The Training Cycle
Training Needs Assessment
When designing a learning intervention, the first step is to find out what are the needs of the intended target market for the intervention. The assessment may be done through a survey, series of interviews, review of the target’s performance evaluation, etc. Below are examples of questions that may be asked:
- What training intervention does HR or the stakeholders believe is needed?
- What behaviors or performance indicators support the said recommended intervention?
- Have there been other interventions previously used to address the said concern? If yes, how successful were they and what was the measurement of success that was used?
- What are the prospective attendees’ learning styles?
- What are their age groups of the participants?
Training Needs Analysis
Once data is already gathered from the assessment, the next step is to analyze and find what the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats among the projected participants are. You may also use other forms of analysis. What is more important is that you are able to get to the bottom of what causes the conditions which necessitated the learning intervention i.e. poor sales performance due to lack of job aids, poor departmental attendance due to frequent extended hours of work, recurring manufacturing errors due to lack of coaching, etc.
What are the learning styles of the target participants? Are they Technical Experts who would prefer hands-on training? Do their jobs require constant interaction with customers about services they haven’t personally experienced? Maybe they should be given field exposure. If their jobs require very high level of concentration, a classroom setting may be the best way to keep them engaged during the training intervention. Do they need to work as a team to perform well, a teambuilding activity focused on achieving goals as a team would work better toward improvement of departmental performance may be what is needed. If there is no one learning style that can be determined for the entire group, you may integrate several breakout sessions that would involve different activities that would engage various learning styles.
We all have different learning styles we developed. Some of us find learning easier when such learning is conducted in a classroom setting while some others would find it easier to remember learnings when outdoor. It is also important to find opportunities for the participants to use as many senses as possible i.e. using soothing music during activities which require introspection; upbeat music for activities which require group physical labor, etc.
Evaluation is an often forgotten element in the Learning and Devlopment Cycle but it is equally important with the rest. Insights during the Evaluation give both the implementing and the requesting parties to gauge how the attendees found the intervention. Below are some of the questions that may be asked during evaluation:
- What were your expectations about the training intervention?
- Were your expectations met? Which expectations were met and which ones were not?
- Do you find the learnings you got from the intervention helpful with your everyday work output? In what way?
- What other activities do you believe are needed to strengthen what you have learned during the intervention?
Aside from these questions, the most important gauge of whether or not a learning intervention was successful is how it affected the bottom line performance. Are there fewer errors now than before the intervention? Has departmental communication improved and in what way? Is there less absences and tardiness now? My suggestion is for the implementing party to visit the requesting party within 30 days from the program to discuss observations and possible follow-up interventions that may be needed.
Training Evaluation Analysis Action Points
Given the feedback of the participants and the training requesting party, backed with actual performance comparison between figures before and after the intervention, the implementing party is now able to come up with recommendations. It may be that there are work processes or policies that need to be revisited to comply with the organizational culture that is being built. In such cases, the implementing party should be able and willing to present recommendations and so the training cycle continues.