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Seb Anthony

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Design checklists – do they work?


I'm looking to review the design checklists that we use as one of the ways we measure the effectiveness of our training material.

Just wondered if anyone else used anything similar and what they included?

As a brief overview we currently assess our design against the following 10 core principles before we move on to traditional evaluation:
1)Has sufficient TNA been carried out?
2)Is the recommended solution reflective of the findings from the TNA?
3)Are the objectives of the solutions behavioural objectives i.e. contain a performance, standard and condition?
4)Does the training follow 7 steps:
5)Have all learning styles been covered (SAVI)?
6)Have formatting standards been met?
7)Are all the training objectives met within the training?
8)Has the material been piloted?
9)Is the content and structure of the training learner centred?
10)Is the content and structure of the material engaging?

Let me know if you use anything similar and how it compares/how we could improve this.

Dawn Gilbert

4 Responses

  1. Add Business Focus
    Hi Dawn.

    The one thing I believe is missing – and I think you are already heading in the right direction – is to explicitly include reference to the business objectives for the training.

    For example:

    1)Has sufficient TNA been carried out?

    What does “sufficient” mean/look like? Here I’d try to include whether the business objectives been clarified and measurably described.

    2)Is the recommended solution reflective of the findings from the TNA?

    Great…always good to include a “check and balance”, but again refer to the business objectives as the ultimate test.

    7)Are all the training objectives met within the training?

    Again, I would add another “check and balance” here, as sometimes content creep starts at this point and the business objectives become a distant factor.

    Hope these thoughts help.


  2. Design checklists
    I think design checklists have a part to play but I would just urge caution about assuming compliance with a checklist equals good design.
    Checklists are handy to make sure you consider all the key issues and are helpful in minimising bad practices. But great design is as much an art as a science; it requires a deep understanding of how learning methods work and how that integrates with the topic, goals, target audience and organisational culture. It also needs to take account of the expertise of the deliverer, the equipment and facilities, creativity versus risk, the time available, and the flexibility needed (for different size or type of group, people with disabilities, the licence you give the trainers, etc.). Plus all the things on your list.
    And even after all of that, it sometimes comes down to that instinctive quality that determines not how well you follow the rules, but how well you break them.

  3. Design and delivery checklists
    Hi Dawn, I believe that the checklist you have would work if used to prepare materials for delivery and as a useful review mechanism. I have a real doozy of a list from my NLP trainer training with John Seymour last year.

    If you think the checklist you have now is comprehensive you need to view this one which is aimed at design and delivery.

    There is an interesting aspect to this uber-list which is that it invites me as a trainer to design my verbal and non verbal contributions and interventions in micro level detail.

    It is a creation of wonder and torment all in one as I strive to one day play all the right notes and in the right order, unlike Eric Morecombe in the Andre Previn sketch, which it feels like sometimes!

    If you want the uber list mail me




  4. Training Design
    Good advice-don’t forget to equality proof everything,before,during and after

    I have a colleague in another company who can give you free advice on this and a checklist supplement


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