While reading up on performance analysis, I came across an interesting approach that links performance analysis with Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Evaluations. (Phillips & Phillips, 2002). This approach involves planning backwards, or working from top to bottom, in order to ensure the performance improvement ideas meet the organization’s goals, objectives, and vision. The backward planning approach involves four levels, which I have outlined below. I have also provided an example of each by using a shoe company wanting to introduce a new line of running shoes.
1) Business needs are linked to results. The question that training consulting should be answer is, “What is our overall goal?” A sample business goal could be: Increase sales 15% with the introduction of a new line of running shoes.
2) Job performance needs are linked to behaviors. The question that should be answered is, “What do the employees need to do to reach the business goal?” A sample performance need could be: Employees should be able to increase sales by describing and demonstrating the features and benefits of the new line of running shoes to the customer.
3) Corporate training needs are linked to learning. The question that should be answered is, “What activities or experiences will help people learn?” Some sample activities and/or experiences could be: During an ILT, the sales reps engage in group activities in which they discover the improved quality and performance of the new shoes. They then participate in role plays in which they effectively sell the new line of shoes to the customers.
4) Individual needs are linked to reaction. The question that should be answered is, “What will motivate sales reps and/or employees to learn and perform?” A sample motivational strategy could be twofold: First, include in the ILT a story in which a sales rep is describing his or her importance in the company. This would include information explaining why the training is important to this person. Second, after the training is completed the managers could follow up with the sales reps, motivating them to set goals based on the training.
This is just a summary of the Backwards Planning Model. I have found it helpful during the training consulting and analysis phase of an instructional design project. If anyone has a success story using this strategy, please feel free to share.
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