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How to Design Bite-Size Training

Updated: Oct 26, 2021

It may be tempting to think that designing bite-size training (sessions lasting 2 hours or less) is easier than designing a full day workshop, but it isn’t. Many sessions that are described as bite-size training are simply a meeting: a presentation with a discussion or short group exercise thrown in and questions at the end.

When designing bite-size training, you need to include all the elements of a ‘proper’ workshop, but keep things condensed. This doesn’t simply mean cutting the time down though – it means using the time more creatively. The biggest mistake people make when designing bite-size training is trying to cover too much and then completely under-estimating the time needed to do the material justice. This inevitably leads to the trainer rushing through the material, skipping exercises and not allowing time for reflection. As a result, delegates come away feeling that they’ve been on a whirl-wind tour, but can’t tell you what they did.

It can end up being a waste of everyone’s time. Instead of offering better value, it offers less as nothing of value has been gained from those couple of hours. Here are some top tips to help you design bite-size training that packs a punch.

1. Make a decision - You can deliver one aspect of a topic in detail, or provide an overview/refresher. You can't do both.

2. Maximise Interaction - Even in a bite-size session, gain and retain attention through activity and discussion. Help people to discover their own learning. It makes it more meaningful.

3. Choose your ice-breaker carefully - In a bite-size session, every minute needs to count. Rather than cutting the ice-breaker exercise, make sure it links directly to the topic being covered so adds value beyond meeting social needs.

4. Choose exercises with multiple learning points - You can run it once but reflect on it many times, each time from a different angle.

5. Be precise - When writing your Session Leader’s Guide be clear about what people should do, and the focus discussions should have. You don't have time to go off track.

6. Think about practicalities - Set up as much as you can in advance (especially when running virtual sessions) and select activities that will be quick and easy to get started.

7. Keep the whole thing simple - 90 minutes/2 hours goes by in a flash, you can't waste 15 minutes trying to explain or organise a complex exercise.

8. Use additional resources - Accept that you can’t cover absolutely everything that you would like to and focus your session on the key messages. Direct people to additional resources so that they can find out more if they want to.

9. Make sure everyone can contribute - Using breakout rooms, pairs discussions or voting will give everyone the chance to get involved. even if numbers are large. You don't have to fully debrief every activity.

10. What next? - Even if your session is just 90 minutes long, make sure that you build in 10 minutes to allow delegates to reflect on what they have learned, and consider how they will apply the learning. Of course, this doesn’t guarantee transfer to the workplace, but it makes it more likely than if you just end the session with “Any Questions?”

And of course, if you don't have the time or the inclination to design your own bite-size training, you can buy our ready-written training materials that follow all of these principles and are available for 50 topics (many of them with virtual versions too!) Simply VISIT OUR TRAINING MATERIALS SHOP.

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