Happy Associates - Happy Clients - Happy You
Something happened today that happens a lot in the world of freelance training, and it really annoys me.
A freelance consultant asked for guidance about a particular theory that was included in a training course she was being asked to deliver. However there was absolutely no information about this theory, apart from a couple of slides [without notes] and no guidance at all about how to bring this part of the course to life.
So now she has to spend hours researching this topic, understanding it properly herself, and thinking about how to bring it to life for her delegates.
This seems grossly unfair to me. Associate trainers are paid to prepare and deliver a training course, not to research it or design chunks of it. That is the designers job.
And it's one of the biggest differences between designing for yourself to deliver and designing for other people. Sadly, too many L&D professionals don't seem to grasp that what they know is not what everyone else knows. Our colleagues have different knowledge and experience to us. Yes it's transferable, and yes there should be quite a lot of areas of overlap, especially if you are asking them to deliver a session on a specific topic where they have experience.
But our colleagues are not mind readers and they are not Wikipedia.
If we want them to deliver a course as we would run it, we have to design it so the way we run it is crystal clear.
This means creating a full and detailed session plan outlining not only what they need to cover, but what the key learning points are and give suggestions about how that might be covered. We need to explain what activities to run and more importantly exactly how to run them. Writing “run the alien communication exercise” may be enough for you to know what to do, but if your associate trainer hasn't come across this exercise before [or more likely knows it as something else] they won't know what they're supposed to do.
In addition, if they have not had discussions with the client prior to running the course, or as part of the design process, you need to highlight the learning points that ought to come out of the exercise. This allows the trainer to keep that session on track and in line with the brief that you were provided from the client. Remember they have not been privy to those conversations.
When designing for others to deliver, you need to give them approximate timings and alternatives so that when they are delivering [especially virtually] they don't have to think about adjusting the training if necessary at the same time as facilitating the session.
When designing for other trainers to deliver, the most important thing you need to design is the session plan. The slide deck won't include enough information. The delegate handouts or workbook may refer to the content, but won't give any clues about how to bring it to life. Sadly too many trainers either don't produce a session plan at all, or produce one that is so scant it is merely a session outline.
And then associate trainers are expected to deliver a fantastic session, that meets client expectations, often for less than £500.
Without putting in a day or two of unpaid time to fill the gaps, that's unlikely to happen. And so we assume that no one can deliver the training as well as we can.
But the fact is we haven't given the associate the tools they need to deliver the training as well as we can. Take time to design in detail. Not only will this mean you have to spend less time briefing your associate, it also means they have to spend less time preparing (which means their day rate is effectively higher, which makes them happier). That increases the likelihood of your client getting exactly what they expect to get when the training is delivered and making them happy, which enhances your reputation and that of your associate.
Everyone’s a winner!
Please PLEASE don't scrimp on training design.
And if you work as part of a large L&D team in an organisation, the exact same principles apply: Your colleagues are not mind-readers. Make it easy for them.
Ready-written training materials are only any good if anyone can use them. Power Hour materials (for example) are written in detail, providing EVERYTHING the trainer needs so meaning they can just picked up and used.
And if you want to learn how to design training in detail, there are lots of resources to help you of including our online courses (plus new ones coming soon) and a podcast episode you can listen to which delves into this in more detail.