Designing Training, The Ethos Way

Inclusive Leadership
Minute Read

In my first job in learning and development, I served mostly as a facilitator. When the time came to develop a new curriculum for our leadership team, I volunteered enthusiastically to take on our goal-setting training. After over a year of being in front of the classroom with pre-made content, I was ready to put my design skills to work. Perhaps I was overconfident - I was sure whatever 1.5-hour training I produced would inspire our leadership to nothing less than self-actualization....That was until I sat down at a blank PowerPoint deck and started to work. I could do little more than stare at the void of an empty, white slide and think to myself:

“I have no idea what I’m doing.”

Now, years later, after designing multiple trainings from scratch, becoming an APTD Certified trainer, and working across a number of business sectors, I have a much better idea of how to attack the blank slides in front of me.At Ethos, we make designing learning easy. Our sessions are built with best practices in mind to guide learners through content and into action.

Core Design

Adult learners need hands-on activities to help move them from concepts into action. At Ethos, we build all training by the rule of 2/3s. If our participants aren’t in exercises or discussion for 2/3 of the session, we retool and give them more to do. Engaging our learners with each other and content in unique ways is crucial to their retaining the 1/3 of the session that is content-heavy and information-focused.

Research Foundation

The ⅓ of content we develop into lecture is focused on key research done across DEI, psychology, sociology, organizational development theory, and even pop culture. But the Ethos magic isn’t just doing the research, it’s putting it together in unique ways to engage and facilitate discussion. Can we tie The Babadook to emotional intelligence? For sure. The movie is all about emotional agility.Can we integrate Pixar into our Gender Equity training? Of course. The short, Purl, is a great way to kick off this session.

The Ethos Funnel

The final phase of our design is putting this lecture and exercise material into our content funnel. Our trainings are built to get learners down to a narrow, focused action item that will help them take their learning out into the world.

  • Building Awareness - Introducing broad information and context, setting the stage for the topic
  • Deeper Understanding - Breaking down the large topic into its fundamental parts to analyze
  • Taking Ownership - Using new knowledge and tools and putting them into practice

By using these tools and structures, we design trainings that inform, guide and facilitate learning rather than simply instruct.After more years of experience, I’m not the best learning and development professional out there, but I’ve at least learned enough to feel confident in front of a series of menacing, blank slides.Now when I sit down, I don’t reflect on how I don’t know what I’m doing. I get excited about the opportunity to lead others where they need to go.

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