Joining instructions are sent out by the trainer to the learners in advance of a training programme or workshop commencing. Joining instructions should include all the appropriate information the learner needs to know to arrive in the right place, at the right time, and so that they are properly prepared to begin the learning. Here are my top 6 tips for writing joining instructions:
1. Venue – include the full address and post code of the training venue. Along with the venue, it is a good idea to include the actual training room, or part of the building where the training is to take place. This saves a lot of time at the start of the programme looking for stray learners. I would also include a map if people are having to travel to get to the venue, and give details of any parking/special security arrangements.
2. Programme objectives and content, and personal objectives – it is vitally important that the person attending the training has an insight in to what the aims and content of the programme are so they can prepare themselves for the learning. It is also important that the learners consider their own personal goals prior to the programme commencing. This will enable them to focus on the achievement of these goals and to ensure the trainer is able to facilitate these being fulfilled within the learning experience.
3.Timings – include the start and finish times each day. Often I will ask for an arrival time 15 minutes before the actual programme starts – this allows everyone to meet each other, have a coffee and to start to get to know each other, before the programme officially begins.
4. Dress code – this may not seem like a vital element, but I have delivered courses where all but one person is in the staff uniform, and that person has felt uncomfortable all day because they look different to everyone else. This can be unsettling and a barrier to the learning. Ensure you clearly state whether it is business dress/informal/company uniform or some other dress code that is required.
5. Delegate list and trainer contact details – it can be useful for the learners to make contact with other learners in advance of the programme; some may even share lifts or turn up together on the course. This can help a person to overcome any nerves or anxiety they may have about joining a new group. Ideally the trainer should make contact with the learners prior to the event. But it is still a good idea to include the trainer’s contact details in case they have any questions or queries about the training. – this should include a variety of contact options such as email, phone number etc. This may be a quick call about how to get to the training venue for example, or it may be an opportunity for them to express any fears or concerns they may have about the actual content/delivery of the training.
6. Provision of food, drink and any accommodation – food and drink will help the learners to feel comfortable, relaxed and able to concentrate and focus on the learning throughout the day. So it is important that we let them know if this will be included, or if they need to bring their own sustenance. I have delivered programmes where the client has served up a full three course meal at lunchtime, and at other times the learners have had to go out and catch the sandwich van at a certain time of the morning. Obviously it depends on how long the training is going to be, how many learners there are , how far they are travelling etc, but at the very least, it is good to provide a hot drink at break times and water on the tables during the day.
There are lots of other points that could be added to this list, such as any pre-course work the learner needs to complete in advance. What other points would you add to this list? How important do you feel the joining instructions are?
Once you have compiled the joining instructions, they need to be sent out in advance of the training programme commencing. Generally I would send these out at least two weeks before the programme, but not too far in advance that they get lost or at the very worst, they forget to turn up!
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