Golden Rules of Effective Training

Credits CC Last Updated 2016-03

How can we as trainers provide solutions to the digital safety concerns of our participants, and communicate about the challenges and realities of these concerns, both responsibly and effectively?

This is a list of basic tenets to uphold and remain consistent about, for digital security trainers.

In order to organize and lead trainings that prioritize the learning and development of our participants, a standard of respect for the context and experience they arrive with in the training room, and the protection of their identities and safety of their wellbeing, as trainers we must…

“Golden Rule” 1

Always explain why a tool, strategy, or habit is important before you start training on it.

Lessons will stick with participants if they know how the information is relevant to themselves and their work. To facilitate this, trainers may choose to employ one or more of the following approaches:

  • Use real-life examples or case studies that participants can relate to.
  • Connect session theme(s) to the work that your participants do on a daily basis.
  • Get to know your participants’ digital habits and behaviors, relating the training to those.

Emphasize that security is as much about a change in behavior, as it is about tools.

“Golden Rule” 2

Create and foster a safe and secure space for your training.

  • Agree with the participants to not broadcast identities via social media and on the Internet.
  • As a digital security trainer, do not allow the participants to name you online as such.
  • The public face of your training should not at any point become a cause for concern.

Banners & signage (if even necessary to begin with), visa invitation letters, and even formal emails should not use terms or phrases that could raise red flags in certain settings such as “digital security”, “online privacy”, “circumvention”, etc.

For more guidance on creating safe spaces for digital security trainings, refer to our Creating “Safe Spaces” guide.

“Golden Rule” 3

Provide participants with ways to communicate with you securely post-training.

If your participants live in high-risk environments where monitoring is prevalent, it’s essential to to establish spolicies with organizers that will cover communications before, during and after the workshop. Most importantly, remember to stick to the following guidelines for your training participants:

  • Do not divulge the list of participants online, or any of their individual names.
  • Keep their personal data (passports, full names, addresses) offline and secure no matter what.

Try to include training organizers when discussing about post-training communication with participants, or conduct a separate session specifically to discuss secure communication practices with them.