Oh my, you were tasked with designing the presentation for an upcoming training meeting. Where to start?
Well, assuming you have your topic and you know who the audience is, next is answering some questions, “what are they supposed to learn?” “what do they already know”, and “what is the objective of the training?” Hmmm, you need a framework to organize your thoughts. This framework should include the specific topic, the target audience, and the learning objectives. Once these are established the content will come along naturally.
When defining your topic be specific rather than broad. This will help you narrow your presentation and prepare materials. Learners who arrive at the meeting having been previously exposed to a focused title and a short blurb about what the meeting will address are already in the frame of mind to absorb the presentation and information. A focused title also helps you define the scope of the presentation and avoid an ugly presentation fail caused by a far too long PowerPoint.
In a training or educational setting understanding what your audience already knows is key. Make it a point to ask or find out what they already know. Offering information, the audience already knows can be too basic and boring thus losing their attention. So be careful when including material, they already know, a brief review to provide a refresher or context should be just that – brief. Offering information that is two steps further than their current knowledge will result in difficulty accomplishing the learning objective because you are jumping a learning level forward and leaving a knowledge gap.
When done carefully, composing learning objectives defines the desired end state and helps you plan how you’ll achieve it. Good learning objectives are specific, measurable, and observable statements of what learners will be able to do at the end of a unit of training or instruction. Learning objectives should use action verbs correlated to the level of learning that is the desired outcome. So now you may be asking, “how do I come up with good action verbs tailored to the level of learning?” That’s where Bloom’s Taxonomy comes in.
Without getting into deep water as far as educational theory goes, Bloom’s Taxonomy defines six levels of learning that progress from remembering to understanding to applying to analyzing to evaluating to creating. Moving upward through the levels depends upon having already attained the knowledge and skills of the lower levels. Included below are links to more info on Bloom’s Taxonomy, writing learning objectives and educational design complete with action verbs correlated to learning levels and sample learning objectives.
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