2. Overall aim and general area

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The trainer needs to ask him/herself the questions:
  • Why is this training necessary?
  • What is the subject of my training event?
  • What is it about?
  • What is it supposed to accomplish?


It is essential that you know why the training is to be carried out, in other words, what need has been identified by your agency or organization that the training of panel members will meet. Your agency may have carried out a systematic organizational or business needs analysis which demonstrated that to carry out its activities effectively and economically, panel experts needed preparation for the review/accreditation work which they will be expected to carry out. In this case the aim of the training would be “to prepare panel members to carry out a review for the agency”.

There may be other aims for running a training event, for example, to assess the abilities of participants to become panel members; to provide an opportunity for panel members to network and learn from one another; to satisfy stakeholder confidence in the review/accreditation process. These aims are not mutually exclusive but you need to be clear which aims your training is trying to address.

Once you have clarified the aim you can go on to consider the broad areas that the training must cover. In the case mentioned above (aim = to prepare panel members to carry out a review), the training would need to: introduce panel members to the actual review process; explain the ethos and expectations of the agency; give them the knowledge and skills and attitudes to carry out a review effectively and professionally.

For your own training event you should think about the review process (or other panel activity) that you will be training panel members for and decide what broad subject headings your training needs to cover. You need to consider how much your participants are likely to know about the process: can you assume that the participants know anything at all about the review method/process? Will they already be familiar with national or European requirements, qualifications descriptions, codes of quality or codes of conduct? Do they need to know anything about the history of your organisation?

You may also need to consider whether the panel members are already very experienced and, therefore, do not need communications (or other) skills? Is their main need support with writing a report? Do groups of reviewers (e.g. students, employers, administrators) differ in their needs? If so, how will you deal with that? We shall return to some of these questions throughout this handbook.

What you need to include in your training event depends on the answers to these questions. Once you have decided on the broad areas that the training must cover you can go on to think about the detailed content and learning outcomes of the training.

Handbook chapters


King, G., 2012. Handbook for training panel members for quality assurance procedures, ECA Occassional Paper. The Hague.