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Handouts and Follow Ups


Having recently attended a workshop (“all materials supplied”), I only discovered there would be no handouts once I was there.

As the style of the workshop appeared to be based mostly on personal effort, that should have been sufficient.

In practice, the tutor was very knowledgeable and a lot of information came out that was impossible to capture, for example, styles and even a glossary of the various terms used, and I suggested a follow-up pdf. (Low-cost, good sales and marketing practice!)

That would not only keep existing delegates happy, it might also provide the basis of future workshops.

What do other members think?

Euphrosene Labon

8 Responses

  1. A massive topic! Therefore just a few thoughts …..
    One question is whether some form of printed material, available either on the day or later, is required for the delegates to achieve the learning outcomes. If there is a glossary of terms, and the delegates need to know these terms, but there are too many for the delegates to write down or commit to memory on the day, then access to a printed list is probably needed.

    Handouts can be a must for delegates who have any form of learning difficulty or sensory impairment, or whose first language is not English. In this case they can be much more beneficial if they are made available before the training. There are guidelines on designing handouts for people who have dyslexia or who have a visual impairment.

    The value of handouts is debateable; anyone who has ever had a clearout will have come across old handouts that were filed immediately after the training and which have never seen the light of day since! They have not impacted on our learning. Handouts don’t just have to be in printed form; they can be made available electronically, on demand, for access by those who see them as having some personal value. The challenge for trainers is how the value of handouts can be maximised to contribute to intended learning.

    “All materials supplied” conveys to me that I would receive something significant!

    Can we have some more views on this please?

  2. The Online Choice
    I’d especially agree with Eddie about providing course resources online.

    This is a very cheap option, it gets around the problem of people losing materials when they get back to base, and can be access-controlled by giving delegates a password for your website as part of the course materials.

    Having said that, many people do remember what they are learning more effectively if they actually write stuff at the timedown at the time. So some kind of on-course handouts are still advisable (and certainly a glossary if the course features a lot of specialist words/phrases) – though they don’t need to be as extensive or as detailed as would be the case if they were the ONLY course materials.

    Best wishes


  3. the value of handouts
    A lot of the handouts we do use are little more than structured note space for delegates to make their own notes and commitments in applying the material.

    Having said that, as an escaped accountant I also run finance courses and handouts are ABSOLUTELY essential!

    Dave Bull

  4. 80:20 recall
    The old 80:20 chestnut applies really…

    …and I suppose my original point related to something I learned in Rank Xerox days…

    must know
    should know
    nice to know

    Dependent on time and information-overload, you’d dump the last two but they are quite good for handouts.

  5. Value of Course Notes
    Just as cleanliness of bathrooms is a significant determinant of percieved quality to restaurant guests, so are course notes (and quality of morning tea) to course participants.

    A well produced set of notes indicates effort has been put into design of the course.

    Coincidentally, an exercise I find unsettles participants at times, but gets regular and positive feedback is a 5 minute interlude at critical times in the course where they are asked to quietly reflect on the material recently delivered and to write this reflection in the relevant place in the course notes.


    Nev Schefe

  6. how about…
    I agree with Eddie about handout notes being filed straight after an event. I have used a business card sized handout (sometimes laminated) with main points on it. It has gone down well. I have also used bi-fold cards (like a greeting card) or even a tri-fold (comes out like a Toblerone pack) that delegates can keep on their desks afterwards.
    All cheap to produce and seem to fulfil the need.

  7. Interactive
    Produce handouts which have the ‘must know’ information on, but with gaps or spaces for the participants to fill an as you deliver the session. This encourages active listening and participation for the critical aspects that are missing from the handout.

    Check out Bob Pikes handouts for examples in the USA which include use of graphics and not just text.

  8. Different learning styles
    I do feel that it is important for those attending any training session to have handouts to which they could refer to when it comes to putting what they have learned into practice and/or indeed sharing their training with others in an organisation. It also helps to address the different learning styles of those attending.


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