Not an exhaustive list of suggestions - just a few things to get you going...

  • The model comes in 4 colours for a reason. Colour code your trainers notes so that they will be able see your design decisions and therefore deliver them.

  • Regularly include Designers Notes in your trainers notes - i.e. direct conversations with the reader, where you outline your strategic intentions. Too often Trainers Notes are little more than hundreds, if not thousands of instructions and let's face it, none of us like just being told what to do. We're usually more cooperative if we're given a good reason. Trainers have to carry out your strategies, so why not share them directly? 

    e.g. (For the start of the second CSAR Classic example)

    Designer's Note: This activity has been deliberately designed to stretch, and even stress out, the group a little. The reason? 1: You may have a mixed ability group, and therefore some will be able to easily handle the challenge, and 2: It's achievable and above all, real. The group will learn a lot more in less time by setting up and balancing 2 mikes.


  • If you can, limit instructional sections in your learner notes to a single page or two only, before then designing the next activity. It's all about limiting content so that there's enough workshop time for related Activity and Reflection.

  • To that end, try to ensure that all content passes through more than just the Study quadrant. That makes it just knowledge for knowledge's sake - far more appropriate in business presentation than training workshops. Equally, don't jump from the Study quadrant to group reflection/discussion. This is more appropriate for facilitated types of workshops. Include a skill-based Activity of some kind in between.

  • Across all the quadrants, vary your approaches. The key is variety, so avoid repeating the same sorts of activity over and over. The same goes for group sizes in activities. Vary them across a session - 4's pairs, solo, whole group etc. 

    For example, if you run 3 flipchart discussions in a row, do you really expect the third one to work as well as the first? The same goes for quizzes or role plays. Something may appear to be the right activity for the group, but real-time and boredom have to be considered alongside educational appropriateness.

  • Remember everything you've learned about adult learning principles and styles - they all fit with CSAR. CSAR is an engineering model - it helps us define how the medium of training workshops "work"; how to build them as a sequence of events. This is separate to ensuring that each event in the sequence is of stellar quality. Adult learning principles and styles ensure the quality, not so much the engineering of training workshops.

    Combine CSAR with adult learning principles and styles, as well as all those activity types and debrief tricks you just love to use, and you may just end up turning good into great!