Formulaic Writing: Creating a Training Script

You have no doubt scripted the general outline (beginning, middle, and end) for the training. Introduction is first. Practical application is second. A transferable skill finalizes the training. Consider what you want the learner to know, think, and do upon completion of the training.

More specifically, the sequence, tools, and assessments you create should provide what the student needs for mastery. In this way, “facilitation” becomes more than a perspective on education. Consider that the perspective is to create the structural support such that learning is a choice of the learner. Provide tools that empower the learner by providing options. Create learning assessments that reinforce, extend, or transfer knowledge, attitudes, and skills.

In my work integrating competency-based education methods into curricula, I often find that a review of the sequencing of course content reveals the flaw in the curriculum. The goal of a mastery-based or competency-based curriculum is that each learning experience can stand alone. In the language of competencies this means that every lesson yields a learning activity that is both cognitive and affective. Learning activities build toward skills. Skills build toward demonstrable abilities. Abilities can be practiced to show competence. Competencies can be articulated to present mastery.

In your training script, you sequence the building of skills by providing the following:
1. Overview: Introduction of the content connecting prior knowledge with new knowledge.
2. Engagement: A media presentation that illustrates the concepts in practice. Engage the learner emotionally as well as through reason.
3. Content: Presentation of content including definitions, potential application, ethics, and transferability.
4. Objective Quiz: This is a check to see whether the basic concepts were captured by the learner. Consider writing questions in scenarios to test transferability.
5. Practice Assignment: Activity that the student can perform to attempt the application of knowledge, attitudes, and skills. Effective practice will be in class and have a homework options as well.

Two of my favorite tools are Resource Bibliography and Alternative Assignments. Both emphasize that the learner can achieve mastery in ways other than those I have constructed. They provide options and may support learner responsibility for learning.


A resource bibliography is a list of materials (books and other media) that I used to develop the content for the course. It may include materials that I did not include, but did influence my thoughts or may be of interest to the learning. I also include materials that provide remediation in cases of learner need or more detailed information in cases of learner interest.

Alternative assignments are sometimes scripted, but always allow the learner to determine a suitable way to achieve mastery other than the primary assignment I provided. I suggest to students that they create a written proposal detailing how the knowledge, attitudes, and skills will be practiced. They are also required to produce an evaluation rubric if my rubric does not fit.

Once you have a collection of skills, you can assess the abilities they approximate through a challenge exercise. For this, you will need a rubric. Rubrics are tools for evaluating skills and abilities. A good rubric will have a threshold evaluation, specific criterion, and a scripted and objective rating scale.

In our example above, the threshold evaluation is the quiz and practice assignment. Successful completion of those signals that the learner is ready to attempt the challenge exercise—the ability test combining multiple skills that they have completed. A list of criteria should be developed based on the skills that make up the ability. Objective rating should be provided at least for HIGH, MODERATE, and LOW achievement. Objective rating means that all the scripted actions must be numeric in order to count them. Rubrics should be distributed to the student prior to the challenge exercise. In this way, the student and facilitator are agreed upon the assessment criteria.

Creating trainings by formula is useful because a multitude of information exists on how learning works. Rather than spending the majority of energy figuring out how to organize the content, educators can focus on communicating expertise and the creating engaging content. Contact me for information on integrating Competency-based Education in curricula or integrating media to deliver course work on mobile devices or enhance face-to-face courses.


[Michael A. Wright, PhD, LAPSW is MAWMedia Group President. An individual and institutional consultant, Wright has over 16 years and dozens of consulting contracts completed. For educators, associations, and organizations, Dr. Wright offers curriculum, online strategy, and capital development consultations. Contact Dr. Wright here!]