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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Lisa M. Skow
COM 495
Seattle Campus

Special Topics in Communication

Lecture, seminar, and/or team study. Topics vary.

Class description

Course Title: Com 495I - Improving Organizations through Communication Training

This is a practical, project-based course designed to help participants apply principles of adult learning theory, communication education, and the ADDIE model of instructional design to the planning, development, delivery, and evaluation of a communication skills training workshop. Students will design a complete training workshop of their own selection, which will be in a nearly-ready-to-deliver state to a target audience after completing the course. The focus of our efforts in this class will be to create workshops that help to develop the communication skills of individuals within a variety of organizational settings (corporate, nonprofit, community, neighborhood, government, etc.) Central to this course is the belief that when staff and employees communicate effectively with each other, they make decisions that contribute to greater organizational success and create more healthy and productive working environments.

Student learning goals

As a result of taking this course, students will be able to create and implement a workshop that develops the communication skills of a target group of individuals within an organizational setting. Towards accomplishing this goal, by the end of this course students will be able to:

-explain the centrality of effective communication in creating successful organizations;

-plan a training workshop or lesson using adult learning principles and practices;

-describe the ADDIE approach to instructional design;

-define key terms and concepts related to adult learning;

-conduct a training needs assessment;

-write learning goals and objectives for knowledge, attitude, and behavior change;

-develop a training outline;

-develop a set of training materials;

-design activities for a training workshop;

-create an evaluation for determining the effectiveness of a workshop;

-plan how to implement a workshop for a target audience; and,

-facilitate a short communication skills activity from a larger workshop

General method of instruction

Learning and teaching methods in this course will include the following:

-Class and small group discussions/problem-solving

-Interactive lectures, including Q&A among students and instructor

-Organized in-class activities to demonstrate the teaching of specific communication skills

-Guest trainers demonstrating the skill of communication training

-Discussion of communication training case studies

-Student-facilitated training segments

-Readings from The Adult Learner, Training and Development: Enhancing Communication and Leadership Skills, and selected articles in communication skills training

-Multiple writing assignments

Recommended preparation

At least a junior level standing is recommended. But advanced sophomore students with solid writing skills and maturity could also be successful in this course. This course requires that students find an organization of any kind to develop their multi-phased training project. This can be a corporate, nonprofit, community, academic, neighborhood, etc. organization. Virtually any group of people of more than five with a set of common goals and guidelines for accomplishing these goals can be understood as an organization.

Class assignments and grading

Seven course assignments (six written, one facilitated) build on each other to create one complete course project: the development of a complete communication training workshop. These assignments comprise 95% of the total points possible in the course. These assignments are:

-Project Proposal

-Training Needs Assessment

-Learning Objectives

-Training Workshop Outline

-Development of Workshop Content and Materials

-Workshop Evaluation and Plan to Implement

-Facilitation of Workshop Activity

All of the writing assignments are either short (1-2 pages) or medium length (3-4) written documents. The remaining 5% of the course grade will include a combination of feedback provided to fellow students and participation in in-class activities.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Lisa M. Skow
Date: 03/02/2012