NMI’s 8-Step Guide to Designing Training Programs

March 28, 2019 — by Lauren Jones    

At MediaMath, we live our values. And New Marketing Institute (NMI), our educational arm, has a favorite value: Obsess over learning & growth. Here at MediaMath, we know the importance of education and are producing valuable training content across all of our teams, not just NMI. Therefore, NMI decided to share our process when it comes to designing relevant, effective, outcomes-based training that has the learner at its core.

Step 1: Conduct a needs analysis

A critical first step when designing bespoke training for clients or developing new content for internal use is to establish the business outcome that the training is intended to support. Conducting a needs analysis equips you with the information you need to design a relevant, outcomes-based and learner-centered training solution. For more information, see this guide from the Association of Talent Development.

Step 2: Submit a training proposal

Once you have completed the needs analysis, you can transfer your findings into a training proposal. This is a high-level overview of what the training will involve, including a rationale for developing the training, timelines and resources that will be required. This document can be used to manage stakeholder expectations as well as for sign-off purposes.

Step 3: Develop a framework

Your framework will clearly set out the following:

  • A high-level overview of the course and its aims
  • Learning objectives—statements detailing what the facilitator will do to achieve the aims
  • Intended learning outcomes—statements detailing what the learner will be able to do having completed the training
  • Teaching methods
  • Assessment tasks

Establishing a framework before you start planning which topics to include and designing course materials ensures that your training is focused on achieving the learner’s goal and that all participants will leave the room with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to be successful in their roles. You can find more information on how to create a framework and best practices with this useful resource from Queen Mary University of London.

Step 4: Draft a session plan

Now that you have your framework, which is like a blueprint for your training, you can start building out the content and planning activities. Be sure to allow enough time for each module or unit and add in breaks, icebreakers and activities where most appropriate.

Step 5: Review your framework

At this point, it is worth taking another look at your framework and asking yourself questions such as:

  • “Are my intended learning outcomes achievable?”
  • “Am I pitching this at the right level?”
  • “Are my teaching methods appropriate?”
  • “Is my training session inclusive?”

You can then tweak as you see fit.

Step 6: Prepare course materials

Now it’s time to get creative. Think about your audience and try to create engaging, impactful and accessible course materials. Remember that these materials—slides, workbooks, handouts, activities—are intended to support your teaching and interactions with your learners. You’re not giving a presentation, so don’t make it all about the deck.

Step 7: Check for inclusivity and alignment

You’re almost there, but before you can launch your training, you need to have one final check for alignment. You can do this by cross-referencing your session plan with your framework to ensure you have clearly defined what you want the learners to know, how they are going to learn it and how you will know they have learnt it.

You can also take this opportunity to ensure the teaching and learning is transparent, fair and inclusive. You can do this using an online checklist such as this one from the University of Plymouth.

Step 8: Review

Reviewing and redeveloping your training will enhance learning, engagement, experience and outcomes:

  • Specify how you will evaluate the success of the training.
  • Schedule time to review the training and make improvements as necessary.

If you would like any further support with your training initiatives, please don’t hesitate to reach out to NMI. We will happily equip you with valuable tools and guidance to guarantee that your training meets the learner where they are.