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close this bookGuide to Developing Training Strategies (DHA/UNDRO - DMTP - UNDP, 55 p.)
close this folder6. Preparing training strategies
View the document(introduction...)
View the document6.1 Training framework
View the document6.2 Other training alternatives


In training terms, preparing strategies means preparing a series of general statements about how training will be used to bring about planned changes (goals and objectives) in specific areas of disaster management Objectives precede and are the basis for preparing strategies. Put another way, training objectives define what is to be accomplished while training strategies indicate how it is to be accomplished. For any set of identified needs and set objectives there can be several training strategies to follow.

The decision-making criteria used in determining the appropriate training strategy can be based on the following:

· compatibility with objectives
· likelihood of transfer of learning to the work situation
· available resources (e.g. time, money, staff)
· factors related to trainee or organisation

It is not possible to suggest specific rules that will hold good in every situation. Most cases are likely to result in a compromise between what is desirable and what is possible. The decision-making process is likely, therefore, to be one of ‘best fit’ as is exemplified in the following quote:

‘A training programme is decided upon to increase communication and co-ordination among the senior management level of local authorities in a high flood prone region of the country’.

Using the above criteria, the following are the salient factors:

· the objectives embrace knowledge (hazard threat, risk etc.) skills (management) and attitude (group interaction, collaboration) formation

· immediate transfer of learning to work is desirable but not likely, training that can produce practical suggestions (i.e. concrete, rather than theoretical issues can be more acceptable)

· resources are limited

· participants have work pressure and will not welcome being asked to stay away from their offices but can be persuaded if there is commitment to the idea and if it is only for a short period

A possible strategy might include the following:

· expert input to explain future hazards and risks

· a simulation exercise on communication and co-ordination problem followed by an external evaluation

· group activities

· formulation of practical recommendations

· a venue that is away from work location (while desirable such arrangements may be costly)

· a duration of 2 days

There can be several strategies to achieve the same objectives. Selection of the most appropriate training approach is contingent on the circumstances and the resulted choice will reflect the “best fit”. Different objectives, problems and situations call for different courses of actions. Hence the approach needs to be flexible. In this respect, the training strategy is really a ‘facilitation of learning.’

In summary, a training strategy should embody:

· an overall sense of direction and philosophy

· an assessment of ‘environmental’ influences such as leadership in the field, organisational culture, management style, etc. in the target organisation, department, agency, etc.

· an approach geared to training interventions ultimately at all levels where need for training is identified

· training activities which aid the satisfaction of those needs

· planning and tactical flexibility

· an acceptance of the importance of measuring results against the criteria for success and modifying strategies where necessary

The forms exemplify checklists that can be useful in systematising a training strategy.

Strategy Planning Worksheet

A. Training Need

B. Training Objective

C. Training Strategy

D. Suggested Priority
High = H; Medium = M; Low = L

Checklist for Choosing the Best Training Strategy

Strategy 1

Strategy 2

Strategy 3


1. Provide the highest quality of training possible for meeting the objective.

2. Provide training at a cost that would not be viewed as unrealistic by management

3. Obtain a favourable response from employees to be trained and from their supervisors.

4. Take advantage of training capabilities available within the organization or from professional training groups within the country

5. Would not disrupt operations during the absence of employees relieved from duty to be trained.

Estimating the Cost of Training

Participant Costs


Number of participants (by pay grades) × average salary × training hours

Number of participants × hourly fringe benefit charges × hours

Travel costs: average costs × number of participants

Per diem: average allowance × number of participants × number of days

Participation replacement costs: number of hours × average salary

Lost production: value-per-unit × the number of lost units

Instruction Costs

Number of trainers × number of hours × average salaries or fees

Travel costs: total tickets, or average × number of tainers

Per diem: average allowance × number of trainers × number of days

Material Costs

Manuals or printed handouts: print shop quotation

Announcements: unit costs × number of units

visual aids: rental cost or purchase prices as required

Space rental: if required, actual quotation

Total Cost Estimate

Training Strategy Profile





Source of Funds

Source of Training




6.1 Training framework

Part of preparing training strategies is to define the nature of required training in relation to identified needs and priorities. The actual training framework evolves from what is diagnosed and at what level the problems should be addressed. The widest training framework includes:

Intersectoral training

· Sectoral training in respective departments/organisations
· Professional training (multi-disciplinary or in one discipline)
· Training the trainers/resource persons

A detailed workplan covering all stages of formulation and execution of training is in the following diagram.

Circle and add comments





DEVELOPED FROM: E. Ressler and H. Thanh The, Workshop Planning Guide, ADPC, Thailand

6.2 Other training alternatives

Further details of actual training programmes are discussed in Part One of Guidelines for Trainers Leading Disaster Management Workshops and several examples of ‘formal’ and ‘organised’ training activities are given. There are, of course, other alternatives, such as coaching and mentoring on a ‘one on one’ basis by the experienced staff in an organisation. A good deal of knowledge and expertise in an organisation does not get passed on due to the lack of a formal medium (such as an organised training activity) to activate it. The main advantages of coaching/mentoring as a training alternative are:

· the organisation taps its own sources of expertise and information

· it is an on-the-job activity, capable of being carried out at a minimal loss of work time and at a limited cost

· it helps to create a dialogue about the work of an organisation and so can reasonably be expected to have a favourable effect on both performance and morale

· it provides an opportunity for self-development both for the mentor and the ‘trainee’

· it provides the opportunity to deal with day-to-day problems. The constantly changing nature of disaster management brings forth problems and requires new skills that cannot be stored up to be dealt with on some future training programme

· the interest raised in learning can create an appetite amongst staff for future formal training activities

Coaching/mentoring should be developed as a complementary training medium to more systematic and formal training activities. The organisation should also invest in training potential coaches and mentors in appropriate teaching skills and attitudes in order to make the best use of their knowledge and expertise.