Do you know who owns what?

who owns what?When I was working with a designer (the brilliant Jakenna Creative Design) to develop the logo for The Trainers CPD Club I was reminded of a pretty horrifying experience one of my clients had with Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

At the time I was working with a pretty big organisation who shall remain nameless to spare their blushes.  We’ll call them Company X.  They had approached a designer a few years previously to have a new logo developed for the business.  The new logo was duly created, agreed and subsequently used on all the usual places:  websites, marketing materials, headed paper, invoices and so on.

At the point I was working with Company X, they wanted to make themed versions of their logo so they could reflect the various seasons and festivities that take place during any given year (like Christmas).  They went back to the original designers to get a quote for the work, and as any good business would, they also took a couple of quotes for the work from elsewhere.

After considering all three options, it was decided that a new designer represented better value for money and ultimately would be able to do the work for cheaper.

A couple of days after informing all parties about their decision to use someone else, Company X received an email from the original designer saying that they were not allowed to use someone else as the ownership of the logo belonged to them (the original designer).

You can imagine their surprise.  Surely the copyright for their logo belonged to them.  It was, afterall, their logo.  But a quick investigation of the original brief with the designer didn’t stipulate that the copyright/ownership would transfer to the business once the logo was completed, so unfortunately the designer was right.  The copyright was theirs

If Company X wanted to make any changes at all (even small ones like spacing between words, colour shades etc) then they had to use their original designer to do the work.

In the end Company X”bought” the ownership and the copyright of the logo from the designers.  They felt in the longer term this was the best way of protecting their own business branding/image and IPRs.  They also re-viewed their agreement documents for material design and development to make sure the issue of copyright and ownership was covered and clearly stated before any documents were signed.

The big lesson for all of us here is to know who owns what!  Do you know who owns your training material?  It is you, your employer or your clients?  What about supporting materials you produce?

I’d love to hear your views and experiences on copyright and ownership – please share in the comments below or Facebook or twitter.

If you are at all unsure about this area,why not check out this months module in The Trainers CPD Club:  Trainer and the Law.  Absolutely packed full of all the information trainers need to ensure they stay on the right side of the law. It launches on 19th May and will be running for the full month.


Posted in Developing Training, Training Tagged with: , , , ,

The Importance of the H&S Briefing

fire alarmHave you ever wondered why you do a Health and Safety brieing at the start of every face-to-face session?  Or have you just always trotted out the same old speech about fire exits, fire alarms and fire drills that you always have without ever really giving it much thought?

I’ll be honest, for many years I did just go through these things because it was what I was told to do (when I was a new trainer) and it was a habit.  I had never really given it a whole lot of thought.

Until one day, I was facilitating a session away from my employers (at the time) offices and the fire alarm went off.  At the time I had small groups of delegates dotted around the venue working on a case study.  I had a momentary panic wondering whether I should go and look for them or just leave.. should I lock the training room door, or would they come back for their things?  It took only a second for my H&S briefing to come back to me:

“if the fire alarm does sound, please treat it as a real evacuation and leave through your nearest emergency exit.  If you are in this room, your nearest exit is xxxxx.  If you are working elsewhere, please take a moment to locate the nearest exit before you begin the task so you can leave directly should the alarm sound.  Please DO NOT return to this room in the event of an evacuation, even to collect personal belongings”.

So I headed, with the remaining delegates straight for the fire exit and out to the meeting point.

The venue evacuated well and fortunately is turned out to be a false alarm but it did get me thinking about the H&S briefing I’d carried out at the start of the day:

  • Had I been clear enough?
  • Was the information correct?
  • Were my instructions detailed enough?

Once we were outside a fire marshall came along and asked me if all my delegates were out.  I only had a small group that day so I know all 10 of them had gotten safely out of the building.  But I realised that I hadn’t lifted the sign-in sheet.  So had the circumstances been different and there had been a real fire and/or I had been working with a much larger number of delegates, I would have been unable to easily work if who (if anyone) was missing.  The possible implications of this horrified me and ever since I have made a point of keeping the attendance list accessible should I need to evacuate again.

I would highly recommend to all of you to take 10mins to review the Health & Safety briefings that you deliver in any of your sessions to make sure that should a situation occur you are ready!


If you want to find out more about your legal responsibilities as a trainer, check out our new Trainers CPD Club.

Posted in Facilitation, The Unintentional Trainers Guide To...., Training Tagged with: ,

The problem with online learning

learning-onlineOver the last few years we have seen a massive surge in the use of online learning for the delivery of training and development.  Companies are seizing on the opportunity to make training more accessible, more flexible, less time consuming, less costly and having less impact on the day to day running of the business/organisation.

With all of these benefits, it’s hard to see the pitfalls of using this method of delivery for the bulk of your training and development.

I have been working with a client who has just implemented a blended learning programme for some of their workforce.  This was their first foray into the online learning world and they were (rightly) proud of their efforts.  On paper, this approach was going to allow learners to access the online component at a time that was suitable for them.  The business is staffed 24-hours a day, so in theory people could complete the training regardless of which shift they were on.

This was was also going to save the company thousands in facilitators fees and staff salary costs.  Now, instead of someone having to attend 3 full days of classroom based training, they only have to attend a couple of short reflection modules which are facilitated on their premises, with 2/3 being run per day.

It sounds brilliant.  People get their theoretical knowledge at a time that’s convenient for them. They have the chance to mull over what they have learnt, but also get the opportunity to explore the main themes in a facilitated session, where any questions they have can be answered and explored.

Unfortunately, this plan relies heavily on some fundamental assumptions:

1.  That people will have the time to complete the online learning modules.  When training is provided online, it is easy for managers to say “fit it in when you can”, but when you already have a full workload, this can be really tricky.  It’s easy for online learning to be “bumped” down the priority list by the very fact that it IS always available.

2. That people will work through the material in the modules and not just skim through it or skip to the assessment at the end.  Unless people are really bought into the need to complete a particular online module, there is every possibility that they won’t actually work through the material in any meaningful way.  Instead, they will try and complete it whilst also taking phone calls, speaking to colleagues or replying to emails.

3.  That the technology will actually work!  Technical problems do occur.  Whether it’s with the online programme itself, the broadband or the computers that people are using.  The most common “technical” problem is of course with people forgetting their password to access the modules so building in a good “forgotten password” solution is vital.

If you are going to have real success with online learning, it would be prudent to think about how you are going to address these issues before you actually launch your learning solution.

Share your experiences of online learning by commenting below.  What have you done to address the issues raised in this post?



Posted in e-Learning, Facilitation, Learning Methods Tagged with:

Top 3 Tips for Successful Co-facilitation

co_facilitatorsFrom time to time you may have to deliver a session with another trainer.  Whilst this can be intimidating in some ways (we’ll blog about that another day!), co-facilitating can be great fun for both the facilitators and the learners.  Here are our top three tips to help you get it right:

1.  Build a rapport before the session – very often you’ll be required to co-facilitate with someone that you don’t really know.  When you are delivering training together, either face-to-face or virtually you want your learners to have faith in you both as subject experts.  If the day of delivery is the first time you’ve met, the session is likely to be stilted and this may affect your credibility with your learners.

Make a point of meeting with, or at the very least, speaking with anyone else you’ll be delivering with.  Spend a little while getting to know them.  Believe it or not, it will make your session run more smoothly which means it will be more effective for your delegates.

2.  Agree who will do what – there is nothing worse when you are sitting in a session, than the facilitators having a discussion right in front of you about who is going to do what.  It shows a lack of preparation on their part, which devalues the whole experience for learners.

Knowing in advance which sections you will be focusing on also allows you to prepare more thoroughly.

3.  Set your ground rules – my personal facilitation style is quite relaxed.  If I’m working with someone else I don’t mind at all if they step in and add something to a discussion, or give an additional example.  I encourage it in fact, as very often the facilitator who is observing a particular session will see things that I don’t.  That’s one of the great things about co-facilitation.  However, I have worked with people who are more formal, and they don’t like these types of interjections whilst they are setting up a piece of group work (for example).  It’s best to have this discussion in advance.  Agree how you would like to work together.  Set your own grounds rules.  It will save any awkwardness during the session itself.

I’d love to hear some examples of how you have worked with other trainers (either positive or negative)!  Share them in the comments below.

Posted in Facilitation, Facilitation Techniques, How To...., Training Tagged with: , , , ,

3 reasons to never give handouts (at the start of the session)

7827785878_34859830a8_qNowadays, handouts are commonplace.  And most often they are given out to learners/delegates at the start of a session.  Here’s our top three reasons why you should never give handouts until the end of your session:

1.  Without handouts people will be more likely to take their own notes.

When given a handout, most people assume the key points will be in it.  Consequently, they are unlikely to take any additional notes. And of course to an extent they are right.  The key points as you see them as the facilitator will be in it.

However, you don’t know what each individual delegates current knowledge is, you don’t know the gaps they are trying to plug or the specific issues they are facing.  Instead of giving handouts at the start of the day, provided notes pages and encourage delegates to take notes throughout the day of the things that resonate with them and the things that they believe they most want to remember.

I’ve done this habitually for a while now and people understand how only they can create the most effective record of the learning event for them.  (If there is a handout to be provided at the end of the session, I will let people know this and give an outline of what it will contain e.g. the handout contains copies of all the models we’ll be talking about today).

2.  Without notes to look at people are more likely to remain engaged.

Quite frequently, once they have a handout in front of them people think that they no longer need to pay full attention.  I suppose because they assume that the handout will provide all the information they need.  They don’t necessarily appreciate the in-depth knowledge you provide as you are expanding on models/theories/diagrams etc.

3.  Without notes, people can’t skip ahead.

There is nothing worse that introducing a topic to a group and posing an introductory question to a group (such as “what do you think the key characteristics of a leader are?” for example), and then having someone – who has turned the page of their handout pack – read the list of key characteristics out to you.  Not only does this throw your timetable totally out of whack, but it also kills the opportunity for discussion and exploration of ideas, which as you know is part of the process of the learning process.

If you don’t issue the handouts at the start of the session, you don’t run this risk.  People can’t skip ahead (and they will – even if you tell them not too.  Sometimes especially if you tell them not too!)

Try it!  Keep your handouts until the end of your session and see how things go, I’d love for you to come back and let me know if it made a positive difference for you.

Posted in Facilitation, Training, Training Tools, Uncategorized Tagged with: , ,

Do you have a training crutch?

what's your training crutch?I have always prided myself with being a trainer that doesn’t rely on PowerPoint to deliver a face-to-face session.  Don’t get me wrong, I do use it, but I’m quite confident running a session with just a flip chart and some markers and in fact that is what I prefer to do much of the time.

Consequently, it’s never phased me when I’ve arrived to set up for a session and found no projector, no scart cable, no working USB port, etc etc – and lets be honest, these types of hiccups are not uncommon in our line of business.

Imagine then my surprise when I arrived at a venue for a session earlier this week and I discovered that not only did they have no projector, they also had no flip chart paper (they had run out and the delivery wasn’t due to arrive until the next day).

I was momentarily stumped.  How on earth was I going to deliver the session effectively without PowerPoint OR a flip chart!  In that moment, I realised that I had come to rely on a flip chart the way some people rely on PowerPoint to facilitate.  I had become so used to standing next to a flip chart, drawing up models, getting delegates to brainstorm on flips etc that I’d started to limit my thinking around how learning can be delivered.

I decided to use this as an opportunity to do things a bit differently.  I did things like:

1.  Played the videos to small groups (I had my laptop with me), in a round robin style.  So one group would be watching the video and having a discussion, whilst the other groups would be working on different exercises all of which took around 20-25mins.  After the time, the groups moved “stations” to the next exercise until all groups had completed all exercises.  At the end of the hour, we had a plenary discussion with the whole group to identify key learnings/messages.

2.  I prepared a few diagrams of key models on scrap A4 paper during the break.  I issued one to each small group and they could follow along with the presentation using the diagram in front of them.

3.  I emphasised the importance of people taking notes for themselves during the session as there would be no flips for them to take pictures of!  (Something that I’m seeing happening more and more when I’m facilitating)

4.  Used post-it notes to create talking walls and capture the key leanings from group discussions.

So, all was not lost and the session actually went extremely well.  (I’ll still be popping a blank flip chart pad into the boot of my car from now on though!  :D)

When you’ve been facilitating for a while (and even when you are new!) you find ways that work for you and it’s easy to stick with them.  I’d encourage you to take some time to think about what you are using as your training crutch and what you would do if it was taken away?  Perhaps try facilitating without your favourite tool or aid and see how you get on – challenge yourself!


I’d love to hear how you get on – let me know in the comments below, on our facebook page or on twitter.

Posted in Facilitation, Training Tagged with: , , ,

The Unintentional Trainers Guide to Lesson Plans

lesson planOnce you’ve done your Training Needs Analysis (TNA) and developed your learning outcomes, the next step is to map our your lesson plan.  Don’t be put off by its jargon-y title it’s just the document which sets out the content and flow of your session.

Why do I need a Lesson Plan?

Great lesson plans are worth their weight in gold!  They provide the blueprint for your session, helping you ensure that you provide content for all of your identified learning outcomes.  They also set out the timings for your session, detailing how long each activity or exercise should take.  This is vital information to ensure your session runs smoothly and helps you manage your session more effectively.

More than this though, the lesson plan is what helps you ensure that your session is delivered consistently.  A must if your session is t be delivered multiple times in the same company.  Don’t get me wrong, there is will always be some variations between sessions based on the delegates and what they bring to the session, but by in arge people should come away with the same core messages and having achieved the same learning outcomes.  Your lesson plan is your key to helping you do that.  Trying to remember content month to month (or even quarter to quarter) is very tricky, especially if you deliver a range of sessions.

If you are still not convinced about the merits of a lesson plan, then maybe this will sway you.  What if, for some reason, you are unable to facilitate a particular session?  If you have a really good lesson plan in place then you can ask someone else to deliver it for you.  If you don’t, then you have to cancel the session and deal with all the issues that go with that.  It just makes good sense to have a detailed lesson plan as a safety net.

What should I include in a Lesson Plan?

Over time I’m sure you will develop your own template, one which is laid out in a way that makes sense to you and which provides the core information that you need.  Until then, here is our list of “must include” information:

  • The session title
  • The session duration
  • Who is it aimed at
  • The learning aim and outcomes
  • A breakdown of the session by activity or topic
  • Timings of the session by activity or topic
  • Detailed facilitators notes for each activity and/or topic
  • List of additional materials required
  • References in the facilitators notes to other supporting documents (e.g powerpoint side or handout)

To help you get started quickly and easily with a really useful template, we’ve provided one in our Material Bank.   And you can access it and download it for free!

We’d love to see any alternative templates that you use, or hear about other information you include in your own lesson plans – please feel free to share in the comments below or on our facebook page.



Posted in How To...., The Unintentional Trainers Guide To...., Training Tools Tagged with: , , , ,

It’s not you, it’s them (some of the time anyway)

itsnotmeI had a really interesting experience whilst facilitating last week. I was running an all day session for a group of senior professionals.  After lunch one of the delegates lifted his phone and a notebook and left the room.  I assumed that he had a phone call to take/make and would return.  He did eventually come back… 1.5 hours later!

To be honest I didn’t think that much of it at the time.  I often find when you work with certain groups, time sensitive situations can develop and they need to step out to deal with them.  However, after the session was over he came and spoke to me.  He wanted to apologise for leaving the room but the exercises just weren’t his thing.

Initially, as you can imagine I wondered if it was to do with me, my delivery style or my material.  After a bit of a chat though, it became apparent that he had no problem with any of those things.  In fact, he’d found the first half (the more theoretical portion of the day) really valuable and enjoyable.  The afternoon session, the practical exercises, they just didn’t sit well with him.  He couldn’t even really pin point why.

In these situations, it is all too easy to take these things personally, but as this experience proves, sometimes it’s the delegates.  Maybe they aren’t in the right frame of mind, maybe something else is going on for them and they can’t focus.  Most likely you will never know.

The important thing is that you reflect on what happened, consider what you could have done differently but don’t fixate on it because sometimes it has nothing at all to do with you and everything to do with them.

Posted in Facilitation, Training Tagged with: , ,

The Unintentional Trainer’s Guide to the 70:20:10 Learning Model

The 70:20:10 learning model basically provides a formula for trainers and L&D professionals to use as a guide when they are creating learning solutions.  By the time you’ve finished reading this post, you’ll have a basic working knowledge of the model and how you can use it in your work.


In general, it’s a fairly new one on the L&D scene (when you compare it to the other models that we’ve looked at like Bloom’s Taxonomy, Maslow’s Hierarchy, the Learning Cycle etc) being based on research undertaken during the 80’s and was first published as a model in the 90’s.

The credit for the model is being given to the Centre of Creative Leadership in North Carolina (a group of researchers developed it together, but most commonly you’ll hear Lombardo and Eichinger being referenced for the work because they published data from one study in a book).  However, it is generally accepted that the model has been made popular by Charles Jennings.

Model Overview

70:20:10 Learning Model  The basic premise of the model is this:

70% of someone’s development comes from experience on the job.  Being faced with problems, difficulties, things they don’t know how to do and tackling them there and then.

20% comes from informal learning – learning from colleagues, shadowing, coaching etc.

The final 10% comes from formal training and development.

Whilst no-one disagrees with the accuracy of the research, the Learning & Development industry has been (and largely still is) struggling to apply this model.  It is still the case that most practitioners will initially address an identified development need with a formal, structure training course of some type.

Part of the reason for this is that to apply the model you have to let go of the ability to “manage” someone’s development (whether or not you ever could manage another persons development is a discussion for another day!) and rely on facilitating and guiding someone, providing access to the right information at the right time, which is a much more challenging prospect.

How We Can Apply The Model

Essentially, its about thinking carefully about the composition of the training solutions that you offer and resisting the temptation to fall into the traditional model of meeting development needs.

If you feel you need to have a formal learning element (i.e. something classroom based), try and keep it to a minimum and consider how the content will be structured and delivered.  There are lots of ways to build social learning into more formalised learning processes too.


If you want to include some informal or social learning options, some of the things you might consider doing could be:

  •  Working with managers to help them understand their role in their teams development.
  • Minimise the amount of classroom or formal training content
  • Develop mentoring policies/processes/programmes as part of a development programme.
  • Encourage manager’s to think about alternative methods of developing their teams, which could include:
    • Taking on new tasks
    • Being involved in special projects
    • Increase area of control or responsibility
    • Covering the role of others during leave
    • On-job coaching
  • Create and facilitate action learning sets
  • Encouraging attendance at external professional events

These are just some of the things you can consider to develop the experiential and social elements of learning. I’m sure you can think of lots more!  I’d love to hear how you’ve applied this model in your workplace.  :)




Posted in Developing Training, How To...., Learning Theory, The Unintentional Trainers Guide To.... Tagged with: , , , , ,

Bloom’s Taxonomy Made Simple

The taxonomy (a fancy word for classification) was created by a committee of educators and chaired by Benjamin Bloom (which is where it got it’s name).  It was a model originally developed (first published around 1956, but worked on from 1949) to assist University Professors to classify the work they were getting students to undertake.

Since then it has made it’s way into all areas of Learning and Development and is a really useful tool to help you think about the depth of knowledge and level of ability your are trying to provide to your learners.

The model itself was revisited in 2000 and some amendments made, it’s this revised version that we are going to use today because I think the language used is easier to grasp.

Bloom's Taxonomy - pyramid showing the six revised levels.

The things you need to know are :

1.  The original committee created 3 variations of this model.

  • One around knowledge, comprehension and thinking (known as the cognitive domain – that’s the one in the picture above and is the one most commonly used.
  • One around the emotional reaction (the affective domain)
  • One around the ability to physically manipulate a tool or instrument (the psychomotor domain)

2.  When learning something new, you start at the bottom of the pyramid and to increase your expertise in a subject you move up the various levels of the pyramid.

3.  At each level you should be able to do the following things:

  • Remembering is about being able to recall information.
  • Understanding is about being able to explain ideas or concepts.
  • Applying is about being able to use the information in another familiar setting.
  • Analysing is breaking information into parts to be able to explore relationships between things.
  • Evaluating is about justifying a decision or course of action.
  • Creating is about generating new ideas, products or ways of viewing things.

What does this mean for us in training?

Basically, what this allows us to do is determine the level of expertise that someone or group of people is required to have on a specific subject, and then use the Taxonomy as a staring point for the learning objectives to ensure the learning solution is fit for purpose.

For example, lets say I have a group of managers who need to implement a new sickness/absence policy.  Using Bloom’s Taxonomy, I would be able to determine that they only need to be able to remember it (they need to know the detail to implement it), understand it (so they can explain it to their teams) and apply it (so they can enforce the new rules).  It is the job of the HR team to analyse it (know how it fits with other policies), evaluate it (be able to justify it to the Board of Directors) and Create it (develop it in the first place).

Knowing this would then let me develop a much more tailored, effective learning solution as the manager’s would only be given the information they needed, but would be given it in such a way that they were able to go and actively apply it back in their role.

How have you used Bloom’s Taxonomy?  Or is it totally new to you?  I love to hear your views in the comments below.  :)

Posted in Learning Theory, The Unintentional Trainers Guide To...., Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , , ,

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