Skills for journalists in print and digital media.

How to build a training module, Part 2

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Step 2: Design the program

In its most basic form, an effective adult training module should follow this basic outline.

1: Welcome and introduction to topic. Explain the context that makes this training valuable and what skills will be covered to help people do a better job.

2: Show the problem, need or new opportunity this training is to address. This may include examples of bad work, information on what the lack of skills results in, or (if a brand new skill and outcome) how the new skills would be used and what the new outcomes will accomplish.

3: Share the new skills. This is the mini-lecture portion of the program. Deliver clear descriptions or explanations of what is involved.

4: Demonstrate how to perform or use the new skills. Ask for questions and clarification. Check for understanding.

5: Exercise: Participants are given a change to practice the new skills and receive feedback, from the facilitator and each other.

6: Summary and restatement of new expectations for using the new skills back on the job.

Here is an example of a training module using this format. This one ran 90 min.

Interview skills for video

1: (5 min) We want to do more and better video to drive traffic on our web site. Getting subjects to be effective guides or narrators in video requires a plan and specific interview skills. Learning objectives for this session include:

— How to use a three-step interview plan for effective video: Plan. Conduct. Revise.

— How to use specific techniques and tasks for each of the three steps.

2: (10 min) Several examples of bad video in which poor interviews hurt the content. Discuss what is wrong.

3: (20 min) Provide an overview of the Plan – Conduct – Revise approach to effective video interviews. And then describe the techniques and tasks at each stage for good interview content.

4: (30 min) Exercise: In groups of three, Plan and Conduct a short video interview, talking with one member of your group about problems at work.

5: (20-25 min) Showing rough footage of interviews, discuss how they turned out, ways to improve and how the skills listed in #3 worked.

6: (5 min) Summary

Note that the “doing” portion of the module, sections 4 and 5, comprise two thirds of the total time. Section #3 is supplemented with a PowerPoint program and handout. And participants were provided with a worksheet at the start of the exercise to guide them in using the skills described in #3.

Here is the same format using the good writing topic mentioned earlier. This program was aimed at new editors, online producers new to editing, and reporters who occasionally fill in a editors.

Five Easy Fixes for Improving Copy on Deadline

1: (5 min) Having discussed “macro” editing in an earlier program, this program takes up points of “micro” editing, line editing that will improve copy quickly.

2: (5 min) Common problems with writing that create added length, poor readability, and vague or even inaccurate statements. Two examples of short stories that are poorly done. A few specific examples of how these stories suffered from (1) passive voice, (2)  expletives, (3) petty modifiers, (4) stating what is not versus what is, (5) “verbicide.”

3: (20 min) Walk through each of the five common problems and fix several examples under each of the five.

4: (15 min) Give participants the same two badly written stories and have them make fixes on any of the five common problems they encounter.

5: (15 min) Have participants talk through what they found and how they made the fixes.

6: (1 min) Summary and connection to macro editing and other upcoming micro editing programs.

Part 3: Materials & Practice


Written by mroberts8

November 17, 2009 at 11:34 pm

One Response

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  1. […] « How data becomes information How to build a training module, Part 2 […]

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