The Agenda Checklist

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Starting from Scratch

As detailed in our guide How To: Preparing Sessions Using ADIDS, its helpful to think of an agenda as a larger image, composed of individual puzzle pieces that are the different sessions, activities, and other components of your event. When considering where to begin when planning the technical content of a digital security training or workshop, it helps to think about the overall structure as a set of tiers, starting from the very general and becoming gradually more specific.

This means beginning with what the overall context of the training will be (in this case, Digital Security), gradually honing in next on the required themes (or, the reasons – what are participants trying to protect themselves from or improve – that the event is being gathered) such as “Safer Online Communication” or “Securing Sensitive Data”, and then finally arriving upon the individual topics that will need to be covered in order to address these.

While technical event content is frequently the easiest place to begin when organizing a comprehensive agenda, there are many other components which must also be planned and prepared.

To help trainers and facilitators keep track of all these moving pieces, we’ve organized an Agenda Checklist below that provides:
  • a) details about the “what” of each of these composite parts, and…
  • b) links to further relevant resources elsewhere on LevelUp (where applicable).

Agenda Checklist

1. Opening and Closing Sessions (Daily)

Each day should have opening and closing sessions including, for example, an energizer or icebreaker and a go-around of how participants are feeling or what they are thinking at the start/end of the day.

Further Resources

2. Setting Participant Expectations (First Day)

This is a ‘must’ exercise for the first day - this should be an open, facilitated conversation between trainers and participants that reconciles what participants want or expect to learn with what the trainer(s) are capable of delivering given time, expertise, or logistical parameters.

Further Resources

3. Creating Guidelines and “Shared Agreements” (First Day)

This is a ‘must’ exercise for the first day. Time must always be invested in developing ground rules, or “shared agreements” before the start of a training event. When working with adults, the facilitator has the great importance of recognizing everyone’s experience, expertise and autonomy. To help establish working agreements as to how the group should best collaborate and work together, you can crowd-source agreements, rather than prescribe them as ground rules.

Further Resources

4. Establishing Times and Places (First Day)

This is a ‘must’ exercise for the first day. Clearly outline the training locations, start and end times, and schedule for group outings or evening hours (if any). These details should be clear throughout the training for participants.

5. Session Content (Daily)

This includes the training sessions you’ve chosen in order to cover the topics, issues, and skills you’ve identified as priorities.

This is likely to change, particularly after the first day, as you gain a greater sense of the participants in the room and what the most effective sessions will be for them as a group given any wide variations in skills and experiences.

Trainers are likely to begin to adjust the draft agenda (sometimes very substantially) based on the first day, and should budget enough time after the end of the first day to meet up and discuss if and how the agenda should be adjusted.

Further Resources

6. Energizers, Icebreakers, and Interactive Activities (Daily)

Trainers will want to spread these throughout the training in order to a) “break the ice” among participants in the early days, and b) break up the sessions with fun activities. Trainers are likely to be conservative in their choices of energizers/icebreakers in the early days of the event; after a few days, you’ll know your participants better and know if there’s any type of energizers/icebreakers to avoid due to physical (e.g., high mobility energizers for less-mobile participants) or wellbeing issues (e.g., energizers/icebreakers that involve touching).

Further Resources

7. Participant Evaluation of Event (Daily)

This might include a Plusses and Deltas to continually improve the training as it continues. At the beginning of the next day’s training, trainers should take a short period of time to review the plus highlights, and then bring up any deltas that are broadly shared and address them.

Further Resources