Curriculum Planning/Training Strategies

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Training Strategies edit

Strategies should be chosen according to whether the specific learning objective is related primarily to the development of knowledge, skills, or attitudes (see chart below). Activities should also align with the characteristics and learning preferences of the learner audience, training schedule, experience of the trainer, etc. etc.

Examples of training strategies include:

Type of activity Best for Knowledge (K), Skills (S), or Attitudes (A)
General approach: Direct Instruction
Lecture or presentation K, S
Demonstrations S
Videos K, S
General approach: Interactive Instruction
Discussions, conferencing, interviews K, A
Role Plays A, S
Problem Solving S
Brainstorming K, A
Tutorial Groups K, S, A
Question-and-answer sessions K
General approach: Independent Study
Essays, Journals, Reports K, S
Computer Assisted Instruction K, S
Homework K, S, A
Research Projects K, S
General approach: Experiential Learning
Conducting Experiments S
Field Trips, Field Observations S, A
Simulations and games S, A
Practicums, internships S, A
Hands-on practice S, A

The best training sessions will incorporate a variety of training strategies. A good rule of thumb is to vary the training strategy every 15 – 20 minutes. For example, a one-hour training session about how to use a new piece of equipment may start with a short lecture to explain the functioning of the equipment and essential safety considerations, followed by a demonstration of how to work with the equipment, followed by a question-and-answer period (to check for comprehension), followed by hands-on, guided practice for each learner with the equipment.

In addition, the following questions should be considered when selecting strategies:

1. Strategies familiar to this audience

  • What kinds of training strategies will the learners be expecting? A traditional school classroom experience? A PowerPoint presentation? An all-day field school?
  • Determine the strategies most employed during the community’s most recent training experience. On the whole, was the experience positive or negative?

2. Factors affecting strategy

Many factors affect the choice of strategy for a learning session. Because strategies must be aligned with the learning objectives, your training content must be considered carefully before deciding upon any set strategies. The following two factors may also be considered:

Learning preferences: it is generally recognized that different people prefer to learn in different ways. Some learners have a strong preference for one or two learning modalities while others may use a wide variety depending on the situation. The following categorization of seven learning preferences covers most types of learning:
Learning Preference This learner prefers…
Visual (spatial) Using pictures, images, and spatial understanding
Aural (auditory-musical) Using sound and music
Verbal (linguistic) Using words, both in speech and writing
Logical (mathematical) Using logic, reasoning and systems approaches
Physical (kinesthetic) Engaging the body in learning, including hands and sense of touch
Social (interpersonal) Learning in groups or with other people
Solitary (intrapersonal Studying alone, using self-study approaches
It’s important to remember that unless trainers are encouraged otherwise, they will usually select strategies that teach to their own preferred learning modality.

Dale’s Cone of Experience: suggests a visual representation of how different learning strategies can be categorized as more abstract (near the top of the pyramid) or more concrete (near the bottom of the pyramid). The implication is that more concrete learning strategies result in better recall of the learning experience. In general, the more senses are involved in a learning experience, the better that experience will be learned and remembered.

Adapted from Dale's Cone of Experience

Learners generally remember…

A very small amount of what they read or hear

A small amount of what they see

More of what they see and hear

Much of what they say and write

Most of what they do

3. Preferred strategies of the trainer(s): Experienced trainers usually have one or two strategies that they prefer and consequently use far more than others. Although they may teach very proficiently with these select strategies, they may become reluctant to try other strategies even when their preferred strategies are not appropriate to the learner audience or the instructional material.

When planning learning strategies, curriculum developers should find out which strategies the trainer prefers and work with the trainer to determine which learning activities would fit those strategies best. Trainers should, however, be familiar with at least half a dozen strategies so that learning activities can be varied and kept interesting.

4. Recommended activities for the content: In many ways, the type of content and learning objectives must influence the type of activities chosen. Following a careful consideration of the content and learning objectives, the learner audience and environment, and the strategies available, the curriculum developer can select a short list of at least a half-dozen strategies which are likely to work best.

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