The latest fitness craze ‘Zumba’ has well and truly hit my local village, and I am one of the people who goes along to shake, shuffle, pump, jump, stomp, and mambo until I'm all hot and sweaty. Like any new skill it took a while to learn the steps, but after about four sessions I've got the hang of most of it. But then last week, disaster! Our usual teacher Ellen was sick and a substitute was sent to cover the class.
Now the substitute did things quite differently. She used different music for a start, put her own style on the moves, and put them together in a different order. Despite all of this, most of us in the class were able to follow her lead well, and still get the most out of fitness session without crashing into each other or tripping up.
The reason for this is quite simple. It's not that everyone in the class is incredibly talented and highly co-ordinated. No... It is because the basic moves that both teachers used were exactly the same. Once again I find clear links to the importance of good solid training design.
Both teachers tailored those moves to suit their own personality. Ellen is more of a dancer and uses pop music in her routines. The substitute teacher is clearly more of an athlete and 'purist' and this was demonstrated in the way that she put the moves together. But the fact remains the basic Zumba moves were respected by both teachers, and both lead a good class.
A well-designed training course has basic elements that every trainer will deliver, albeit in their own personal style and in their own way. But the underlying course will be the same. This is so important in business if you ever have to substitute one of your trainers, or run courses in multiple locations. If you have to replace a trainer at short notice, are you confident that the substitute will run a course that is close enough to what you and the learners expect?
A well-designed course does not restrict trainers. In fact quite the opposite is true. A well-designed course provides a solid foundation for a trainer to add their own style and flair and adapt the delivery to the needs of their audience.