously state on how they feel about the workshop;
- Mention to the group on what your impressions and feelings are about the workshop;
- Remember that from each group and workshop we lead we will learn something, therefore show your respect and thank the group for the workshop;
- Say goodbye and leave your contact information in case you want the group to be able to get in touch with you when they have questions regarding the topic of the workshop.