Design of Innovative Learning Interventions - design of innovative learning interventions

By: Trideco  11-11-2011
Keywords: Skills Development, Skills Requirements, Internal Project

Detailed Approach To Design


In line with our commitment to interventions that are entirely customised to meet the unique needs of our clients, we design and develop interventions to meet client-specific requirements.  

Whilst many behavioural skills requirements are seemingly generic, it is our firm belief that organisations have requirements unique to their context that need to be integrated into any learning intervention. This includes the utilisation of specific case material and examples to enable and reinforce learning and skills transfer.

Our approach to the design of such workshops is outlined below, as are the supporting processes which we deem essential to the effective implementation and sustainability of a skills development process.

Our design process typically includes high involvement of identified and relevant stakeholders. Our experience is that it is most effective to partner with internal project champions and / or project teams who are accountable for the success of the intervention.

Phases in the design process:

  1. Gaining understanding, acceptance and buy-in to the required design and development process

Trideco recommends that acceptance and buy-in be gained up-front from core stakeholders to ensure the success of the process. This can be achieved via a presentation and / or series of presentations to introduce stakeholders to the philosophy and benefits of design, to identify and address relevant issues and concerns, as well as to dispel any myths.

  1. Defining the Scope of the Intervention

If not already explicit, given the above common understanding and commitment, we recommend a process of engaging the stakeholders in clarifying the following with regard to the intervention:

  • Desired performance outcomes
  • Learning objectives and desired outcomes
  • Critical success factors
  • Indicators of success / appropriate measurement
  • Core roles and accountabilities of stakeholders

This may be accomplished via a facilitated workshop, involving critical stakeholders and project members. This phase would form the foundation of the design strategy.

  1. Analysis of organisational readiness

Once agreement on the broad scope of the project, it is also necessary to ascertain the base from which the process is commencing, i.e. the current status quo.

Such analysis would include partnering with you to determine what information is currently available about the organisation, what information is required to determine the most appropriate intervention, and who will be participating in the analysis process. Interviews, questionnaires, or facilitated focus groups, on a representative sample of the organisation are some of the analysis tools we offer.

The choice of analysis tool is dependent on the size of the identified sample group and the nature of the information required. The output of this phase would include a comprehensive understanding of the status quo with regard to readiness, issues to be addressed, barriers to be overcome, etc. This would be presented to the project team in an appropriate medium.

  1. Clarification of specific design requirements

In the first instance, it is essential to gain a clear understanding of the learning requirements for the design. This would include gaining insight into:

  • Specific expectations / deliverables of the target performer group;
  • Links / dependencies with other roles;
  • Support available post the development intervention;
  • Required competencies and skills profile;
  • Specific challenges envisaged which may hinder effective performance;

This phase would involve ensuring that we have a precise understanding of the knowledge and behaviours / skills required to be developed during the developmental intervention, as well as any ‘organisational points of uniqueness’ and preferences with regard to the learning process.

The appropriate manner of collecting this information would be determined by the project team, and could include targeted interviews, documentation review, and questionnaire collation and / or focus group discussion forums. Our facilitation processes enable this information to be collected quickly with a relatively small representative group of individuals. It is recommended that, at minimum, a sample of potentially targeted delegates, their managers and possibly even employees and internal clients, be included.

  1. Intervention Planning

This phase involves working with the client to formulate a comprehensive intervention plan, and would typically include the following:

  • Resources required
  • Time frames
  • Scope – including the number of delegates, geographical range, etc
  • Appropriate communication strategy
  • Implementation steps
  • Monitoring processes

The main project stakeholders should determine the players involved in this phase. A critical success factor of the intervention is a clear process plan. We would provide facilitation assistance in this phase.

A point to note is that a well-defined communication strategy is essential for gaining commitment and understanding, and insuring buy-in for the intervention throughout the organisation. This would outline how the development process is going to be communicated throughout the organisation, in order to ensure that all individuals are informed of and understand the initiative.

The more that people are kept informed of what is planned, the less resistance is encountered, and the less likely there are to be misunderstandings and prejudices around the process. This can be done through company newsletters, notice boards, briefing groups etc. - whatever is the organisation’s best communication channel.

It also creates the opportunity for the target audience to be identified and profiled. This profile can then be used to guide design processes.

  1. Preliminary workshop framework design and approval

The Trideco team formulates an intervention design framework and presents this to the internal champions and / or project team for approval and fine-tuning. Once signed off, this forms the basis of the design and development process.

  1. Intervention design and development

The intervention is developed based upon the agreed framework. Organisation specific materials are integrated appropriately. The learning methodologies incorporated into our development processes are highly experiential and engaging, and aimed at adding value.

Our underlying philosophy is to place high emphasis on learner responsibility outside of the training room. We can then focus on maximising the use of the collective brainpower within the training room, to enhance learning.

Delivery methodologies / format of training

Whilst a certain amount of training room time is spent consolidating cognitive understanding of the concepts, the priority focus is placed on the experiences, personal insights, exploration and development of personal skills. Methodologies that we typically use in the classroom include combinations of:

  • games and simulations,
  • group and individual exercises,
  • buzz or discussion groups,
  • Trideco’s unique drama-based, behaviour rehearsal, technologies for the development of interactive type skills.

Optional assessments

A further feature of our design process is the option of appropriate pre and post assessment exercises linked to certification. This assessment process could include a range of activities, from:

  • simple assessments of cognitive understanding based on the pre-work,
  • self and / or managerial / employee feedback both pre and post course,
  • the completion of a project / assignment linked to business needs to facilitate transfer
  • portfolios of evidence.

Dependent on the nature of the intervention, assessments with regard to skills development / behavioural change demonstrated within the classroom are also designed. The exact nature of such assessments and projects would be custom-designed to suit your requirements and resources.

  1. Implementation and train the trainer

Prior to final implementation, we conduct an intervention pilot to check and fine-tune the design. Once complete, the implementation phase is planned with the client organisation and would involve Trideco facilitators conducting workshops as required, and / or providing trainer training.

Our train-the-trainer process is geared to your specific requirements.  Our approach typically involves the following:

Trainer / facilitator competence definition / person specification / screening

Trainer pre-requisites for the effective facilitation of any development interventions include:

  • Content expertise
  • Personal impact and credibility with stakeholders
  • An ability to build rapport and gain trust
  • Training delivery skills including structuring, integrating, elaborating, variety and emphasis
  • High involvement facilitation skills – clarifying, questioning, probing, listening, handling objections, gaining consensus, reviewing and giving feedback
  • Personal insight and diversity related competence
  • Competence in handling group dynamics

Our train-the-trainer process can include the screening of nominated trainers against criteria outlined above and / or any organisation specific criteria. We can utilise targeted behavioural based interviews, observation (either in a simulated or real-time environment), and feedback from appropriate sources.

Following this we custom design the trainer development process.

Train-the-trainer and trainer support program

Depending on the level and skill of the nominated trainers, this process may well include the development of training and / or facilitation skills. It is highly recommended that any trainers used have had previous training and ideally facilitation experience.

Our preferred route when training already experienced trainers is that they initially attend the course as a delegate to experience the intricacies and realities of the course. This may be achieved either by them attending workshops facilitated by Trideco facilitators within operational divisions (giving you the advantage of training delegates whilst simultaneously training your trainers), or alternatively a session could be facilitated specifically for your group of trainers.

Following this, we would also engage in appropriate train-the-trainer interventions focusing on both the content of the workshops as well as the requisite trainer skills development.

The train-the-trainer process would culminate in the trainer facilitating a session from the intervention whilst being observed and signed off / certificated by one of our master facilitators. This would be conducted utilising competency-based assessment methodologies and be part of a certification process.

Alternatively, depending on the competence and confidence of your trainers, you may wish to engage in an incremental process, which may include attendance by the trainer as an observer of both the Trideco facilitator and the group. This can then be followed by supportive coaching, dry runs and / or targeted feedback, and culminates in co -facilitation of some modules – Trideco facilitator observing, and again ultimately being observed and evaluated in facilitating an entire session.

This development process equips the trainer with the skills necessary to implement the intervention internally. We will maintain support throughout and will provide ongoing feedback to the facilitators until the required skill level is reached. This ongoing support will be determined in accordance with your specific requirements.

Trainer kit

Trainers are supplied with a full trainer kit including:

  • facilitator guides,
  • training aids,
  • PowerPoint slides,
  • delegate training materials,
  • assessment sheets,

These are supplied in both hard copy Masters, as well as on CD-ROM for production purposes.

  1. Ongoing support and evaluation for the entire process

The success of the implementation can be evaluated against the success indicators defined in phase two and ongoing support will be provided as contracted to participants in the evaluation process. Where necessary, further interventions may be contracted to support further performance gaps.

Keywords: Internal Project, Reinforce Learning, Skills Development, Skills Requirements