Module 0: "Train-the-Trainer": Methods in collections management training

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(Photo by Marta De Biaggio)

Full Title: “Train-the-Trainer”: Methods in Collections Management training

Trainer(s): Rob Huxley (NHM-London, UK), Nichola Stallwood (NHM-London, UK), Josefina Barreiro (MNCN-CSIC, ES)

Description of the course:

This module is aimed primarily at those who have attended the 2007-2009 SYNTHESYS courses in collections management and wish to share knowledge of best practice gained in their own institutions and in their own language . The module provides a framework of  techniques and information to help trained collections staff transfer their knowledge and experience in a consistent and effective way. It will address:

*    What are the key learning points and knowledge to include in a collections management course?
*    Where can comprehensive teaching materials be found and how can they be used?
*    What training methods and techniques can be applied to maximize learning?


One of the key aims of the SYNTHESYS project is to raise standards in collections management across Europe  and to minimise risks to current and future access to collections. Surveys of  collections management in 15 institutions  identified a general need for training  particularly an improvement in general awareness of current best practice. Three courses were held to address this covering a range of topics from risk management to maximising staff and material resources.

The overarching principle is that those trained return to their institutions and hold their own courses, workshops and seminars to spread the knowledge  and culture of best practice.   

Course Objectives

By the end of the module participants will have:

*    Explored and identified learning needs
*    Identified and practiced the range of training support material available
*    Identified the appropriate group working techniques and exercises to suit the content of their courses
*    Applied and practiced  methods for managing group behaviour
*    Have an understanding of the core principles for making effective presentations

Tentative program

Some changes may be made to this programme nearer to the course date to enable us to match content to participants' needs.

Day 1



Registration and lunch


Introduction to course, aims and objectives


SYNTHEYS Collections Course content

Recap of core content of SYNTHSEYS syllabus

Introduction to prioritisation techniques to capture feedback from the group


Roles and responsibilities of a trainer   (15 mins)


Training needs/ matching course elements to appropriate staff (30 hour): Identifying which staff will benefit from CM training. Targeting modules to appropriate staff


Coffee /Tea


Aims and objectives: Establishing aims and objectives for a course.  Using "SMART" objectives.


Techniques for group work and managing group behaviour

When to intervene in group discussions, how to avoid difficult situations developing


Recap on day


Day 2



Basic Presentation skills: Hints and Tips for using Powerpoint, handouts etc, ensuring clarity of instructions  to maximise learning experience


Selecting teaching methods for the content areas .Which methods are appropriate for each subject area in the course (e g. Discussion, presentation, practical). Things to be aware of when carrying out sample surveys, etc


Sources of information to support training

Literature, web sources of background information, new collections support initiatives (EU-Com)



10. 30

Putting it into practice (2.5  hours )

Participants put together a short training exercise based on the SYNTHESYS syllabus discussion and feedback.



Review of  course,  follow up, issue requiring further contact, support


End of course

Location: Natural History Museum (London, UK)

Duration and date: Lunch-to-lunch meeting, 24-25 October 2011

Thank you for your interest in the SYNTHESYS Advanced Training in Collections Management.

To register, please fill in the application form. A limited number of places will be available. Most places are subject to invitation only. Candidates are expected to have attended one of the SYNTHESYS Collections Management training courses or if spaces are available have a demonstrably similar level  of understanding. There is no registration fee required. Two lunches will be provided. Transport and accommodation costs must be covered by the participants themselves.

Preference will be given to applicants who are actively involved in collection management/care at their institute. The course will be given in English.

Registration deadline 15/09/2011

For more information, please contact      kim.jacobsen [at]