Training of trainers – NFL and interactive methods in Youth work – ACHIEVE

Lesson 31 – Training design: Construction of the training program – text

text lesson

(by Ognian Gadoularov)

A construction of a complete training program is the action in the trainers’ practice which unifies all elements of the training into one – goal setting, conduction, report and future actions. By the program the trainers prepare how the learning goals will be achieved and set all elements of the educational process. The well-prepared training program is a predisposition for effective work and quality results during the training process.

There are many interrelated elements in a training program which the trainers join together in one complete logical stream with predictable and measurable results. The program is made conformable to the characteristics of the students and the environment in which it is going to be conducted. In order to secure a complete training process the program has to include the following features:

  • To have clear relationship to the training objectives
  • To include elements that support the development of the group dynamics
  • To have clearly defined training part
  • To have practical connection to the reality
  • To be conformable to the students
  • To be able to answer the individual training needs of the participants
  • To give opportunities for flexibility and adaptability.

From our experience we can point out several elements that are extremely important for creation of a training program:

Aim and Objectives

Even before the construction of the program the training teams has to have formulated training goals on two levels – general aim and objectives. The general aim is the result expected from the training as a whole. The objectives are concrete measurable elements related to the development of behaviors, knowledge, skills and attitudes – leading to the achievement of the general aim.

During the preparation of the program the objectives serve as the skeleton to which one by one the program’s elements are attached. During the preparation of each session a checkup is made about the relevance of the session to the concrete objective and what results are expected from the participants. (“What do we want the participant to go out of the session with?”). At the most detailed level of planning the trainers set concrete objective for each training session of the program.

Sequence according to the educational results

This is the organization of the training part of the program according to the logic of competence development. We begin with development of attitudes, continue with knowledge, create environment for development of skills and at the end help the participants to understand the relationship between the newly acquired competences and how they can be applied in real life.

Attitude ⇒ Knowledge ⇒Skill

The Layers Effect (Two layered program planing)

When constructing a program we should not forget the layers element – the simultaneous processes related to group dynamics and educational activities (see Group Dynamics and Learning in Social Environment). When preparing the activities related to group dynamics we have to make sure that they are appropriate for the educational context and if possible to adapt them to it. When choosing activities and methods in the thematic sessions (directed to the affective, cognitive and psychomotor goals) we have to look examine their effect on the group dynamics (ex. If we have a thematic session in the program too early and include the group work as a method but without a facilitator this can lead to unsatisfactory results. This is because the main behavior during the phase of group formation is restraint and there is no focus on the achievement of the goal. In such way the dominating behaviors will decrease the effect of the method.)

Program Flow

It concerns all existing relationships between all elements of the program and all training objectives. In a well-designed program in every moment it is clear to the participant a certain element of the program is happening. The use of each element is easy to understand and there is no feeling of misbalance or fragmentation between the activities (ex. aimlessly arranged games one after another are not a training program, a long presentation followed by 3-4 energizers gives a feeling of lack of balance). As in the classic novels the program has an introduction, real part and conclusion. The existence of the elements relevant to the parts of the program gives a feeling of consistency and coherence. (Ex. In the introduction we make a session on getting to know each other and present the objectives while in the conclusion we make evaluation and planning of the future steps).

The tools which help us to establish a common logic in the program are Introductions, Summaries, References and relationship between the Part and the Whole. The Introductions and the Summaries are instruments which relate to each session (or element of the program) with the previous or following elements. We can imagine them as the Glue of the program. The References and the relationship Part-Whole are the logical connection (in the form of reminders and messages) between the distant elements of the program (ex. The connection between the tool “Action Plan” from the last day of the program to the personal training objectives from the first day of the training) and the relationship of the separate elements to the global whole (ex. The relationship of the separation of garbage to the child slave labor in the factories in South Asia. )

Process activities

Activities and methods directed towards the achievement of specific objectives which are not related to a concrete topic of the training. For this reason the process activities are rarely touched in the trainings for trainers and the publications on non-formal learning. This is why we will pay some special attention to them in the following chapter.


The training program “Training of Trainers” is an educational product that is currently missing in the partner countries – Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania. Due to the early stage of development of the youth sector and youth work in these countries the educational materials aimed at non-formal learning are still limited and insufficient. The lack of adequate educational framework for training of youth workers in the field of formal education leads to inefficient use of the capacity of professionals.

This course fills a gap in the youth sector, namely the need of methodologies for the preparation of trainers, who are able to train youth workers. This course will set the basis for the preparation of teams of trainers of youth workers. The course will serve the goal of development of youth work in the participating countries and other interested parties. A large number of youth workers can be trained according to the methodology at national and international level to use and promote non-formal learning as a tool to enhance the realization of young people in the labor market and increase their social cohesion.

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