As with many tasks, it makes your life easier and more effective if you have a structure to work within. The teaching/training cycle offers this to tutors/trainers/instructors/coaches/ – (we get called many things!)
In future blog posts, I will go into each stage in more detail. For now, here is the overview.
It does generally start with the one at the top, Identify Learners’ Needs, but it doesn’t necessarily follow round in that order.
- It is very easy at this stage to think of the learners’ physical needs such as wheel-chair users or people with a sight or hearing impediment.
But there are other things to take into consideration too.
- They may have difficulty with getting to and from your venue, or in getting there on time due to transport issues.
- They may be lacking in confidence not having been in a learning situation for some time – or they may have had a bad experience in a learning experience recently.
- Their learning need may be to do with work – to gain promotion or even to keep their job.
- And, of course, we must not ever set our learners up to fail so you may need to make sure they meet the entry requirements in terms of previous experience or qualifications.
These are a few of the things to consider at the first stage of the Teaching Cycle. I’ll go into the HOW you can do this in a later blog.
The next stage is to Plan to Address the Needs you have identified at the first stage.
This is where you write your lesson plan or go back to one you’ve used before and see how you need to vary it to accommodate the needs of this particular learner or this particular group. The sorts of things that might need to be adjusted could be things like:
- The venue – maybe you need wheelchair access or a lift, a larger training room, access to outside areas, etc.
- The timing – this could be start/finish times or even different days of the week/weekend
- The ‘starting point’ of each person – are some more experienced than others – so do you need to change your content to bring everyone up to speed?
- Ways that you use the training resources and the layout of the room, for example to accommodate learners with hearing or visual difficulties, or other medical conditions.
- The learning styles of your learners – if you find this out early you can make sure your teaching methods will appeal to them
Again, we go into more depth in the Award in Education and Training Online qualification and I will give more detail in a later blog.
Now, at last, you’re going to Deliver the Training
Using your lesson plan as a guide, an aide-memoir, a timer, and a place to make notes when things go a bit off-track, you can be as sure as you can be that you are using appropriate teaching methods at the right pace and level for your learners.
Things don’t always go as planned, of course, and this might be the time you realise that you really should have gone into more depth at Stage 1 or done more in-depth planning at Stage 2.
Don’t ignore this if it happens, but use what we call Formative Assessment to test, formally or informally, whether everyone is keeping up, or whether some of the group need to be challenged a bit more.
Leading on nicely to Assess the Learning
Although this appears as Stage 4 of the Teaching Cycle, assessment actually happens all the way through. While you are Identifying Learners’ Needs at the beginning, you are carrying out Initial Assessment – assessing what your learners’ needs are at the start of the process, how much they already know, and what they need and expect from your training.
As described in the section above on Delivering the Training, it is Formative (or on-going) Assessment that will help you and your learners stay on track.
Summative Assessment is the more formal process as the end to measure the learning that has taken place and measured against the learning objectives stated at the start. This type of assessment could be assignments, Q&A, carrying out practical tasks, presentations, portfolio of wok-based evidence – and there are many many many more ways to summatively assess their learning.
And we end with Evaluate the Programme
All to often trainers ‘evaluate’ a session or a programme of learning by handing out an evaluation form. All too often this is done as an add-on at the end of the day when everyone wants to get out to beat the traffic on the way home. By leaving it to the end and by putting your trust in a tick-sheet you can miss out some valuable feedback.
I like to get my learners into small groups and ask them some key questions which they will later share with others to generate some discussion and trigger thoughts about what they found useful and enjoyable as well as what would have made it better for them. You can give the tick-sheets out afterwards, and I’m sure you will find your learners give more meaningful comments.
There are other ways to evaluate which I’ll go into in a later blog, but they include measuring how many of your group completed the course successfully and what they did with their new learning when they left you.
We cover all this in detail and refer to it often in the online course Award in Education and Training. For a free sample from the course please CLICK HERE
For more detail about the course and whether it is right for you, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org