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Training and Assessing Workbook - Train the Trainer manual


Section 3: Designing training

Once you have identified the training needs for a supported employee you will need to design training that:

3.1 Do workplace supervisors need to be experts in designing training?

You do not need to be an expert or a specialist to design good training but it does help to know the process.

3.2 Are there any short cuts to designing training?

There are five steps to designing training.

  1. Analyse what people need to learn in order to perform a task well. This involves recognising the task to be completed.
  2. Break the larger task into its smaller components. This means identifying all the activities that make up the whole task.
  3. Take one of the components and identifying the skills, knowledge and behaviours required to complete that component.
  4. Work out a sequence for training.
  5. Choose how to apply that sequence most effectively for the supported employee you are training.

Sometimes you will work through the five steps quite quickly and have an effective training program ready to run in a short time. Other times you may need to note some ideas and take some time to carefully review various alternatives.

CASE STUDY : Looking more closely at Colour for You

Colour for You is the art supply business referred to on page 11 of Section 1. Supported employees work in small teams packaging specialist art supplies such as crayons, watercolour pencils and brushes. Rufus, Roseanna, Matte and Bruna have been allocated to Team Red which has the job of collecting 12 different coloured watercolour pencils and placing them in a tin pack. Cyan, the team leader, has been asked by her manager to ensure the team is competent.

Use the five steps to design training that could be completed by a new supported employee joining Team Red.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

ACTIVITY : New supported employee

Think about a supported employee in your Disability Employment Service and the job that supported employee completes. It could be an employee you supervise or someone in another part of the business.

What is one of the tasks the supported employee needs to complete?

What are the components of this task?

Select one of the components and answer the following questions. What are the skills needed to perform the task?

What knowledge is needed to perform the task?

What behaviours are needed to perform the task?

Write down a logical sequence for training the supported employee to perform the task.

What additional information would be useful?

In summary, workplace supervisors do not need to be experts in designing training but they do need to:

3.3 Should training always be designed for the worksite?

Training should be designed for where it will be most effective. The decision about where to locate training should be based on where the supported employees are most likely to learn the required skills, knowledge or behaviours and then be able to use that learning to do their job.

Off-site training can take place any where – in a tea room, an office, a training room or a garden. Any training away from a supported employee's worksite is called off-site training.

3.4 Does the training location affect the design of training?

Location will have an impact on training. It's good to have options and be able to choose from a range of training locations when you are designing training.

Ideally, choose the venue to suit the learning needs of the supported employee. It is important that the choice of venue is appropriate for the transfer of the skills, knowledge and experience between the trainer and the learners. The first question you should ask yourself about the training location is whether the Location outcomes will be better if the training is done at the worksite, away from the worksite or a combination of the two. Consider how you can best use the time away. For example, if your workplace is noisy you may choose to have part of the training away from the worksite. This provides an opportunity to demonstrate and practise in quieter and possibly less distracting conditions.

Always remember to include a check that learning has been transferred to the worksite in your training design. It is best to evaluate as soon as possible if the skills and knowledge can be applied by the supported employees to a real work situation.

3.5 Is training design the same as training delivery?

Training design comes first. It is part of the preparation for training delivery. Knowing the training needs of the supported employee and having some idea about their learning preferences can assist you when you design training for them and when you are delivering that training.

As with most things, the better the preparation, the better the result.

CASE STUDY: New day, new job

The Packing Specialist, a Disability Employment Service, is renowned for its Christmas hampers. The Packing Specialist produces customised hampers for distribution by companies to their staff and clients. Companies wanting to order hampers can select the packaging and the contents from a menu of items; these are then prepared and sent within 48 hours of the order being placed. The Packing Specialist has an enviable reputation for delivering products on time. Each day in the five weeks before Christmas there are likely to be new orders requiring different combinations of goods and different packaging.

Francine manages one of the teams. The orders usually come in early in the morning and the contents are assembled and made ready for packing following morning tea. The first few days have gone well, the orders have been delivered on time and the clients are very pleased with the finished products. On Monday they packed wine and cheese packs in cardboard cartons, on Tuesday they packed sweets and chocolates in baskets and today is Wednesday. During her drive to work Francine starts thinking about her team and how she will prepare them for today's jobs.

What questions would you ask Francine about how she designed the training for the team on Monday and Tuesday?

The information that assists Francine to design appropriate training includes knowledge of individual team members':

Some of the questions you might have asked could be:

3.6 What are the important things to remember about designing training?

Effective training involves designing a training process that is relevant, appropriate and tailored to individual learning preferences.

Decisions also need to be made about the following:

Workplace constraints and priorities will also need to be addressed. These may include:

In addition, if the process is sequential so that it is logical and allows plenty of opportunities for supported employees to participate and practise, you will be applying good training design principles.

Sequencing your presentation may mean that the task you are training for will have to be broken into smaller components. Think about training design as a chain. If each link in the chain is designed and produced well the chain will be strong. The word 'chaining' is also used to describe a training technique that can be used for designing training.

3.7 What is chaining?

Many supervisors use chaining as a technique for training supported employees. In fact chaining is a very common training method. It is all about learning to complete tasks in the right order.

Chaining is both a design and delivery training technique that can be used when a supported employee needs to learn a related sequence, or chain of behaviours. The technique is based on understanding the sequence or relationship between each behaviour. If you consider each part of the sequence as one link in a chain, the parts have to link in order to make the chain the length it needs to be and achieve the finished product.

Forward chaining occurs when you progress from Step 1 to Step 2, then Step 3 and so on.

Backward chaining occurs when you start with the completed task and progressively move back through each of the steps.

CASE STUDY : Nuts and bolts

Joe works on the production line that makes swimming pool cleaning brushes. His job is to put together a bolt, a piece of plastic and a nut with a washer on one side. If Joe doesn't put them together correctly the finished product will be rejected. Joe has been having some difficulty with this task and as a result the production line is slowing down and the output is reducing.

Anna, Joe's supervisor, has tried lots of ways to get Joe to put the washer on the right way but none seem to work for more than a few minutes before he returns to putting the bolt and nut together haphazardly. One side of the nut is silver metal, the other side is black rubber and the rubber side needs to touch the head of the bolt.

Anna is becoming quite frustrated as she can see that the target output of the team is nowhere near where it needs to be. She has thought about moving Joe to another task in the production line but everyone else is working well and it would be difficult to settle some of the team into new roles. She has heard about chaining as a training method and decides she will investigate it more and try it out with Joe the next day.

Picture of Nuts and Bolts

What are some of the things Anna should know about Joe's abilities to do this task before she designs his training?

Would you recommend Anna tries a forward chaining or a backward chaining sequence for Joe's training? Why?

Write a forward chaining sequence for Anna to use with Joe.

Write a backward chaining sequence for Anna to use with Joe.

3.8 How can training design cater for different participation needs?

Having information about the characteristics and learning preferences of the supported employees you are working with will make training much easier. If you are aware of the behaviours of the supported employee, training can be designed and delivered to work with those behaviours. For example, you can adjust the timing and rate of activity to suit the individual or the group.

Knowledge about the literacy and numeracy levels of the supported employees in your team is a good place to start. How well can a particular supported employee read? Can the supported employee count, complete simple additions and subtractions? To train effectively, you need to know how easily the supported employee can gain new skills.

It may also be important for you to know the effects medication can have on the supported employee. For example, it may be better to train someone before lunch because after they have had their medication during the lunch break they may become drowsy and unable to concentrate well for a couple of hours.

We all have days when we function more effectively than on other days. Recognising when someone is having an 'off day' helps when you make decisions about training.


CASE STUDY : Distracting work

Robbie is a new supported employee. He has been on the production line for a day and John, the team leader, has recognised that Robbie is easily distracted. Robbie is continually looking around to see what is going on in the workshop and would prefer to see what the people are doing on the other side of the room than concentrate on his task. John knows he will have to address this issue before he can provide any training to Robbie.

What would you suggest John does to reduce the opportunity for Robbie to be distracted?



Training design is all about getting the right training for the right person. Each supported employee will have different needs. Good training design addresses these needs and helps build successful training delivery.

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