Organising Training Materials



Training Packages

Training media and materials can be reproduced and used by more than one trainer. They can be used in different parts of an organisation or by several organisations or training institutes who are all doing the same training. Materials can be produced using several different forms and media which together form a training `package'. This package can consist of all the materials that a trainer or organisation needs to run the training course.

The package will, therefore, have to include materials for the trainers. This can be in the form of trainers' guides or manuals. It aims to help the trainer run the training course and use the other material in the pack.

Visual aids are included in the pack to be used in the training session itself. Small versions could be provided in the trainers' guide which could be copied on to flip charts or OHP. The visual aids are not meant for the trainer to read as a prompt, but as aids for the trainees to see in the session itself. If the package is to be reproduced, sharing costs between many trainers can help these visual aids to be quite sophisticated. They can be professionally designed and produced in a form that can be used in the training. Flip charts can be printed and audio-visual aids, such as slides or videos, can be copied in whatever numbers are needed.

In the training session the trainees will need other sorts of materials to work on. Exercise sheets, questionnaires, role plays, etc., may be needed for each trainee. These can make the training session more participatory. Originals of these materials should be included in the package so copies can be made when running the particular course.

The trainees need training materials to help them take home and implement the training. These materials can be simple notes or handouts, but they could also be illustrated posters or booklets. These can make use of the same pictures as the visual aids. Many copies can be printed, which can

make their production comparatively cheap. Their function of taking the message of the training back to the village enables the trainees to explain what the training was all about to their community or group. It can also help remind the trainees to implement the training after their return home. A package helps the message reach further than conventional training and makes it more likely to be implemented where it is intended.

Another element in the package could be mass media programmes. Your training could involve media support to help get it to those who need it and to help trained people implement what they have been trained to do. This could be done with any appropriate mass media, such as broadcast radio or TV. It can also include folk media such as singers, story tellers, drama, etc. Media and training can be organised into campaigns which can reach large numbers of people.

By linking media to on-going training a demand can be created and training can be re-enforced. This media element needs including in the training package so that trainers are clear what the media is doing and how they can use it to make their work more effective. All these training materials need to be designed and illustrated with the same images. Their use needs to be linked so that they become more effective as a concerted effort rather than individual materials.

Involving the trainers

The trainers need to be involved in the development, production and use of a training materials package. A workshop could be arranged where selected trainers could work on the development of the package. They have a vital role in identifying the needs for course development and requesting appropriate materials. They may also be required to develop the courses and produce the information for which the materials will be developed. This work of developing materials is not just for the first trainers, but for lots of other trainers who will use the package once it is produced.

In a workshop the trainers can work out what overall, basic, topics could be developed into a training materials package that would be useful for their work. They could formulate what they could use and what the whole organisation, group or institute could benefit from. Working out how one topic should be put over and what the package would consist of can be a useful exercise. Try to list down as ambitious suggestions as possible. This should include listing who the target group for the training is to be, the particular messages or information and the proposed media for the elements in the package. Once one topic and one package has been planned, teams can be put together to start on the development process. Each proposal should be discussed with other trainers as to the long term viability of the idea. An orientation session may be needed to show them how to use the package in training.

Developing packages

Developing materials and good packages can take a lot of time. It can require trainers, subject specialists and designers working together. Even if these specialists are not available, this work in the production of training packages will be still needed. However once the package has been developed, tested, designed and produced, it will enable the training to be done more effectively. The trainer should also have to spend less time in the preparation of the course as most of this should have been done for them and made available in the package.

Work on the development of training packages can be difficult if most training is seen as an isolated individual activity. If, however, it is seen as a basic function of a whole group, organisation or set of organisations, then it can be part of a process of sharing effective training experience. Training packages can become a means of spreading the training expertise as well as the training message itself.

A training materials network.

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Trainers can work together and benefit from each others work. To do this requires not just materials packages but organisation or a network to enable this to happen. Organisation can enable far more developed materials to be produced and used than one trainer could make for themselves. The best trainer should be able to influence the other trainers and they should be able to learn from each others' work though such a network. They should mutually assist each other to develop their work and the capability of the organisation. Pooling resources enables the production and the wider use of media which can be expensively and professionally designed and produced. The initial costs will be greater but by sharing them out to many users they will be less.

These ideas underlie most of this book which, therefore, has organisational implications as well as technical ones. To implement many of these ideas, requires creating an effective network, as well as the media, design and training skills. It requires, not just a top down organisation, but a complex network where the trainers and field workers and potential users of training are connected with skilled specialists of various sorts. These connections are needed to develop materials that meet the needs of the trainees, who will test material, and give general feed back. Such a network also needs access to resources so that many copies of successful and tested training materials can be produced cheaply. Such a system implies a level of agreement that can be difficult to generate if you are working with many independent small organisations. The only way to encourage the sharing that is necessary to make it mutually beneficial.

A network can be such an organisation. With a network many points are linked. This can enable many horizontal connections between all trainers to be developed. It can be more effective than the normal vertical connections between manager and managed. Points on the network may produce different elements of the training material or do different work on the development process. It requires a good two way flow for both the network and the material to be well developed.

A network can
o link a trainer and trainees,
o with a video with a VCP and TV,
o with a training classroom,
o provide a training with a trained trainer,
o the trainer with a materials producer with a
o specialist on the subject,
o with a designer and a funder who will pay for
everyone to receive the materials.

Organising the network

The network has to pull together the producers and users of training materials. Identifying who they are and what they have to offer or what they need can be the starting point.

If a trainer has had a good response to a role play, for example, he or she may not realise that it could be useful to an other trainer with the same problem in another area. If it is written down it can be copied, tried out and widely used. The first step, therefore, is helping people realise they have something to offer, which can be written down. This needs to be explained and the potential researched. Finding out what materials already exist is another necessary step, as it can help people immediately to see what they can use and what needs to be developed. If another organisation has produced material on a similar topic you can learn a lot from what they have done. If it is good you can buy sets of it rather than producing it yourself.

Other research is necessary to see what potential exists for both producing and using any material. Find out what training is being done and what needs there are for new material and new training methods.

The next step in the research involves a careful search for resources in the network area. What equipment, space and other facilities do the trainers and members of the potential network have for training? It can be difficult to produce tape slide shows if the trainers do not have any working slide projectors. Extra resources for equipment may be necessary if the training materials are to be widely used.

A training material network questionnaire
________________________________________________________________

name
________________________________________________________________

organisation/department

________________________________________________________________

Training needs Training courses given
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
________________________________________________________________
Training equipment available

________________________________________________________________
Training materials available

________________________________________________________________
Other training facilities/resources available?

_________________________________________
Once the initial research has been collated it should show who, what and how your network can work. Ideas and methods of working can be developed with the members or trainers of the network or organisation. This can be done at a meeting or workshop and can be supplemented by training newsletters to keep everyone informed about developments and training.

The workshop and research should be able to produce lists of trainers' needs for the network to meet. The includes lists of resources and training materials that the network should produce. There will be a need for a list or directory of the members and elements in the network or organisation. This should include details of who does what and who has what so that others can gain access to any available resources. It should also include details of courses, materials and other resources that exist already. These documents should be the backbone of a training material network or organisation. They will enable considerable development and improve the quality of work. Each member of the network should find it easier to draw on the other members for support and assistance.

Resource centres

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Part of this network should be resource centres places where equipment can be used and kept. They can also act as clearing-houses supplying materials from one point to another. Resource centres can be access points to the network and contact points to keep things moving. See on Training media production units page 115

Training trainers

One way of establishing and improving training is to train the trainers. This should include training in appropriate training approaches and methods. This can be a very useful step and a common activity of the training network. If all the trainers in the organisation are trained trainers and share similar basic ideas about training and the methods to use materials, then it will be easier for the network to share the materials. Their use will also
be better as the trainers will know how to use
materials most effectively.
Trained trainers should also know how to do more of the development of materials themselves rather than having it all come from the top. This will give an organisation or network far more strength and flexibility. Such creativity should be drawn on and used rather than frowned on as inconsistent.

Both the training of trainers and the organised use of training materials has a multiplier effect. If they succeed they can reach lots of people, as each step of passing on training results in more and more people reaching the message. The organisation can train people to train people who will pass on the message to yet more people. With better materials the quality of this message will be maintained. This approach can help get good training to many groups, villages and individuals.

Sustainability

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An organisation or network can sustain a training or the use of a set of materials. One trainer can train others to use the materials and run the training courses effectively. The first trainer may be promoted but can leave behind at least 20 others to take her or his place. If the organisation is good it should be able to absorb, adapt and develop training and materials so that it can continue to spread the skills and expertise.

Organisation is not just a useful way of spreading good practice. With a full set of materials, training can be spread without losing too much on the way. It can also continue the use of the materials, so the training is able to be
sustained and institutionalized.
It can contribute
to a real development.

Evaluating Training Materials

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An important part of the use and development of training materials is the process of their evaluation and revision. This should be built into a system of use and development so that materials can be continually updated and developed.

Evaluation needs to be done first by trainers. They can judge how the materials help their training in real training sessions. They can give a response based on the actions of the trainees and the general progress of training into field-level implementation. It is on this work that the evaluation of materials needs to be done.

Evaluation can be done by giving feedback questionnaires to the trainees for comment on the training. This should include comments on the materials as well. Quick responses from trainees can be useful but are not the same as a real evaluation of the training's impact and effectiveness on the trainees' work after they have been trained.

Evaluating materials may involve looking at how the trainers used the materials in the training. This would also show how effective the training and materials orientation was for the trainers. The trainers may have evolved different ways of using the materials in the training. This needs to be evaluated and recorded as it may be useful for others to follow the same approach.

One of the best ways for evaluating the effect of materials in training is to simply sit and observe the training. See how the training works compared to what the trainers' guide says about how they are meant to do. Following up the training and seeing how it has been applied and used is the only real way evaluation can be done. This can be time consuming and difficult to organise. You can question people about what they recall of the training and ask what they now do differently. You can see if they still display the poster or handout that they received from the training. You can see if they follow the materials and have changed the way they work.

Training materials are tangible and so can be of use in seeing what is being done. If the materials are being used then the new training approaches may also be used. The effect of training is usually very difficult to see as it is often about attitudes and skills. Demonstrating new skills can be difficult to test without turning the process upside-down. Training should not be about teaching people how to pass a test but about real change.

The demand for training materials can be a way of gauging their effectiveness. If all the trainers want more handouts, etc., they must see their use. If everyone has displayed the posters and wants more, they must find the poster useful. If the posters are displayed in the trainers' homes and not in the training context, it may not be as effective as was hoped though.

Follow-up visits can act as reminders and re-enforcers of the training message. In this way the testing of training can act as training itself. If this is the aim, then it can be useful to organise a follow-up workshop as a training session. This can help the trainees discuss what problems they have encountered in implementing the training. It can present and support solutions to those problems. And it could help evaluate the training's effectiveness and the materials' revision.

Evaluation is not useful unless it goes with a process of review and revision. This should question if there is still a training need to be met. Has the training and materials met part of the need or do others still have to be trained with the whole course or part of it? If part of the need reminds, should it be clarified and expanded? The courses can be further developed to meet the new need. Old materials can be updated and improved using the feedback received in the evaluation process.

Obviously with expensive media, revision can be difficult to do over and over again. This process of evaluation and revision may cause one to thinkcarefully about committing oneself to an inflexible media which can't be modified. Large editions of print media or expensive videos, for example, will be far more difficult to revise than simple slide shows or hand-drawn flip charts.

Training materials are not the same as the actual training. And it is the training that needs the most careful monitoring and evaluation to see that it meets its objectives. If it does, the materials used for it can be assumed to function correctly. Sorting out the effectiveness of materials or trainers can be very difficult. But it is obviously something that needs doing, if both the materials and training are to be further developed.

The draft form here may be of use in the evaluation of your training materials. You can produce two versions, one for your trainers and one for your trainees.

Training material evaluation form

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name
__________________________________________________________________

training course
__________________________________________________________________

for the trainer for the trainees

circle 1 to 10
Was the trainers guide/manual How was the trainers use of
materials?
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
helpful not helpful ? helpful not helpful?

Were the visual aids Were the visual aids
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
helpful not helpful? helpful not helpful ?

Were the exercise sheets Were the exercise sheets
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
helpful not helpful? helpful not helpful?

Were the handouts Were the handouts
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
helpful not helpful? helpful not helpful?
________________________________ ______________________________

Comments on the materials Comment on the materials:

Design? Design?
________________________________ _______________________________

Illustrations? Illustrations?

________________________________ _______________________________

Other suggestions for changes. Other suggestions for changes.

______________________________________________________________________________


Training media production units

Having your own training media production unit can enable you to produce your own appropriate materials. Such a unit can be a simple resource centre or it can be a fully staffed and equipped production unit. It can also serve as a clearing-house for materials produced by other agencies.

It is important, in setting up your own unit, to examine your organisation's needs. This involves looking at plans well into the future to see what sort of training and materials will be needed. The demand for particular services should guide you in what sort of equipment and capability you will need from your production unit. Innovations in training, training materials and media may lead you to meet these needs in a way that traditional trainers may not be aware of when making their plans.

The demands of the network in which the production unit is to work is what will keep the unit working. If every trainer has an OHP machine, then the production unit can make copies of OHP transparencies which can be used by all trainers. If the network includes organisations that have duplicators or photocopiers available, then the new resource may not need to offer this exact same service.

Sometimes production units are set up because of administrative and organisational problems. Trainers may not be able to use the equipment of the administration or competing agencies may be unable to work out ways of sharing resources.

This is generally not a good reason to start your own production facility. It is far better to try and tackle the problems so that you can use existing resources effectively. Ways need to be found to do this so that everyone benefits. A production unit of one organisation can be opened up for others to share its services. This can help share the load of running and maintaining the unit. It can also ensure that the unit is fully utilized. Even selling services can be a way of collaborating and sharing resources if it is done in a reasonable way.
Mutual assistance can help solve many of the problems involved in materials production. Instead of repeating what other organisations are already doing, try and supplement their work with your own new resources. It may then be possible to exchange services and help each other.

Small organisations in particular can benefit if they pool resources and organise sharing. This may involve a stricter method of organisation and payment procedures. This will ensure that all the usually hidden costs are shared, as well as the obvious ones. It can be done in a way that many people benefit from what is available.

Planning a production unit can be done by thinking through a number of steps. Each step up involves greater expense, staffing, space, equipment, etc.

  1. All production units will need some space. Certain facilities will depend on what is being done in the unit.
  2. All will need some sort of trained and skilled staff.
  3. All will need equipment.
  4. To work they will need funding. Not just for the particular training materials production but for running costs, staffing costs and general materials, equipment maintenance.
Each level of sophistication will need a particular mixture of these elements.
_________________________________________

First level

A training media production unit can be a self-service facility. This resource centre can be a place where teachers or trainers can come to use equipment to produce their own materials.

It needs some staffing to train people to use the resources, to maintain the equipment and order materials, etc., to be in stock.

Equipment

This first level resource centre would need equipment to duplicate and screen print. It could have flip chart stands, cloth boards and materials such as templates to use as simple non-electric media.

Space
Such a unit would involve only a small amount of specially adapted space, though the space to work may be one of its most useful resources. The requirements for space would have to be based on how many people would want to work in the unit at a time.

Second level

A self-service resource centre can also be set up with simple electric-operated equipment such as a photocopier, OHPs and slide projectors. This centre would need some skilled input to keep the equipment running and maintained.
Equipment
This resource centre would need a photocopier, duplicator, flip chart stands, cloth boards, OHPs, and a slide projector. Drawing tables could be provided for people to draw up their own flip charts or other material. Storage cupboards would be useful to keep material for loan.
Space
This second level resource centre would need the same space as the first but with a supply of electricity and more security to keep the equipment safe.

Third level

A small production unit could be organised with the same basic space and equipment as the second level. However if this had two or three full-time staff it may be able to act as a service centre,
producing materials for trainers and a far
better quality product.
Equipment

This could be a slightly more complicated operation as specialists would use it rather than many different trainers. This could include a photocopier, a desk top publishing computer and laser printer, or a stencil cutter and duplicator. Still camera, slide projector and OHPs, flip chart stands and cloth boards could be kept in the training rooms rather than in the production unit.

Space
This would have to be more secure as equipment is expensive. Lockable cupboards or store rooms would be advisable.

Fourth level

The next step would involve a production unit that was capable of producing far more material and of a better quality. With screen printing it could produce its own flip charts and cloth images. With more staff it could take on more editing and writing of materials, which could be produced on its computer. With space and staff it could act as a clearing-house for storing and distributing materials.
Staff
The fourth level should include all the staff and equipment of the second level. But it would involve more staff, six or seven, and more space. About three rooms, for a working area and a store room would be necessary.

The staff will need to write and design material, edit and manage the unit, operate the computer and printing. Staff would also work on collecting and distributing materials. For screen printing quite a few skilled hands are needed to produce any number of posters.

Equipment
This unit would be more involved in production itself. With screen equipment it could produce posters and flip charts. This would need simplescreens, drying racks and the related inks and chemicals. Computers and a laser printer could be used to produce and design text for training. A good photocopier could also be used to produce material for a variety of needs.

Fifth level

The next level production unit could manage with the same sort of space but with far more electronic equipment. With this it could produce audio-visual and video material rather than use its space for screen printing.
Space
The electronic equipment will need a secure, clean and dry space to be stored and used in.
Equipment
Such a unit would need good connections with a large network of trainers to use its products. It would also need connections with broadcasting agencies to make it worthwhile so that its radio and TV programmes could be broadcast.
Staffing
The staff for this level of unit need to be skilled in the development of training and the use and upkeep of the equipment. This cost may involve extra staff to cover those away on training. The technology will also cost more to maintain and keep up to date than with other levels. It will also involve greater dependence on electricity and outside service suppliers.

Sixth level

This production unit would involve even more dependence on high technology and skilled staff. It would develop the same sorts of material as the others but also produce broadcast quality materials for both radio and TV. If the broadcasting agencies accepted the programmes, then the unit could produce material that would reach millions of people if this was needed.

Space

The space would need to be adapted to the needs of the technology. It would need to be air-conditioned. A sound proof studio would need to be built cut off from the control room which would have the recording equipment.

Equipment
This would have to be selected to fit the needs of the broadcasters as well as the trainers. Video high band Umatic is very complex and expensive. Super VHS is simpler but gives as good a quality. As it is newer, it remains to be seen if it will be accepted by TV stations for broadcasting.
Staffing
The staff need to be professionally skilled in broadcast quality media production. This will be difficult and costly to staff. However, this will be offset by the potential cost per trainee. This will be very low if you accept every listener to the broadcast is a `trainee'.

These five options for possible units can be adapted to your particular needs. The variety of factors are difficult to predict or generalize about.

One constant factor is cost. These can be estimated in a comparative form. The start up costs may be different than the running, maintenance or staff costs over time and in different contexts.

It is still useful to list the main equipment needed for each level and option and give a guide price at 1992 prices. This will give an idea of what the difference in costs of these options are. It will be necessary to repeat the estimation at any particular time and place, to allow for import duties, local market conditions and inflation.
Comparative costs list

First level
Space: 1 room
Staff: 1/2
Equipment:duplicating machine
screen printing equipment
tables
cloth boards
flip chart stands
No electricity required
Cost: $ 1500
Second level
Space: I room
Staff: 1/2
Equipment: photocopier
tables
OHP
flip chart stand
cloth board
slide projector
Cost: $ 4000
Third level
Space: 1 room
Staff: 2 to 3
Equipment: photocopier
computer and dot matrix printer
duplicator and stencil cutter
still camera
slide projector
OHP
flip chart stands
cloth board
Cost: $8000
Fourth level
Space: 3 rooms
Staff: 6 or 7
Equipment: photocopier
computer and laser printer
screen printing equipment
still camera
slide projector
OHP
flip chart stands
cloth board
storage racks

Costs: $10,000

Fifth level
Space: 4 rooms
Staff: 6 to 7

Equipment: good photocopier

computer & laser printer
still camera
slide and sound projector
OHPs
flip chart stands
video monitor & VCRs
sound editing tape recorders
microphones
cassette copier/recorder
video camcorder
Cost: $20,000
Sixth level
Space: 4 rooms
Staff: 7 to 8

Equipment: good photocopier

computer & laser printer
still camera
slide and sound projector
OHPs
flip chart stands
video monitor and VCP
video editing suite, high band Umatic VHS and VHS recorder
sound editing tapes
recorders/microphones
cassette copier/recorder
video camcorder
video 3 chip camera
portable Umatic or VHS recorder
Costs $50,000-80,000


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