Training materials, such as handouts, PowerPoints, or flip charts, are often used as visual aids that facilitate and enhance the participant’s learning experience. Materials should be easy-to-read and should highlight the most important messages or needs. Keep in mind that visual aids (such as PowerPoints, handouts, overheads, and flip charts) play a supportive role to the main teaching technique and do not substitute for teaching.
The Training Manager may wish to have training materials peer reviewed by technically competent external reviewers or by a standing advisory board established for that specific purpose. These reviewers should possess relevant expertise and experience in the disciplines appropriate to the course subject. It is advisable that one or more of the reviewers be an experienced worker representing those to whom the training is directed. While it is not required under, having materials peer reviewed by those with relevant expertise has proven useful.
The following are some principles for creating the text for easy-to-read materials:
- Base the content on the individuals’ most important needs.
- Identify the “priority message.” The priority message should convey the most important information about a problem and how it could be solved. It should be short, informative, and easy to remember.
- Don't offer too much information that a reader can feel overwhelmed.
- Organize text into short, logical sections by using headings or subtitles.
- Use words that are easy to understand.
- Define technical terms or jargons.? Keep sentences short and simple.
- Use a conversational style and active voice, such as the kind of language that the participants use.
The design of the material is as important as the content. Making the materials visually appealing and easier for the eye will encourage people to read it. The following are tips for the design of the materials:
- Use a large, easy to read font for the main text.
- Emphasize important points with underlining, bold type, italics, or boxes.
- Include plenty of white spaces by using wide margins.
- Use plenty of simple illustrations to explain the text.
- Use simple line drawings, free of clutter and abstract drawings.
PowerPoint is not a teaching technique; it is a visual aid that can be used to enhance learning, just like flip charts, overheads, and handouts. PowerPoint will not, in and of itself, improve participant learning. It is the way that instructors use PowerPoint that can encourage learning. Deciding when, where, and how it can be used appropriately is the key.
Many instructors mistakenly use PowerPoint as their main teaching technique. If an instructor teaches only by showing and reading a PowerPoint presentation, there is not much opportunity for participation. In fact, use of PowerPoint can stifle participation. The teaching turns out to be “one-way”, similar to the “traditional” model of education with the instructor as expert and the participants as just the receivers of information. As mentioned previously adult learning is most effective when it is participatory - when participants are active participants in the learning process.
There are three main issues to consider when using PowerPoint: content, design, and delivery.
- Plan your lesson or class first, and then write the content of the PowerPoint slides.
- Include the main points, not lots of text.
- Design: Be creative in using PowerPoint. If you plan to use PowerPoint, it is critical that it be used in such a way that participants retain and use the information, as well as participate in the learning experience.
Using Flip Charts
Flip charts, like PowerPoints, are visual aids that are used to facilitate, enhance or bring more clarity to the learning experience. It is an interactive and flexible aid that promotes interaction and engagement between the facilitator and the participants.
Flip charts promote participation as they are interactive—the facilitator can use the flip chart to write participants' ideas or answers. They also promote flexibility in teaching and learning—since the facilitator is writing as discussion evolves and not fixed in a "set" progression. Flip charts are low-tech, inexpensive, and easily portable. They also reinforce learning because participants can see and hear what is being talked about.
Participants feel like they have contributed if the facilitator writes what the participant says. It is best to use the words the participant uses and not to paraphrase. It is necessary to remember that what gets written needs to be discussed. Filling a room with lists of things people have said without analyzing and discussing what they say does not produce real learning.
|Tips when using Flipcharts