Monday, 9 February 2015

How to run a training course

18 January 2015

We are going to re-run our course on EPO proceedings.  There is still a whole load of people queuing up for the chance to feel out of their depth and demoralised.  And so successful was the last course at recreating that unique frisson of unpredictability and despair that oral proceedings provide, we feel it is our duty to open up the experience to a wider group of victims.

Obviously I have learnt a lot from organising last year’s course, so this year it should be easy.  In fact, in the spirit of expertise-sharing, here is my blueprint for How to Run A Training Course.

  1. Begin by writing a project plan.  Make it bold and optimistic.  Format it as a brightly-coloured table.  Distribute it widely.  None of this matters: nobody will read it anyway.
  2. Write detailed instructions for everyone mentioned in the project plan.  Nobody will read those either.
  3. Write a syllabus.  Ditto.
  4. Embellish the syllabus with boxes of Learning Outcomes.  Be honest about these.  If you expect that by the end of the course, students will be able to:
    1. describe the early symptoms of paranoia,
    2. generate their own panic attack and
    3. understand the value of cognitive behavioural therapy,

you should say so.

  1. Keep calm when team members email you at random points during the project and ask what they’re supposed to be doing, when, where and why.  Do not weep when they ask you what the course is about.  Refer them to the project plan and the embellished syllabus.
  2. However, if they cannot remember your name, then you are allowed to weep.
  3. When they ask for more time to complete their allocated tasks, always grant them an extension.  This is a face-saving measure.  They are not going to complete their tasks in time anyway.  You may as well be gracious about it, and maintain at least a semblance of control.
  4. Bin the project plan.
  5. Write the course manual.  Base it loosely on the material your team members have supplied, only pretend they were working to the same syllabus as you.
  6. Bin the syllabus. 
  7. Do not under any circumstances allow other people to edit what you have written.  It is up to you where you put your commas and Capital Letters.  Take heart from the fact that people who send you tracked changes will never, ever check whether you’ve accepted those changes.  A tracked change is a Job Done and Forgotten About.
  8. Record some webinars.  Bring your own IT system in case the IT Department has forgotten to come to work that morning.  Try not to fall asleep while recording the webinars, even if they are long, because it is demoralising for the speakers.  Your job is to keep the speakers upbeat and jolly, by telling them how upbeat and jolly they sound. 
  9. Hold a planning meeting.  People may or may not come, and if they do, they may not come to the same place and at the same time as you do.  But it will make you feel better.
  10. Be strict about the dress code for your meetings.  Especially if there are barristers involved.  Barristers like to shock you into believing they are gods, but actually they are not gods they are just very articulate messengers of the gods.  And messengers of the gods are used to hiding their normal clothes under gowns.  Look at the angels.
  11. Find a venue with a terribly nice man in charge of it, so that it hardly matters that your meeting rooms are spread over three floors and there is only one plate of biscuits between them.
  12. Alert the Biscuit Pixies to a potential biscuit famine on floors one and two; ensure supplies arrive by 10 am.
  13. Hold a final planning meeting.  Hope that you are quorate.  Invite some people in off the street just in case.  If you are lucky, they may be able to write the last chapters of the course manual for you.
  14. Find someone to print your course manual in a nice glossy professional format.  Be aware, however, that printers and publishers use a different calendar to the rest of us, and also they do not like to work too quickly for fear of bending the space-time continuum.  If you need the printed manuals by Friday, tell them your absolute final deadline is Tuesday.
  15.  Hold an absolutely final planning meeting.  On your own.  Find somewhere comfortable.  Invite some alcoholic beverages.
  16. On the morning of the workshop day, get up early and stop whimpering.  Your job is to put pretty-coloured stickers on people’s name badges so that they know which group they’re in.  Do not make a mess of this vital task.
  17. You also need to talk to the terribly nice man and his colleagues about where you want the plate of biscuits to be.  Tell them: Don’t worry; I will carry it around with me.
  18. You may need to collect some of the delegates from their homes and escort them to the workshop venue, if they have forgotten to read the document that tells them where the course is being held.  (This is of course an immediate fail if you are doing real oral proceedings.)  Do not forget to tie their shoelaces for them and check that they have their packed lunch and PE kit.
  19. At the workshop, relax and enjoy yourself.  This is your Big Day.  It is your chance to swan around telling everyone you are the Course Leader but not actually doing anything useful.  If anything looks like going wrong, move quickly to another room to be busy and important. 
  20. When the workshop has finished, stay behind to gather up the unused course notes.  Eat all the leftover biscuits: this is your prerogative as Chief Tidying-Up Pixie.  Weep tears of relief and vow never to run the course again.
  21. Repeat.

1 comment:

  1. very useful really good information thanks for posting such a good information it will hepls the people a lot keep it up , Regards, obiee training in hyderabad