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The Pre-brief

February 10, 2008

The first step in the OJT cycle is the pre-training brief or pre-brief. A pre-brief is a meeting with the student immediately before the training to discuss the session ahead. It is used primarily to outline the goals of the training session but has some additional benefits such as being able to;

  • assess the student’s own preparation,
  • outline your expectations and ground rules,
  • review any special procedures for any upcoming unusual events,
  • explain any contingency plans, OH&S procedures etc,
  • review any assignments set following the last session, and
  • outline expected workload, duration and breaks

There are three critical points to making this meeting successful:

  • content and consistency,
  • linking forward and back, and
  • student participation.

Consistency and content: A consistent, structured format teaches the student valuable self-preparations techniques and standardises the content. If the content is irrelevant, the student will question the worth and may just pay lip service. Similarly, relevant content not included will need to be covered during the training.

Linking forward and back: Use this meeting as a bridge between the previous training session and the next one. If some key knowledge competencies were previously lacking, test them here. Use any identified strengths and weakness, along with the training plan (you do have one don’t you?) to establish the session goals. Use expected events or situations to test preparation or establish additional goals. This is also the opportunity to review procedures and discuss strategies or techniques for the session.

Student participation: Student participation is a learning multiplier. A sense of ownership (and responsibility) works wonders and goals agreed upon here will be more likely achieved. One technique I saw particularly effective was the student setting one or two of the session goals based on their own performance evaluation and the trainer’s plan. Isn’t part of the training having the student being able to set their own goals and assess limitations.

The model I used (and teach) was developed by a friend of mine from training air traffic controllers in the military. Each step of the template was placed on a white-board for the student to see before and after the training session. Having it in writing just seemed to make it ‘more real’.

The template is available as a pdf in the resources section.

Feel free to use it and let me know how it works out or if you have any improvements. href=

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