Skills for journalists in print and digital media.

How to build a training module, Part 1

with 2 comments

Given staff reductions, few newsrooms have a training editor anymore. So here is a basic guide to building your own training module for newsroom managers still trying to provide effective training. This guide assumes you have specific skills to teach and a facilitator to lead the training.

The key to effective adult learning is to have specific skills to share that will help people perform better on the job. The key to effective training is to design modules that provide times for participants to practice using the new skills. The real learning occurs in the practice exercises. Together, these elements create strong motivation, an environment for effective learning, and greatly increase the odds that new skills covered in training will be taken back and used on the job.

Step 1: Identify learning objectives

Determine your learning objectives, the list of skills you want people to learn in a given session. One way to start is to complete this sentence:

By the end of this session, participants will be able to (DO WHAT?)_____________

The sentence should describe specific actions and outcomes. It is not enough to know or understand something. Training must focus on how to do something. Examples:

By the end of this session, participants will understand five principals of good writing. (Vague)

By the end of this session, participants will be able to identify five common writing mistake and how to correct them to improve copy. (Action)

Eventually, translate your goals for the session into clear learning objectives. Something like:

  • Identify five common writing mistakes, (1) passive voice, (2)  expletives, (3) petty modifiers, (4) stating what is not versus what is, (5) “verbicide.”
  • Correct the mistakes by revising and rewriting copy.

As you work to express the session’s objectives, keep in mind the limits of time. In a one-hour session, for example, one can probably cover five common writing mistakes, how to fix them, and provide time for participants to practice in an exercise. One of the most common mistakes in training is trying to cover too much in one session. With complex skills sets, you may have to develop a series of programs.

Part 2: Designing the module


Written by mroberts8

November 17, 2009 at 11:31 pm

2 Responses

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  1. […] More on this topic: Training on the edge of change. How to build a training module. […]

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    August 13, 2014 at 2:21 am

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