The initial design of the iPad workshops was based upon what we had learned in the Essential Teaching Skills (ETS) program (MacDonald et al, 2013). The ETS program used a train-the-trainer model for the initial role out of the program. Each of the units within the department were asked to send one person to attend the train-the-trainer. The attendees were then expected to teach the course at their units. This has had a mixed review. It was successful at getting the content delivered to each of the units, and to create a body of expertise. However, the trainers were not confident in delivering the workshops, and some of the trainers were not good at it. This meant the the quality of what was delivered at the units was mixed.
At the time I created the initial design for the iPad workshops, the train-the-trainer model was seen as a success. We are now, after further reflection, looking at abandoning it for the ETS program. The change we are now considering is to have champions at each site attend the pilot delivery, however, they will not be expected to teach the course. Rather, we will be selecting two or three people who will be champions of each ETS course. After the first year, each course is offered once or twice per year. As a result, we do not need an instructor at each unit, rather we need a select few instructors who can go to where ever the given course is needed.
For the iPad program, it became apparent during the initial round of interviews that a train-the-trainer program would not work. This is largely because so few preceptors felt comfortable with facilitating iPad workshops. Actually, very few people saw their skills as enough to even be interviewed! A theme during the interviews was “I’m not an expert” or “I don’t have much to say” – and yet, they all had useful things to say.
I’m wondering now – although it may be too late – if the new model would work better. If offering the course and asked each unit to send one person for the course – would that be effective? If after sending one person per course, that person could then judge whether or not the course would be valuable for their unit. It might actually make for a better dissemination process.