Far too often, we forget the primary reasons behind any training solutions we choose to offer our workforce. We spend too much of our time enchanted by the bells and whistles associated with technology. We, mistakenly, believe that all training solutions offer the same benefits just because the title of the program fits our needs and the content is accurate.

However, the truth lies in the learning objectives associated with any training initiative we may offer. Learning objectives are the bottom line answer to whatever training we provide.

Here are some tips on evaluating your training courseware choices from a learning objectives point of view.

There are three primary aspects of learning objectives. The first is the makeup of the population being trained. What are the characteristics of the learners in your organization?

For example, does the course you are evaluating use college level vocabulary when you know that the majority of the people you need to train cannot comprehend above a fourth grade reading level? Are the pictures and illustrations used in the proposed course similar to the types of equipment the learner will encounter on your shop floor?

Secondly, what “behavior changes” do you expect after the training has been completed? Do you want the individual learners to be able to identify specific pieces of equipment? Do you want them to be able to demonstrate their ability to perform a maintenance task correctly while also using good work and safety practices. And if so, does the course you are examining accomplish that objective?

And, thirdly, does the course you are evaluating prepare the students for the conditions they will encounter? Are they armed with the references, illustrations, graphs, and, most importantly, the electronic help desk — readily available in knowledgeably-designed courseware (and, vital when they are actually on-the-job)?

Expect a vendor’s sales representative to be able to reference these objectives in any courseware you are asked to evaluate. Good training objectives identify the desired learning outcomes; are consistent with your company’s goals; and, are specifically meaningful to your organization’s needs.

For the best in training outcomes, being able to evaluate any training option in these ways is far more important than the bells and whistles you encounter in the presentation.

And, of course, all these same criteria apply directly to you if you are tasked with developing your own training programs for your own organization.

More on Thursday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning