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Research Poster ILT with Facilitator Guide & Participant Workbook

Audience: Graduate staff instructors in Purdue University's English Department

Responsibilities: Instructional Design, E-learning Development, Visual Design, Collaboration with SMEs, Storyboarding, Facilitation

Tools Used: Pear Deck, Google Slides, PowerPoint

Problem & Solution

For this instructor-led training (ILT), the client was the Introductory Composition program at Purdue University (ICAP). The client held a pedagogy showcase each year where graduate instructors of record presented a research poster to their peers. Some participants were also required to teach a research poster assignment. The problem was, a large percentage of participants lacked experience creating or teaching research posters. This was exacerbated by the fact that research posters are more common in the sciences, whereas participants were all members of the English department.

Further, most participants did not have the luxury of a lot of time to research different tools for creating research posters themselves before they were required to produce the respective deliverables.

After analyzing the skills gap and needs of the target audience, I set out to design a face-to-face instructor-led training, as the client had requested, that included interactive engagement strategies and incorporated time for direct application during the training.


Scoping & Storyboarding

To determine the exact scope of the training, I met with the SME, the associate director of the composition program who is also a direct mentor to graduate staff instructors. Based on my notes, I created a text-based storyboard for the training. Creating this planning document in Google Docs allowed me to efficiently receive and respond to feedback from the SME and the assistant mentor, another stakeholder for the project.

Outline in Google Docs

Text-based storyboard in Google Docs

Comments left on a Google doc with a response

SME feedback and my response


I knew I wanted to build the training in a slide-based presentation program as a visual support to the training content. I also knew that I wanted to engage learners with use of an interactive presentation program like Mentimeter, Pear Deck, PollEverywhere, etc. In my experience facilitating learning solutions, I have found that having participants answer questions from their own devices throughout a presentation helps to combat the primacy-recency effect.

To keep myself accountable to creating a training that was both engaging and effective, I structured the session according to Robert Gagné’s “Nine Events of Instruction.”

The training structure is as follows:

  1. Gain attention: ask for initial questions; poll participants on their experience with research posters

  2. Objectives: present “What’s in it for me?”; list objectives

  3. Stimulate recall: ask what research poster creation tools participants already know

  4. Present stimulus: present chunked content on main considerations and tech need-to-knows

  5. Provide guidance: demo using Canva and PowerPoint to create research posters, encouraging participants to follow along on their own devices; provide an infographic of main steps

  6. Elicit performance: transition to individual work time where participants practice the protocol just demonstrated

  7. Provide feedback: walk around the room as participants work, providing suggestions and answering questions

  8. Assess performance: ask participants to conclude on the results of their practice by identifying the tools they choose for themselves and their students

  9. Enhance retention transfer: summarize key content and direct participants’ attention to the infographic job aid that can be used even after the training has ended

Slide that lists four learning objectives

Objectives slide for the training session


I initially built the training in PowerPoint with a template I heavily edited to include organization branding, diverse representation, and the training content structure. I also sought to follow visual design principles throughout, such as those outlined in C.R.A.P. by Robin Patricia Williams (Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Proximity). Since I would be sending a copy of the slides to participants after the training to be used as a reference, I aimed to include enough text on slides to provide needed context without being visually overwhelming.

PowerPoint slide about File format with gridlines

A slide I redesigned to include a new image, new text alignment, and the organization's brand colors in addition to the training content

In order to take advantage of the Pear Deck add-on, which allows participants to answer questions during a slideshow presentation in real time and from their own devices, I uploaded the presentation I had initially created in PowerPoint into Google Slides.

slide with a question about what tools students will use to create research posters

A Pear Deck-enabled slide

Screenshot of edge of slide with an answer box

View from participant's personal device with space to answer

Before facilitating the training, I also created a post-session survey to evaluate participants’ experience and learning. The survey is designed especially to assess the first two levels of Donald Kirkpatrick’s training evaluation model (i.e. “reaction” and “learning”).

Screenshot of survey that asks about how confident participants feel about each of the learning objectives

Excerpt from post-session participant survey

When the development process was complete, I facilitated the face-to-face training to an audience of about eight graduate staff participants. The mentor SME and assistant mentor stakeholder were also present during the training.

Facilitator Guide & Participant Workbook

Although I did not use a facilitator guide or participant workbook when I initially conducted the face-to-face training, I later decided to develop both sets of materials 1. For the experience and 2. To contribute to the organization’s repository of training materials.

I created the documents using PowerPoint and a template that I customized in both design and structure in addition to content. Both the facilitator guide and participant workbook feature a clickable table of contents, a glossary, space for notes and reflection throughout, and chunked training content that mirrors the organization of the slideshow.

The first few pages of the facilitator guide include background information on the training content, helpful facilitation tips, and a training blueprint with suggested timestamps for each part of the session. Each content section of the guide includes highlights of key points, a suggested script, guidelines for how to ask and respond to engagement questions, and other helpful tips.

facilitator guide page that features what to ask, what kind of questions facilitator might get, and what to explain afterward

Prompts for asking an engagement question, hints at possible responses, and tips for how to respond

Facilitator guide page with prompts for asking follow up questions and how to transition to the next section

Places for facilitator notes are included throughout the guide

Since the training session already includes built-in engagement through the Pear Deck add-on in Google Slides, the participant workbook is primarily designed to reduce participants’ cognitive load by reinforcing the presentation content. In addition to the space for participant notes included throughout, the workbook features supplementary tips relevant to the content, directions for responding to the Pear Deck engagement questions from participants’ own devices, encouraging quotes, and a full-page infographic job aid designed to be used after the training.

Participant guide page with directions for how to respond to the engagement question, pictures of relevant slides, and space to take notes

Directions for responding to engagement questions on participants devices, space for participant notes, and a tip for success

An infographic of a four-step workflow

Infographic job aid for participants to use after the training


This instructor-led training was very well-received by stakeholders. I received positive feedback on the session directly after facilitating it, and all respondents to the post-session survey said they were either “Ready” or “Almost ready” to perform each of the training’s four main objectives.

The development process for this project allowed me to gain confidence applying Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction and gave me experience utilized the Pear Deck add-on for adult learners for the first time.

If I were to complete this project again, I would make slight visual design changes to the slideshow (e.g. to the job aid infographic) to achieve better visual balance. I would also ask if the SME could direct participants to complete the post-session survey during their next required meeting to hopefully garner a higher survey response rate. The more feedback I get, the better! I did not find that these aspects impeded the overall efficacy of the training, however.

Overall, this project allowed me to gain further confidence in several key instructional design skills and I consider it a success.

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