Employee training is an investment—a huge, unpredictable, make-or-break investment. While none of us in the training and development industry have a crystal ball to predict whether or not a training program will be a huge success, there is a lot that we can do beforehand to increase the overall impact that our approach has on its intended audience.
The most common approach to creating a training program is to determine the problem that you’d most like to fix. While this is indeed an important step in the process, there’s a lot more that needs to happen before committing to a particular approach to training. At AllenComm, we’ve compiled years of best practices into an informative needs analysis that can not only determine the problem but answer questions about your employee’s learning styles, the complexity of content to be learned, and the actionable steps that your training program needs to take in order to have an impact on learners.
Teaching employees the steps they need to take in order to solve a company-wide problem seems like the most direct route, but such an approach isn’t always best in the training and development industry. For employee training to have an impact, we must first understand everything we can about our learners. Only then can we create a training program that will have a lasting impact on employees.
Our needs analysis process helps us establish a groundwork from which to build, but a training solution still needs a roadmap in order to be successful. Luckily, conducting a needs analysis lets us determine the complexities of the problem that needs to be solved, and from there we can work backward to develop learning objectives that can guide learners to a better understanding of that problem.
We’ve found that collaborating directly with clients about this process helps us merge their industry expertise with ours. Working together during these design workshops, we can help build a training program that effectively and efficiently gets employees from point A to point B.
Prioritize learners over content
It’s always a tough call to select the content that will make the most impact with your learners—the maxim “knowledge is power” makes us think that all content is equally important and valuable to learners. While that’s not necessarily a false statement, training programs seldom have the capacity for every applicable piece of information, and learners definitely don’t have the patience for it.
The answer to this predicament comes from content gathering and curation—the practice of filtering out the pieces of information that will make the most impact on learners within the parameters of the training program. This process is made much more approachable when supplemented with the information that we gather from our needs analysis process and our design workshops. Our laser focus on the needs of your learners and our backward design process lets us develop a strategy when selecting content for employee training.
In the end, the goal of our design process is to create training programs that put the learners first. We recognize the importance of determining problems, setting goals, and teaching applicable content, but, when it comes to employee training, each one of those aspects is much more complex than we originally thought. Only by developing equally complex approaches can we hope to create training programs that make an actual impact on employees.