“Begin with the end in mind” is a pretty common rule of thumb when mapping out training programs. It sounds like wise advice… but what does it really mean?!
What’s the end? The end for whom? Are we talking about the end of the training program? Are we talking about when mastery of the content has occurred? Are we talking about the end of days?
Over the weekend, I spent some time with the curriculum planning team for a new certificate program in Workplace Learning and Professional Development at the University of Washington, and we began our planning session with these three questions:
1. What will a student write on the end-of-program evaluation?
2. What will the program faculty say during the end-of-program de-brief?
3. What will a supervisor write in a LinkedIn recommendation for a direct report who was a graduate of this program?
While we had discussed the design of our program previously, these questions helped us refine specific ways to measure progress throughout the program and reminded us of the rigor that will need to be inserted into all three courses.
“Begin with the end in mind” is a bit too broad and cliché to be helpful. Identifying what end you’re talking about and examining this concept from the points of view of various stakeholders is essential.
What questions are you asking before you map out your training programs?