Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Keeping Trainers on Track: Developing a Training-of-Trainers (ToT) Manual

I have recently been working with a team on training design for a rather technical three-day workshop to be piloted soon. Once the course has been tested and further refined, the next step is to develop a Training-of-Trainers programme to support the capacity development of a number of trainers who can disseminate this learning workshop globally. That sounds like a logical step and helps contribute to broadening the impact of the course and content by having a number of good trainers delivering it, in multiple locations and in numerous languages.

I have given many Training of Trainers (ToT) courses over the years and have been very happy with the design described in this blog post: Training Camp! An Un-ToT Design. This design provides for high customization by the trainers, as they tend to all have different levels of ability in both the technical aspects and training process. I find that this Un-ToT format works well to produce a group of trainers in the end with a handle on the materials they will need to  deliver the course independently in the future.

So, the course design is one thing, but how do you develop the materials for the trainers - the Trainer's Manual - what does that look like?

Obviously the trainers get the Participant Materials, but what else do they need in addition to that by way of materials? I always produce a written Trainer's Manual, that I provide in the ToT and use both to support the ToT process and that also provides trainers with an on-demand resource as they go forward and deliver the course themselves. I think it has higher utility to the trainers to produce this additional resource rather than provide only the Participant Materials and some supplementary handouts.

Here is a sample Table of Contents for a Trainer's Manual:

Section #
Section Title
How to Use this Manual 
Explain how the manual will be used in the ToT and beyond in the course - this section can also be used to welcome facilitators and give them information on where to go for more information - dedicated website, contact information, etc.
Facilitation Agenda 
Include the annotated Facilitation Agenda that the trainers will use in delivery of the training. This includes timing, process information, activity descriptions, etc. - this needs to be in front of the Manual and easily accessible as people will refer to it frequently.
About the Host Organization 
Provide relevant background on the group designing the training so that trainers have the relevant information to share with participants, as they might not be staff of that organization but external trainers.
About this Training Workshop 
Describe the origins of the training, rationale and what it hopes to help participants achieve. Provide a description of participant profiles that can help the trainers and others identify the right participants to attend.
Master Materials and Equipment List 
This list helps with procurement of stationary and ordering equipment for the training room - flip charts, markers, LCD projector, post-it notes and so on.
Materials to Prepare in Advance 
Indicate what needs to be done prior to arrival onsite - this can be posters to print, handouts, job aids, etc. in aggregate.
Materials to Prepare Onsite 
This list includes items that can be prepared in the room before, such as flip charts, templates, etc.
Room and Table Set Up 
Provide a diagram of how the room should be set up, and where to position equipment like flip charts, screen etc. This can be shared with the venue staff in advance.
Day 1 
Each day has its own section.
Session by Session Description
(See below for detail)
  1. Participants Training Manual (Separate - this is the manual that all participants will receive.)
  2. PPT Slide Set (If PPT will be used - separate on a USB key/ CD or URL/Dropbox for download. Include electronically the Trainer's Manual with handouts etc. in Word, and the Participant's Manual in case this needs to be reproduced locally.)

Within each of the Session descriptions (I always divide my days by Session, so I can keep them distinct and provide an easier way to refer to them to participants, trainers and speakers, etc.), I write up each of the Sessions in the Trainer's Manual with the following information:

  • Session Number and Title
  • Materials (What's needed for this specific session)
  • Preparation (What do trainers need to do to prepare - flip charts, room change, quiz, find a place for a game, number tables, etc.)
  • Timing (How long does this session last - 09:00 - 09:45)
  • Sequence (This is the sequence of events and the script AND it always includes possible answers to questions the trainer is asking participants, or answers to a quiz or learning activity. If participants don't quite understand the question or ask for an example, this helps trainers provide one, and gives them a sense of the kind of responses to look and push for.)
  • Flip charts/Job Aids (What do these look like, what questions are asked, what format do they take?)
  • PPT slides (You can add in print outs of slides with notes in this section, or you can include this in an annex. NOTE: If you have a very long slide set or one with lots of images and graphics, this can make the Trainer's Manual data file incredibly heavy. If this is the case, I sometimes refer simply to slide numbers in the Sequence part of the section (like "See slides 1-5") and then provide a hard copy of the slides and notes in the Annex which can be printed separately to the Manual document.)

    All these sections should have an open and "airy" layout on the page that allows trainers to take notes in the margins or has a designated place to make notes. In order to deliver this training, they will have to make these words, concepts and activities their own, so providing a space to reflect and customise the materials as they go along will be an important part of the Training of Trainers session. 

    How to Put It All Together? (Literally)

    One last thought, I have experimented with different formats to provide the above materials. I think I like ring binders the best with a pocket in the inside front and back where you can put the USB key or CD. The rings help people take things in and out that they might need in the training delivery (notes, the Facilitation Agenda, the PPT slide printouts, handouts to copy, etc.) and then put them back in to keep them organized. It also means that anything new they develop they can pop in and not have to keep separate and potentially misplace. I would always print the title of the workshop on the spine so that it can be seen on the shelves with their many other Manuals.

    Trainers of Trainers, anything else to add that helps keep us on track in a ToT?