How to Prepare Your Training Content for a Learning Vendor
Key Considerations for Effective Training Content Preparation
Something has changed at your company. You’ve realized your employee onboarding could be streamlined or your sales enablement training could be more efficient. Maybe the market has changed, and your company needs to adapt. Maybe compliance laws have been updated, and now you need to disseminate those changes to your employees. Whatever the catalyst, your company needs better training.
Training and development teams frequently use corporate training vendors like AllenComm; however, simply hiring a vendor doesn’t mean the training will take care of itself. Instead, the most effective training is created when a company and its vendor collaborate on content development.
So, how should your learning and development team prepare content on your end before approaching a vendor?
Prepare Your Training Content Early
Abraham Lincoln is known to have said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.”
The most effective training is created when a company and its vendor collaborate.
Industry professionals recommend a lead time of two months to prepare before approaching a corporate training vendor. Careful planning will minimize headaches during the design process. So, while you may think your company is 100% ready to go, here are a few things to consider:
- Do you understand why your company needs new training?
- Is there a consensus on the desired results of this new training?
- How will you measure these outcomes?
- Have you gotten buy-in from the decision-makers in the relevant departments?
If these fundamental aspects aren’t aligned, then delays are inevitable.
Gaining a consensus on where to go next can be difficult but getting every decision-maker on the same page is critical. To that end, it’s important to set realistic expectations early. You wouldn’t want anyone to be caught off guard if the project is affected by limitations of resources, budget, or time.
Gathering Your Training Content
Once there’s a shared vision, the task of creating and collecting content for your training has a purpose. At this point, you can start collecting all the content your company currently owns on your training topic. Whether it’s PowerPoints, hardcopy handouts, data, or anecdotes, understanding where your company has been on this topic will help determine the best course for where you want to go next.
To determine which content is important, consider the following: is this content critical for our learning goals? If the content doesn’t serve that purpose in a demonstrable way, then keep working to find something better.
There are a few key audience considerations that are integral to this process:
- Who will take this training?
- What do you hope they learn?
- What do they hope to learn?
- What format will help them learn best?
As you consider these questions, your L&D department should create a written narrative that compiles all the communication and content on this topic, focused around specific learning outcomes. This will make you well-prepared with content, goals, and an aggressive pitch when you approach learning vendors.
While you understand your company’s content, a learning vendor understands how training innovations like microlearning and gamification can be leveraged to make your content engaging.
Researching vendors is critical, but the process is about more than the budget.
Researching vendors is critical, but the process is about more than the budget. You own the success of your company, and you want a vendor who will meet your needs and fit your personality. After all your hard work preparing, would you settle for cookie-cutter training?
So, how do you find that perfect partner? Here are a few key ingredients that will guide you in finding a learning vendor that focuses on your goals:
You want a vendor who will meet in-person to understand your business and work with you. You don’t want a vendor who expects to only be told what to do through the design process.
Make sure the vendor has the skills that will augment your company’s resources. What does this vendor create that’s unique and necessary for your vision?
Budget is awkward to discuss, but transparency on this issue will prevent headaches later. Aligning the project budget with the training design is critical. Setting limitations early in the design process isn’t bad. Rather, it can often push companies to be more creative with the resources available.
But the situation becomes messy if expectations are mismanaged and the project can’t meet the vision based on the given budget or timeframe.
Building an effective learning program is difficult enough without false starts and delays. A lack of preparation will hamper the success of your training project, and likely cause a few headaches in the process. What you do to prepare content before approaching vendors will certainly impact your success and satisfaction, but it also helps to have a great relationship with a vendor like AllenComm. You want a vendor who can understand your learning goals and performance objectives, but the best vendors will push you to do more, too. Don’t be afraid to hear “There’s a better way to do that.” As long as you align your internal teams, curate content, and set clear design and development expectations, you’re on the road to success.