Choosing an Approach

Designers must be clear about the differences between three different approaches to working with adult learners. In this course we are focusing primarily on training and sometimes the training may involve facilitating.

Click on each to view the characteristics of the approach:

For the purposes of this course, we are focusing primarily on training and training which may involve facilitating. In which of these three approaches do you spend the majority of your time in working with adult learners?

The focus of your learning in this program is classroom based or stand up training. However, it is useful for you as a designer to be familiar with technology based options you may choose to use in place of classroom based training or to blend with classroom based training.




How many of these Technology-based approaches have you experienced? Drag and drop the checkmark into the box in front of those with which you are familiar.

Technology Based Training Options

 The most popular of these technology based approaches for Broward County Schools professional development programs include CD-ROM or Internet Web Based Training.   Click on each to learn more about the pros and cons of each.

While this program focuses mostly on classroom based training designs, designers should be familiar with criteria for determining when technology based training might be needed.  

Use Of Blended Designs

A checklist is provided as a PDF file to provide the designer with direction on whether using technology based approaches with adult learners might be preferable to a classroom-based approach.

Tally the number of "yes" responses on the checklist.   Find the total number in the chart below and determine the likelihood of success using a technology-based approach.  

12-10 Using a technology-based approach to your design seems very appropriate and conditions are favorable for its success.

9-7     Using a technology-based approach to your design may be appropriate; however, conditions may need to be improved to assure its success.

6-3     Using a technology-based approach is probably inappropriate unless conditions can be changed to improve the chances of success.

2-0     Using a technology-based approach to your design is inappropriate and few to no conditions exist that would be required for success.


Blended learning is defined as an approach that uses technology (high-tech, such as CD-ROM or web-based via the Internet or low-tech, such as voice mail or conference calls) combined with traditional classroom-based training, sometimes referred to as standup training.

This course is an example of an adult learning activity using a blended learning approach. Click on blended to learn more about the pros and cons of the approach.

Structure of the Design


Structure involves the logical structuring of the components of the adult learning activity.   The structure should be congruent with the specific outcomes for the learning.   Structure also involves the sequencing of the activities in order to achieve the desired specific objectives.  

A PDF file may be accessed to view several examples of overall structures for your design. Print the PDF if you wish to have the information available for future use in designing.

Submitted Activity 4-A: Create as a word document an outline or a mind map. Identify in the graphic the major chunks of content for each of the specific objectives you have previously identified for your training design.

Now as you view the outline or mind map, answer the questions below and submit them via email to your learning facilitator.   If you do not have access to email, print out your responses. A PDF file is provided as an option so you may fax, U.S. mail or Pony Mail it to your facilitator.

What is the "big picture" structure that seems most appropriate for your training design?  
Why have you selected the structure you have decided upon?
What might be the advantage or challenge to your design decision?

Other components of structure involve activities to be included in each design such as: icebreakers, energizers, summarizers, reflections, and transitions. Click on each to learn more and to understand the keys to using each of the components successfully in your design.

Submitted Activity 4-B: Create a list of your favorite ideas for icebreakers, energizers, summarizers, reflections, and strategies for transition. You may have used them or seen them used in an adult learning experience you have had. A PDF file is provided as an option. You may fax or U.S. mail or Pony Mail it to your facilitator. These lists will be compiled from all participants in this course and will be handed out to discuss and share at the second study group.

Learning Styles

The theory of multiple intelligences (PDF) helps us understand, as designers, that too often in training settings we rely on activities that stress written and spoken words and language.   Designers should strive to enhance adult learning experiences by providing multi-sensory approaches including:

Click on each of the multi sensory approaches above to see several examples of activities that are representative.

Choosing Strategies

Effective designers know that effectively matching strategies with specific objectives for the learners is at the heart of their work. Numerous strategies are available to the designer and the skillful designer knows how to select strategies to accomplish the specific objectives.  Using a variety of strategies is important to maintaining the interest of the learner and encouraging persistence in accomplishing the specific objectives.

Think about the work you have done as a designer or when you have been in the role of adult learner. Brainstorm a list of strategies that have been successfully used in adult learning and create a word document of your ideas to share at the second study group session. Think about the advantages and challenges of using each of the strategies.

A bank of strategies has been developed to assist you in broadening your options as a designer.   Click on each strategy below to learn a definition and the advantages and challenges of each. You may choose to print the content of those Pop Ups which explain strategies you are interested in using.

Submitted Activity 4-C: Now think about the strategies you brainstormed and the strategies you reviewed in the bank. Consider the strategies in terms of the specific objectives you have written for your design product. Which might work best in your design for learners to accomplish the specific objectives?

Select one of your specific objectives for your design project, and determine which strategies you will use with adult learners to accomplish the specific objectives. Write a rationale for your selection. A PDF file is provided as an option. You may fax or U.S. mail or Pony Mail it to your facilitator. You may email your responses by clicking on the Submit button.

Working Title of Design Product:
Specific Objective:
Strategy or multiple strategies to be used and in what order?
What are the advantages of the strategy you selected?
What are the disadvantages of the approach?
What considerations might make this a successful strategy?

Template for Trainer Notes

As the designer, you determine the strategies to assist the adult learners in accomplishing the specific objectives. Earlier you learned how to evaluate specific objectives. Your knowledge, creativity and skill as a designer is applied to develop a positive learning experience for the participants.

The next step is to begin to outline the agenda for the adult learning event, carefully sequencing the learning strategies within the structure you have chosen.

Often the designer works with a small group to outline the agenda using chart pad and markers to design the learning experience.   Sharing the design with others and gaining feedback is key to continuously improving your work.

As you design the adult learning experience, you will need to be familiar with the Broward County Schools HRD Department approved format for trainer notes.

Go to the HRD Department web site and review under the Quality Assurance tools the rubric for the preparation of trainer notes.

To make the job of the designer easier, the Broward County HRD Department provides a template for use in developing the trainer notes for a staff development activity. Click on the pop up to understand the advantages and of trainer notes.

Go to the HRD Department web site and print out the template for Trainer Notes in either landscape or portrait format.

Use the Trainer Notes format to prepare the complete design for your design product. Print it out and bring it to the second study group session so that you may gain feedback from your fellow participants on your design.