Once you have determined the learning outcomes in Step 2 and the best way to deliver the session in Step 3, the next challenge is to map out a basic draft agenda according to the allotted time frame. Agenda elements to include are the pre-session preparation, the session itself (opening, training, closing), and post-session follow up. A basic draft agenda for a half-day face-to-face or e-learning session is provided in the templates below.
Once the draft agenda timeframes are estimated, you can focus on shaping the activities and their logistics related to each learning outcome.
Pre-session preparation can enable learners to participate fully in the session. Develop an attractive pre-session package that participants look forward to completing in advance of the session. Items to consider for the covering note and package are shared in the templates section below.
The session begins where the pre-session activities left off. If your pre-session package was limited to a welcoming note and agenda, think about how and when you will distribute other materials related to the session, for example, a list of participants, resources, etc. There are three components to the session, no matter how it is delivered (face-to-face, online, etc.): the opening, the body or learning activities, and the closing.
Opening the Session
The opening sets the tone for participants to engage in the session and also with each other. Items to consider to get your session off to a good start are shared in the templates section below.
The Body of the Session: Learning Activities
The purpose of activities in the body of the session is to achieve the learning outcomes you identified, in ways that appeal to different participation styles and delivery methods, within the time frame allotted in your draft agenda. While you don’t need to be an expert in how adults learn, an overview of three key points can be helpful to ensuring that people are actively engaged in learning: taking in information, approaching the learning experience, and making sense of that experience.
- Taking in information – Some people prefer to take in information visually; some prefer to hear information rather than see it, and some are more kinesthetic and like a hands-on approach. The challenge for both online and face-to-face agenda activities is to include a range of pictures, displays, films, spoken words, sound and items to hold or make4.
- Approaching the learning experience – People approach the learning experience in different ways as well: some prefer to watch others and reflect on what they have observed (reflective observation) while others like to jump right in and do it themselves (active experimentation). The challenge for both online and face-to-face agenda activities is to include opportunities for participants to approach some of the learning activities in either way: watching and reflecting, and jumping right in5.
- Making sense of that experience – To transform their experience into something useful, some people prefer thinking, analyzing or planning (abstract conceptualization); others prefer feeling the concrete, tangible qualities of the world (concrete experience). The challenge for both online and face-to-face agenda activities is to include opportunities for participants to make their learning useful in either way: thinking and analyzing, and feeling aspects of their concrete worlds.
The templates below contain a list of different activities that reflect the above key points5. You can consider each activity according to its benefits, how participants take in information and approach learning, to transform their experience into something useful. One size does not fit all – people learn in very different ways! Your training activities need to reflect these differences.
Carefully protect enough time in the agenda for the session closing. Bringing closure to a session will help to reinforce participants’ learning and its transition into the workplace. Items to consider for your session closing are shared in the templates section below.
Post-session Follow Up
Post-session follow up with participants can help to reinforce and evaluate the session outcomes. Some things to consider to reinforce this knowledge transfer are shared in the templates section below.