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If the planning committee has already established dissemination goals for the RDW, and identified who will most likely attend, and who the collaborators will be, then the format will likely be determined by those choices.

A common program design, no matter the number of days, is to present lectures in the morning to a general audience, and then provide a more intimate setting in the afternoon which often includes experiential or interactive learning in a workshop setting. Adult learners prefer this kind of continuing education so that they can add their own experience or expertise to the discussion. (See Sample Flyers that advertise content of the workshops.)

Choosing a Format

Previously held RDWs have typically been one or two day events. The length will likely be dictated by content, but also by available funds.

Perhaps, you plan to focus on the Blending Products and spend a day highlighting the top three choices of your committee. Perhaps you plan for it to be free of charge and you will call upon local expert trainers to convene at a community treatment program. This could be an interactive format where you can receive feedback from stakeholders as you present each product.

Or, perhaps you are collaborating with a medical institution or organization and you would like the presentations of your subject matter to be more in-depth, part lecture, part practical and of use to a wider audience including administrators, doctors, nurses, clinicians. Then you might consider combining forces with that institution and learning what's on the horizon for your particular area, and what do practitioners need to know, e.g. Is there a particular drug abuse on the rise? Are there new state regulations affecting medication assisted treatment?


You will need to create an agenda for the day's event that participants can follow through the day/days. The agenda breaks down by room, location and time increments, what will take place including breaks, lunch, poster sessions, etc. If you create an information packet for the event, this should be the first page on the left-hand side of the folder. This is the easiest way for your audience to track the day's activities.

When thinking about your agenda, it's always good to consider a welcome & introduction from a state agency or sponsoring organization. This person will speak briefly, but he/she will set the tone for the event. This person should be aware of what might be currently pressing on the minds of the audience: budget cuts, job security, new credentialing, etc. It can also be this person's job to create a sense of expectancy for what is to come. He/she can even acknowledge the initiative of those in attendance, their willingness to learn more job and career skills.

If the afternoon is smaller workshop sessions, consider whether or not to bring the large group back together for a summation/discussion of what has transpired and get audience feedback. This can also be a time when you ask for completed evaluations and/or distribute certificates of completion.

Depending on the size of the event, you might also need staff or volunteers available to assist people with directions. (See Sample Agendas for ideas on how to schedule your day's activities.)

Day of the Event Registration

Ideally, you will have a print out of the names of registrants. If you choose to use printed Name Tags you will want to present them at a registration desk so that people can simply choose their own. This attendance list, which may need a bit of revision, will serve as a way to communicate with attendees after the event.

You will want to have e-mail addresses for those who attend. If you have the information available, you can ask if the information is correct. Make sure to have enough people to help with registration -- ask in advance who will volunteer to do this. Perhaps, one person should be the troubleshooter. Problems will always arise. Depending on the availability of space, it can get very crowded and standing in line makes people irritated. Unfortunately, this kind of logistical situation can reflect poorly on evaluations.

Continuing Education Units

The type of continuing education credit offered depends upon the needs of your audience, but you should definitely make every effort to be able to offer credit to the majority of the audience. You may have collaborators that are already CEU providers, and this can be helpful. Start early in your planning to identify the types of CEUs you will want to offer and what you will need to do to be able to do so. On the day of the event, you will want to have those seeking CEUs sign in and out with the time they arrived and left the training. At the end of an event, this can create a log jam as people all leave the training at once. Make sure you have a number of staff and an alphabetized attendee list so you can facilitate this process.

Program Evaluation

It's always good to provide some sort of evaluation for your event. For one, it helps the audience to feel you are receptive to their needs in all areas: content, logistics, comfort, etc. It will probably depend on who makes up your audience as to who might offer continuing education credits. Nurses and clinicians do not receive them from the same organizations.

Ideally, you can coordinate with an ATTC and provide CEUs to those in the mental health and substance abuse fields. You will have to decide if this can be free of charge, or if you will need to charge a small fee. Either way, they are most appreciated since most attendees need to acquire these on an annual basis.

The information you gather will be of help as you prepare for future events, and will help you to understand what is considered important to your audience.

Post-Event Follow Up Plans

If you find that your audience, or a group of your audience members, have discovered a need for further discussion, education or technical assistance, it can be an ideal time to develop additional training that meets their needs.

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Supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute.
The materials on this site have neither been created nor reviewed by NIDA.
Updated 9/2013 | http://ctndisseminationlibrary.org/RDW/program.htm