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4-T Model - A new way to categorize training

February 21st, 2011 Martin Raske 2 comments

Sometimes it is hard to explain to Subject Matter Experts how they should organize / structure their content. They naturally are under the impression that everything they know is equally important and thus must be packed into the training they ask you to create for them. Instructional designers know, though, that not every content is equally important for each learner. We also know that learners are very different in the way they acquire new knowledge or adapt new behavior. Until now, though, it was always somewhat difficult to provide SMEs with a comprehensive approach to structure their ideas.

For this purpose I have developed a new model to structure training. I call it the 4-T model:

Teaser - Make people aware of the content, of what might be in it for them, show them why they should invest some time to learn more about this specific topic or why they should indeed change their behavior.

Teaching - The part where knowledge transfer happens. This is often referred to as 'training' but that's actually incorrect: The teaching part explains the processes, the structure of the content, the reasons why it is important and how it is interlinked with other topic areas.

Training - This is where most of the initiatives fail: In order to learn something, you have to practice it. Training means like in sports or when playing an instrument: Do it over and over again and get better and better at it. More often than not we do not foresee enough time for training in so called 'training' initiatives.

Testing - If individuals want to be sure that they have mastered a topic, a test can help. If a company wants to be sure that a certain group of people have the same level of know-how, a certification might be a good idea. If testing is well designed, it can be an important part of a learning concept.

The advantage of this model has proven many times already, even though it is barely a week old. Amazingly enough it not just helps SMEs but also training professionals a lot. Some of them came back to me and told me that they were waiting for a structure like this to understand what they are producing even better. It also turns out that in the field of technology-based learning this structure is very helpful - whether you produce a Learning Nugget (Teaser) or a Web-based Training (Teaching) or an online simulation (Training) or an eTest (Testing), it all falls into place.

Feel free to start using this structure, but please remember to mention my name if you do.