Trainer Immersion Program

TRIP is back for 2023! Join us at one of our 5-day Live Online programs.

SparkPlug Agility's Trainer Immersion Program (TRIP) is an intensive learning experience created to help professionals in the role of trainer or instructor develop their abilities to design and deliver effective learning experiences. Using educational frameworks, learning psychology, persona development, and management principles, this course provides trainers the skills they need to deliver for their most important customers, their students.

First launched in 2021, TRIP is powered by ICAgile. As a global accreditation and certification body whose mission is to advance the state of agile learning worldwide, ICAgile believes that teaching should be approached as a learning journey. This journey isn’t just about gaining knowledge, it’s about building true competencies that enable high-quality learning experiences. That is why ICAgile is proudly collaborating with SparkPlug Agility to provide a program that is specifically for instructors who are ready to take their teaching journey to the next level.

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TRIP is an immersive program incorporating self-paced learning, live instruction, and practical application.  Prior to attending a live session. Students will learn about educational objectives in the self-paced Understanding Educational Objectives online course.  They will also complete an assignment designed to maximize live-course learning through personal assessment and familiarization with training concepts.  The five-day live instruction program covers learning design and delivery techniques, giving students an opportunity to create lessons and practice with their peers.  After the course, students will participate in self-paced practical application assignments, guided by Chris Li, to further hone their skills.

TRIP is the first offering in SparkPlug Agility's new 'Train of Thought' series, focused on developing stronger trainers and coaches through servant leadership and better understanding of student needs. Also an integral part of Train of Thought is our self-paced, on-demand virtual course, Understanding Educational Objectives (EO). EO also acts as prerequisite to the live portion of the TRIP program.

About Your Instructor

This course is designed, developed, and delivered by Chris Li - one of the most accomplished and sought-after trainers in the industry.  His focus for the past 5 years has been centered on the development of aspiring trainers and instructors, and that passion is the driving force behind his creation of this program. Chris has first-hand experience with the accreditation processes from Scrum Alliance, ICAgile, Scaled Agile, and Training from the Back of the Room.  

His training experience includes hundreds of classes and thousands of students, certified and non-certified offerings, and in public, private, and corporate settings. His volunteering efforts include multiple review teams within trainer accreditation programs, supporting aspiring Scrum Alliance CST candidates and Path to CSP Educators. He holds the Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) certification from Scrum Alliance, is an ICAgile Authorized Instructor, SAFe Program Consultant, and holds both Training from the Back of the Room TBR and TCC certifications.  

Who Should Attend?

This learning experience is designed for professionals who act in the role of trainer in a part-time or full-time basis. From the newbie trainer to the seasoned veteran, this course has content that will enrich your student experiences.

We are thrilled to expand our training offerings - This program does not focus on one particular industry, educational model, or training style. Instead, it provides the theory, practice, and skills that trainers can use to do an even better job for their students. While staying true to our agile roots, we have built this program to benefit a wide audience, including:

  • Established professional trainers - distinguish yourself in a competitive marketplace
  • Aspiring accreditation candidates - put your best foot forward during your application process
  • Professional and agile coaches - connect at a deeper and more human level with your students
  • Consultants and contractors - build your toolbox to create stronger and more impactful offerings
  • Internally-focused corporate trainers - enhance your offerings for your employees
  • Sales and product trainers - increase the effectiveness of your message
  • Talent / human resource trainers - raise the impact of your onboarding activities
  • Higher education and K-12 teachers - leverage modern and engaging techniques to enhance your lessons

All instructors are welcome, and we are most excited to help develop the skills of educators seeking accreditation from any of the major agile governing bodies like ICAgile, Scrum Alliance, Scaled Agile, and the Project Management Institute as well as internally-focused trainers looking for new and exciting ways to impact their students. 

Program Outline

Pre-Course Learning

This program includes an assignment to familiarize yourself with specific topics and tie them to your own challenges and context. This assignment provides a starting point for discussions, class exercises, and lessons with other participants and the instructor.  You will also complete our Understanding Educational Objectives (EO) on-demand virtual course to build the foundation of the types of knowledge and cognitive processes referenced throughout the live-online / in person portion of the program.

Day 1

  • Trainer Personas - After course introductions, we begin by exploring the aspects that make up a trainer’s persona. By identifying different strengths and focus areas, learners have a better understanding of teaching styles and analysis of techniques in the classroom. Learners will examine four disparate personas and develop their own to use in future exercises.
  • Student Personas - Once learners have examined some trainer personas, they will continue with exploring the range of personalities and learning styles in their students. Understanding the needs and values of different types of students will help a trainer develop coursework and assessment that maximizes each student’s potential. Learners will examine four disparate personas and develop their own to use in future exercises.
  • Emotions in the Classroom - Both trainers and students bring experiences and feelings that can affect their communication and learning. By applying the Emotion wheel to common classroom scenarios, learners will expand their awareness and vocabulary of the human interactions that take place during a class.
  • Unlearning - Many students enter a training course with some previous knowledge of the course topics. Unfortunately this knowledge is often incomplete, incorrect, or misguided, and trainers meet a unique range of emotions as students try to reconcile what they are being taught. Using the expanded emotional vocabulary, learners will specifically explore these scenarios and analyze their course design through the lens of these students.
  • Classifying Objectives - Day one concludes with revisiting the concepts of classifying educational objectives using Bloom's Taxonomy, introduced in the prerequisite online course. Learners apply these concepts to additional examples, further reinforcing this multi-level approach to classification.  This sets learners up for success applying Bloom's Taxonomy in later course exercises.

Day 2

  • The Learning Question - Trainers must be able to identify what topics are most crucial to teach their students in the limited class time available. Learners will compare different types of learning, student personas, and interpretation of learning objectives to develop helpful techniques in identifying the most valuable course topics.
  • The Instruction Question - Trainers need to have a variety of mechanics and tools at their disposal to create the highest levels of learning for their students. Learners will explore techniques for instruction that align with learning objectives and student personas. They will discuss the roadblocks that can occur in remote learning environments and how to effectively design instruction that continues to be engaging and effective in a remote setting.
  • The Assessment Question - Teaching effectively to a set of learning objectives requires a trainer to assess the quality of each student’s learning. Learners will revisit the concepts of assessment first introduced in the prerequisite online course. They then will learn a set of guidelines that will enable them to create effective test questions across a variety of formats.
  • The Alignment Question - Course objectives, instruction, and assessments must all align to create a cohesive learning experience. Learners will review the concepts of alignment and then review an educational case study, comparing the analysis that they perform against the ideas of experts. This level of analysis and considerations will aid learners in increasing the level of alignment in their own course design.

Day 3

  • Design Anti-patterns - Creating an effective course includes knowing what to include… and what not to include. This module outlines common pitfalls and design mistakes that can lead to negative outcomes for students. Learners will analyze the impacts of these poor design choices and how to avoid them in their own course design.
  • Simulation – Day Level - Planning a full day (or multiple days) of training requires considerations for students time and energy. This module introduces techniques to identify and balance the amount of instructional time in a full day of learning with their day-level learning outcomes from their pre-course work. This is the first module in the TRIP design simulation, where learners will experience designing one full day of instruction.
  • Simulation – Block Level - The design simulation continues with a drill-down into the instructional building blocks based on available instruction time. Learners will identify and break down larger themes into more granular planning elements to create aligned instructional blocks aligned with their own short-term educational objectives created in the pre-course work. 
  • Simulation – The Emotional Journey - Trainers and Students bring their whole selves into the classroom, and that includes the emotions that they experience, which can change throughout a unit of instruction.  Learners will explore the concepts of a Student's "Emotional Journey" through an analysis of their design decisions, taking into consideration their own Student Personas.
  • Simulation - Blueprints - Intersections of types of knowledge with specific cognitive processes lead to the efficiency of parallelism, or as we like to call them "Blueprints".  Learners in this module will learn the concepts of design choices that can be used as a starting point for similar types of educational objectives, further increasing their ability to build experiences efficiently.
  • Simulation - Delivery Preparation - By putting these techniques to use, learners will experience the full cycle of viewing things at a "day" level all the way to an individual exercise that they will deliver in a simulation later in the course.  This module provides learners some time to organize their thoughts and create a "rough draft" of what they will deliver during a later portion of the simulation.

Day 4

  • Learning Environments - The physical design of a classroom has a major impact on students’ comfort, flexibility, and ability to learn. Trainers must be prepared to design and deliver for different environments without compromising the efficacy of learning. This module will look at common classroom configurations, providing learners with considerations and analysis to help identify ways to maximize their classroom space.  Learners will also learn several techniques they can use for their "Opening Statement" in their course design.
  • Power Plays - Beyond the relationship between a trainer and student, the interaction between students has a significant impact on the effectiveness of a learning experience. This module will introduce approaches to creating a safe and equality-focused learning environment. Learners will identify potential challenges that arise when students create a hierarchy, and explore techniques to minimize negative interactions.
  • Handling Questions - Trainers designing learning experiences with Q&A need a variety of strategies to effectively use this format and appropriately answer questions while keeping the class moving. Learners will develop their own strategy for Q&A, analyzing different options for Q&A structure and the types of interactions that occur when students have questions for the trainer.
  • Trouble in the Classroom - Despite a trainer’s best intentions, student behavior can sometimes take a negative turn. This module will review potential negative scenarios, looking at their causes and potential impacts. Learners will then identify techniques to effectively address these situations and maintain a positive learning environment.
  • Delivery Anti-Patterns - Earlier in the program we explored common mistakes and impacts of poor design choices on a learning experience. This module looks at the common mistakes trainers make in the delivery of a course. By being aware of the potential negative impacts certain trainer behaviors can have on students, learners can adjust their delivery style to reduce the risk of a negative learning experience.
  • Work Outside of the Classroom - The design of some learning experiences require the student to perform some work prior to, during, or after their time together in the classroom. This module has learners explore the benefits and challenges of different strategies and considerations in the context of their Student Personas. It also contains practical tips for communication of class expectations and communication with their students.

Day 5

  • Delivery Simulation - The TRIP delivery simulation provides a safe forum for learners to practice teaching the lessons they created in class and receive valuable feedback. Each learner will have the opportunity to share their lesson, and their peers will evaluate the effectiveness of the lesson for the different student learning styles and personas explored in class. At the end of this module, everyone will have both the valuable experience of practicing their training ideas and peer feedback on the best ways to continue growing as a trainer.
  • Student Feedback - Student feedback is critical to a trainer’s ability to improve and adjust their course. This module focuses on student feedback, including designing effective forms and analyzing results. Looking at industry-standard formats like NPS as well as how to interpret open-ended answer sets, learners will develop a set of helpful tools to gather meaningful data to improve their course design and delivery.
  • Working With Others - Many organizations and accreditation processes have a co-training requirement, for new trainers to work with another trainer on delivery of a live course.  Even in a non-certified environment, instructors often must design and deliver courses with other instructors. This module looks at common scenarios in the interaction between multiple trainers and things to consider to make a successful co-training experience.
  • Accreditation and Submission - Trainers often apply for one or more licenses from an agile governing body to advance their career and legitimize their offerings. Each governing organization has different requirements and approaches toward approving trainers and materials. This module provides learners with scenarios and considerations prior to submitting their application, what do do if it is sent back to them for updates, and problems during interviews. This module also contains many "Tips and Tricks" that can help instructors as they consider applying to a governing body (NOTE - this does NOT focus on one specific governing body or certification authority).
  • Action Plan - The program concludes with reflection on the five days of learning and providing an opportunity for learners to create an action plan for their continued development as an instructor, focusing on the next steps that they can personally take and the conversations that await them in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is "Train of Thought"? 
The 'Train of Thought' series is a set of offerings for trainers to expand and develop their skills as an instructor.  The series will expand into several courses, both live-online and on-demand self-paced offerings.  

Q: How is "Train of Thought" different from the Trainer Immersion Program (TRIP)? 
TRIP is one of the first offerings in the 'Train of Thought' series, think of it as one of the many programs under a larger umbrella!  

Q: What other offerings are in the "Train of Thought" series? 
In addition to TRIP, 'Train of Thought' also includes our self-paced, on-demand online course, Understanding Educational Objectives (EO).

Q: What is the difference between the Trainer Immersion Program(TRIP) and Understanding Educational Objectives(EO)? 
Participants in the TRIP program must first complete the EO on-demand course before attending the live-online portion of the program.  

Q: Will TRIP be offered in-person, or only virtually? 
Presently, TRIP is designed to occur fully virtually, with lots of live interaction during the 5 day training event. The virtual format allows more students to attend and interact with people from all over the globe. As the program evolves, we will certainly explore in-person cohorts if there is student interest.

Q: What parts of TRIP are self-paced versus live instruction? 
The EO course is on-demand and self paced, while the TRIP portion will be full days of live instruction with Chris Li.  

Q: What are the prerequisites to enroll in TRIP, do I need to hold any certifications? 
You do not need to hold any existing certifications, but you do need to complete our EO self-paced program before attending the live instruction portion.  

Q: Does TRIP provide a certification, or will it in the future? 
Ah, the big question!  We are collaborating with ICAgile on this program to identify the learning outcomes that would comprise a new learning path.  These details are emerging, and we expect to share more information as the program continues to develop. If you need a certificate of completion for reimbursement or continued learning, credit, we are happy to provide one!  

Q: Will completing TRIP improve my odds at receiving (trainer certification) from my governing body? 
 TRIP is deigned to be agnostic of teaching topic, and is not tailored for trainers in any specific governing body.  The skills you will learn in TRIP will enable you to maximize your own teaching strengths, and prepare you for making the best design and delivery choices in your training materials.  This will support your application process at many of the major governing bodies. Completing TRIP does not guarantee an endorsement, recommendation, or co-training opportunity from Chris Li.

Q: Would a volunteer or program team member from an agile certifying governing body get anything from this program? 
Absolutely they would! By having first-hand experience with the accreditation processes from different governing bodies, we can honestly say that if you author, contribute, maintain, revise, or approve the learning outcomes or education objectives from your body the EO program is a MUST!  

Q: Do you offer any discounts on these offerings? 
We offer a range of discounts and payment plans, including for students paying for the course themselves, and a special rate for our friends in the Scrum Alliance Guide-level programs.  Our standard discounts and payment plan options are also available, you can apply for a discount here.

What You Get With Your Registration

This program is eligible for up to 60 PMI PDUs and Scrum Alliance SEUs.