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Emma Sue Prince



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Trials and pilots


Do you have advice on best practice for trialing training and new materials? We are being asked to organise trials of new materials and training across several regions in Africa for a wider roll out (using local organisations and local on the ground support). What is best practice in terms of size and numbers to get valid results? How strongly should all this be linked with M&E.  I have some ideas but would welcome a wider view.

Thank you!

3 Responses

  1. some learning


    I have delivered a few pilots for training programmes that I have designed. My key learning from them would be:

    – Brief the pilot audience in advance and then at the start of the session. Make sure they know why they are there and the purpose of the programme. Explain how the pilot will run, set ground rules such as when they should ask questions and make suggestions on content etc this keeps you on track and the momentum going, as you would have in a real training environment.

    – Get the good mix of attendees/stakeholders involved. This gives a good broad spectrum of feedback which is useful to make enhancements and changes before you go live.

    – Don’t be afraid to give an overview of an exercise (that you know works) rather then deliver it on the pilot, this saves on time if you are running over or may not be actually necessary to deliver it. The most recent customer service programme I delivered contained a 40 minute practical session in a live environment, I didn’t ask the pilot group to do this but provided an overview and explained what learning would be made by doing this.

    – Lastly don’t take the feedback personally. Standing up in front of a group of people and delivering the course for the first time, can be daunting, and then asking for feedback straight after can add to it, (I don’t know of any other job where you actively ask people to give you feedback in a large group at the same time!). When the pilot has finished and the feedback received, take 30 minutes out before you even consider going through it and looking at your work, this allows you to be objective and gives you time for the adrenaline to pass.

     In terms of the Evaluation process; I give an overview of this after the feedback so everyone is clear what this process will look like, they may give suggestions on what they would like to see and give support to this process. 

  2. Thank you

    Dear Scott

    Thank you for your comments. Really helpful and support some of what we are doing now as I have only just found your answer!


    Thanks again,


    Emma Sue

  3. Charge

    Hi Emma

    I would recommend charging a nominal fee. Free courses attract the wrong people and in many cases they don't even turn up or leave before the end.

    Offering 50% discount as it is a trial course would give you higher quality delegates and more useful feedback.

    "Big up" the idea of it being a first course and they are special for being chosen to attend due to their experience / expertise etc

    Good luck


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Emma Sue Prince


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