What is Quality Training?

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In 2015, the project staff of the Iowa Peer Support & Family Peer Support Training Program collaborated with the Peer Support Advisory Committee, the Family Peer Support Advisory Committee and stakeholders to create a definition of quality training to guide the development and continuous quality improvement of trainings offered by the Iowa Peer Support & Family Peer Support Training Program.

Quality Training is:

  • is competency-based, targeting the key values, knowledge and skills needed for successful work accomplishment.
  • is evidence-informed, grounded in the best available research on effective practice and regularly updated to reflect new knowledge.
  • is based on a training needs assessment conducted in partnership with those who do the work (family peer support and peer support specialists) as well as those who supervise and manage the work.
  • is tailored to the needs and developmental level of the audience. Best practice is to develop training with input from family peer support and peer support specialists and their supervisors.
  • uses an instructional design method that adjusts the time and depth devoted to each topic to the importance or complexity of the competency being addressed.
  • includes an application screening component to assure that persons who register for the training are likely to be qualified to enter the workforce.
  • is provided by experienced trainers who:
    • have been screened to ensure that they embrace and model the core values of peer and family peer support.
    • have relevant field experience.
    • are provided adequate resources to prepare and incorporate updates into training.
    • receive supervision and are regularly evaluated to ensure quality presentation and facilitation skills.
    • can adapt training approaches as circumstances or learner needs requires.
  • for peer support, is trained by one or more persons with a lived experience (a person who is living well in recovery and who has experienced a loss of a significant role in his/her life due to the experience of serious mental or serious emotional disturbance, addiction, loss or trauma).
  • for peer and family peer support, is co-trained by a person with lived experience who has received training of trainers and whose expertise and gifts are acknowledged and well- integrated into the training.
  • may include a pre- or in-class self-assessment to engage trainees and facilitate self-directed learning.
  • implements principles of adult education, including:
    • builds on what learners already know.
    • emphasizes “news you can use” – i.e., concepts and skills that have immediate practical application for the work.
    • includes “homework” or field assignments to facilitate transfer of learning.
    • allows for elements of self-directed learning (e.g., through choice of homework assignments or “tracks”, if offered).
    • incorporates multi-sensory learning strategies to engage and reinforce learners with varied learning (perceptual and processing) styles.
  • includes “take-home” tools which facilitate the transfer of learning from the training room to the work setting.
  • trains skills development using the sequence of Teach/Demonstrate/In-class practice exercise(s)/In-class feedback/Plan to apply the skill to the work setting, followed by self-evaluation.
  • Integrates cultural competence throughout, including skills for working with persons of varying socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, generational differences, abilities and disabilities, and religious beliefs.
  • is trauma-informed and integrates trauma-informed concepts throughout.
  • provides a safe and confidential environment to explore sensitive topics.
  • includes the use of humor.
  • includes time for personal reflection.
  • is offered in a comfortable training environment that facilitates learning.
  • includes a supervisory component which informs the supervisor about concepts, tools and skills taught and reinforces the role of supervision in the transfer of learning to the work setting.
  • is taught with fidelity to a written curriculum.
  • models excellent group facilitation skills.
  • provides opportunities for leadership development.
  • recognizes the expertise in the room.
  • includes time for trainee questions.
  • models relationship building skills in the training classroom through the trainer’s use of active listening, empathy, clarification and, where appropriate, challenging.
  • builds in an element of peer support, providing time for meeting others, sharing ideas, and learning from diverse points of view through activities that require peer interaction.
  • offers supplemental reference materials and web-based resources for further study.
  • where resources permit, is followed by additional training, including “booster sessions” to review and update information (e.g., education rights) and opportunities for advanced learning through continuing education.
  • where resources permit, is embedded in an implementation plan that connects the training to overall organizational strategies for practice improvement.
  • integrates measurable outcomes and learning objectives, and includes an evaluation to measure knowledge gained (ideally, pre- and post-knowledge testing); and, where resources permit, may include additional evaluation to measure transfer of learning to the work setting.
  • includes regular feedback loops from participants to facilitate continuous quality improvement of the training.
  • offers and provides accommodations for disabilities and other special needs, including accessible training facilities and accessible training materials.
  • if accompanied by a test, includes a study guide.

 

A quality training program:

  • implements screening, training and supervision of trainers.
  • offers opportunity for training of peer trainers.
  • builds leadership capacity.
  • builds training and facilitation capacity.
  • recognizes co-trainers as professionals and compensates them as such.
  • builds support within the mental health provider community for professional development and wellness of the peer support/family peer support workforce.