I have been doing a lot of thinking about curriculum lately. I recently visited a government-sponsored regional training center here in Asia complete with four state-of-the-art training rooms. The center only just opened last month, yet the schedule at the center is completely booked for the next three months. I walked past the three occupied classrooms where training activities were in full swing and I could only wonder how many of the trainings being conducted were accompanied by a curriculum for the trainer to follow. If the trainings taking place there that day are typical of how most trainings operate, there were probably few that employed the use of well-crafted and tested curriculum. And yet, NGOs spend more money on capacity-building activities, such as trainings for particular individuals, than any other activity.1
My guess is that most trainings that take place do not have a formal curriculum in place. After all, it costs too much time and money to develop something quality. ASTD estimates that quality training curriculum takes approximately 40 hours of prep time from analysis to evaluation PER hour of instruction. Yes, that is a LOT of prep time but it's quality time, ensuring that time spent training is of the highest quality. As a curriculum designer, I feel strongly that no training should be held without a standardized curriculum - to do so without a curriculum is likely to waste the time of the trainee, the trainee's supervisor, the trainer and the poorly planned training allows minimal transference of knowledge and skills back to the workplace. Think of the time that trainees are away from their workplace - the lost productivity when they are stuck in a training room watching endless powerpoint presentations. Think of the money needed to rent the venue, put trainees and trainers up in hotel, payment of per diems, travel to and from the training, the cost to feed everyone. Why is it that we can make sure to get all the logistics right but be unwilling to ensure that the reason everyone is there in the training room - the actual training - is learner-appropriate, utilizes appropriate methodologies to teach knowledge, skills and attitudes, and provide continuous formative assessments against well-crafted objectives?
1. Riddell, R. C. (2008). Does Foreign aid really work? Oxford University Press, USA.
An educator nomad traveling and teaching her way around the world. Fun stuff.