Article (updated on 28-08-03)

MODULAR APPROACH TO TRAINING DESIGN

W. J.  Karthikeyan

(Karthikeyan works as Assistant in the office of the Director, Fire and Rescue Services, and coordinates the various activities related to Advanced Training Centre. He is a highly motivated person with interest in body-building, reading and psychology of self-development.)

Training is recognized by all organizations as an important tool for the identification and development of their human resource. A good training programme should be suited to the needs of the organization and should also seek to develop the special talents of the individuals undergoing the training. From this point of view the modular approach to the designing of a training programme has many advantages. In Fire and Rescue Services in Tamil Nadu we have adopted this approach with good results. My experience in assisting the Director of the Department in preparing the programme designs has itself been a training for me.

In the modular approach, each module of the training programme is a complete unit by itself. It contains in itself the theory as well as the practical exercises necessary for the trainee to acquire a good all-round knowledge of the subject. In this sense, the module is not a bunch of isolated lectures but a group of inter-related lectures, demonstrations, exercises, group discussions, test appraisals etc.

For preparing modules of training,  we must start by preparing an exhaustive  list of all topics which may have some relevance to the training needs of the Department. While preparing this list we may use the brain-storming method in order to make the list as exhaustive as possible. Once the list is ready, we should club similar topics into groups. These group will act as the raw material for preparing the modules. With more attention and analysis, these groups of topics will evolve into modules of inter-related topics. We must now add practical exercises, group discussions, multi-media presentations etc to this group of topics to make it a full-fledged training module.

While preparing the training module it is necessary to ensure that there is not too much of over-lapping. Since the module will consist of similar subjects, there is danger of the same ideas and facts being repeated by the speakers covering the subjects. A preliminary discussion among the trainers to chart out clearly their respective areas and roles in the module will avoid such repetition. Also, if the organizer of the module sits through the whole training, he will be able to give proper feedback to the speakers, so that repetition can be avoided in future.

The lectures and demonstrations in module should be organized in such a way that there is a logical progression in the dissemination of knowledge. Basic information must come in the first rather than last lectures. Similarly, the theory must precede the practical exercises.

Lectures, discussions and demonstrations must complement one another and must add to one another. At the end of the training, the trainee must get a feeling of having gained clear ideas. He should not go back with the vague notion of “something was taught”. A sense of gain after a training motivates a trainee to come again and to motivate others to attend the training. 

Whenever necessary, the module should be re-designed in the light of the experience of the trainers as well in the light of the feedback from the trainees. 


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