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How to Design Training

Use these techniques to design training for individuals or groups in the workplace.

Are you in middle of designing a training (or trainings)? Please let us know at so we can include you in ongoing discussions.

1. Identify the need for training.

  1. Talk with the learner or with the learner's manager or supervisor to assess the learner's skills, knowledge, and experience. Ask questions about what they would like to improve. What are their goals for the training?
  2. Observe the learner actually doing a job or applying what you've taught.
  3. Review learner output and results, including customer/ client feedback.
  4. Determine where there is a gap between what the learner needs to be doing and what he or she is actually doing. Or is there a gap between the goals or standards of the organization and what the learner is doing?

2. Assess the need for instructor-led training.

Determine whether instructor-led training is the best strategy for addressing the learner's needs. Alternatives to instructor-led training could be reading assignments, Web-based training, self-study plans, cross-training by a colleague, or even performance counseling.

3. Define training objectives.

  1. Define your objectives clearly, and list them in writing. (Training objectives help you stay focused and avoid trying to cover too much.)
  2. Write simple statements of what, specifically, the employee will be able to do, know, believe, or understand after the training. (Training objectives help learners know what to expect from the training.)


    • Enter 30 records per hour into the correct data fields.
    • Provide effective constructive feedback to direct reports.
  3. Identify which questions your training is intended to answer. (Training objectives provide a basis for assessing whether training goals were achieved.)


    • How do we create effective working relationships with our clients?
    • Why are these changes necessary?

4. Design the training.

  1. Review Basic Instructional Design Format (PDF).
  2. Identify what the learner needs to know in order to achieve the learning objective.
  3. Identify what the learner needs to be able to do to achieve the learning objective.
  4. Organize the learning content in logical steps.
  5. Design ways for the learner to demonstrate what they are learning.


    • Small group discussion with debriefing
    • Case studies
    • Hands-on practice
    • Q&A

Important: The typical workplace training involves too much lecture or "telling," and too few ways for the learner to apply what they have learned.

5. Develop the training.

  1. Create, or bring together, any supporting materials needed to do the training:
    • Handouts (see a PDF template)
    • Job aids
    • PowerPoint slides
    • Overhead transparencies
    • Leader's guide
    • Videos
    • Software
  2. Arrange the logistics of the lesson or program.
    1. Reserve facilities.
    2. Identify, and make arrangements for, the equipment you need as an instructor and your learners will need:
      • Projectors
      • Projection screens
      • Carts/ tables
      • Flip chart easels
      • Work stations
      • Tools
    3. Visit unfamiliar locations ahead of time whenever possible.
    4. Design the layout of chairs and tables.
  3. Deliver the lesson or course.

6. Evaluate the training.

  1. Ask participants for feedback about the training. Issues to address include:
    • Achievement of course objectives
    • Relevance of topic to learner needs
    • Satisfaction with the trainer
    • Satisfaction with the facilities
  2. If someone asked you to provide the training, that person is also your client. Ask them for feedback about how well the training met their needs and about what it was like working with you.
  3. Use the feedback you get to improve your instructional design and delivery.
For more information, contact Staff Learning and Development.