TRAP (Training Reflection and Action Planning) Model

I developed a reflective tool for use in training sessions that I’ve been running. A couple of people said that they liked it so I’ve come up with a name and thought I’d post it with some explanation.

The idea is that at the end of a training session you ask participants to draw the following diagram.

TRAP model

Download as a PowerPoint file or PDF from Scribd.

You encourage them to think about the following things.

  • What did you already know? I usually stress that you might have become aware through the session of things that you already knew that are useful to what we’ve been working on. In other words the training might have highlighted the transferability of existing knowledge.
  • What did you want to learn? These were your stated learning outcomes. Ideally this links back to an exercise earlier in the day when people defined what they were looking for, it also might provide an opportunity to highlight any formal learning outcomes that you set out.
  • What have we covered? Encourage people to think about what we have covered. The Venn diagram approach allows them to distinguish between what they were expecting and what they have covered that was new to them. Hopefully there is a fair bit in the middle section of the Venn. However, the aim of training is not just to get everything in there, it is fine to surprise people and to give them stuff that they didn’t need as well.
  • What do you want to learn next? Finally I encourage people to focus on what they want to learn next. This might be about identifying further training courses, but is more usually about continuing to experiment with what they have learnt and starting to put it into practice. Encouraging people to think of operationalising learning as learning in itself seems to me to be a useful point to make (draws on Kolb and other learning theories that I broadly subscribe to).

So there you go. That is the model that I’ve been using. It seems to be useful in helping people to reflect productively on their experience during the day.

I’d be interested to hear what people think of it and to see other models that do similar things. People are also welcome to develop it and to propose modifications.



  1. Hi Tristram

    I like the model, specifically the reference to pre-existing knowledge.

    Would it be possible to expand the exploration of the relationship between participants’ existing knowledge and the content of the teaching? For example…
    To what extent has the content of the teaching reinforced or expanded on existing knowledge?
    To what extent has the content of the teaching modified or challenged existing knowledge?

    Personally, I don’t think you should just use this at the end of a session. Not all learning needs are apparent from the outset. I have found that participants’ needs evolve as they engage with the content (you often don’t know what you need to know). Using this reflection at regular intervals during teaching would help the participants to keep track of the development of their own learning and help the teacher to tailor and pace the teaching to the evolving needs of the participants.

    I have used the word “teaching” rather than “training” because your model refers to “knowledge”. For me training is about more than changing the knowledge state of participants –

  2. Thanks for the comments. I see what you mean. I might need to adjust it to a 3 circle venn to achieve that.
    I’m not sure that this is the tool for repeated reflection throughout. I agree that that can be powerful.

    I’ll give it some more thought.

  3. Hi Tristram,
    Very interesting indeed.
    I was thinking about using such a reflexive tool in the frame of career guidance process.
    I agree with David : I do think it is very useful to use this reflexion at several times during the process in order to build and maintain a strong working alliance with the participant. It is also very important to allow the participant to trace its own skill development during the process.
    Can you please tell us a bit more about the 3 circle Venn you have in mind ?

    David Bourne

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