In today’s world, how do you develop a training initiative that has the best chance of success – both for your organization’s business needs and for the benefit of your trainees?

The shortcomings of traditional methods to keep up with rapid change, as well as the demands of the global marketplace, require a more targeted approach to training. The need for a proven approach to upgrade skills within budget and just in time to achieve business success is the major challenge facing organizations today. For the successful trainer, a number of events must take place before any implementation occurs.

First and foremost, for any training initiative to succeed it must have top management “buy-in.” No initiative is going to be very successful if it is not wholeheartedly endorsed by the leaders in your organization.

Begin your analysis with a Skills Assessment Test. Such a test can optimize human performance as a key asset by aligning business strategy with human performance in order to achieve business goals & priorities. A Skills Assessment is necessary in order to assess facilities training needs, and to assign the right type of instruction to a specific task. A Skills Assessment determines skill gap areas needed to substantiate worker qualification on the job. It determines the skill areas required to improve or enhance on-the-job performance. And, it identifies areas for skills development that will prepare for the worker’s future career growth.

Next, you should ask yourself, “Is the learning initiative you are contemplating designed for the modern learner?” Today’s learner expects multi-sensory media instruction. They grew up watching television production techniques and they expect the same in their media instruction experiences. Above all, is the training initiative you are contemplating based on a “full motion video and an optional word-for-word audio” design — necessary for the more than 40% of the workforce that do not assimilate instruction beyond a 4th Grade reading level?

Also, have you checked the instructional content with a subject matter expert in your organization? Does the content promote the necessary skills for the tasks to be assigned? If not, it’s a waste of time and money.

Finally, you need to examine the “usability” of the training solution you are proposing. One of the ways you can define “usability” is in terms of how user-friendly or appealing a program is. In practice, usability goes deeper than this, and is closely related to how much your users will actually learn. Many of the usability concepts that need to be considered from the end-user’s perspective are closely linked to the instructional design and learning objectives of the program. These include: a) whether learners are kept engaged and active when they work through the instruction; b) how much control is given to the learner and c) if the program gives positive feedback to motivate learners. Another consideration includes the program’s color, sound, and consistency, which if lacking, could compromise the effectiveness of the learning.

Possibly the most valuable area to consider is the effectiveness of the instructional design, which ensures that instructional materials are presented to facilitate the transfer of information into knowledge. If your learners cannot apply the information you present to their own jobs, the training wasn’t very useful.

If you are committed to success, these are the issues you should carefully consider before implementing any training initiative.

More on Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning