Tip #910: How to Use Pre-Work Effectively

“I like the fact that students are taking the responsibility for learning in order to make sure they can be an active participant in the group.” Anon.

We assign pre-work for learners to gain knowledge that they will then be able to apply during a training session.

This pre-work may include prerecorded lectures, reading materials, video demonstrations, and self-directed exercises. It may be provided in paper form, online through blogs, podcasts, and videos, or through social networking and discussion boards.

Pre-work seems like a great idea. However, its effectiveness depends on a number of variables. The most important of these is how you will encourage participants to complete it!

Selection of the Pre-Work:

  1. What change in knowledge or behavior is desired at the completion of the training program?
  2. What information do the participants need to learn on their own?
  3. What is a reasonable amount of information for participants to absorb?
  4. What is a reasonable amount of time to expect participants to do the pre-work?
  5. What format(s) will be most effective for the participants to learn and retain the information?


  1. Are the necessary systems in place to house the pre-work and document its completion?
  2. How will access to the pre-work be ensured for all participants?
  3. How much time should elapse between completion of the pre-work and attendance in the class?
  4. How will the pre-work information be reinforced until attendance in the class?

Communication Regarding the Pre-Work

  1. How will the participants be notified about the pre-work?
  2. How will the participants be encouraged to complete the pre-work?
  3. How will participants be reminded to complete the pre-work?

Completion of the Pre-Work:

  1. Will participants be given work time to do the pre-work- and if so, how much time?
  2. What will be the deadline for the completion of the pre-work?
  3. How will completion of the pre-work be documented?
  4. Is there a way to mandate completion of the pre-work?

Integration of the Pre-Work into Class Activities:

  1. How will retention of pre-work information be checked at the beginning of the class?
  2. How will the pre-work information be incorporated into the class for participants who did not complete the pre-work?

Question: Do you use pre-work and, if so, how do you ensure it is completed?

May your learning be sweet- and safe.


#prework #flippedclassroom #selfdirectedlearning


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