When selecting courseware solutions, you should look for: a) content accuracy and completeness; b) the course’s designed learning objectives; and c) the production values — which should be based on full motion video and optional word-for-word audio, if you are going to communicate effectively with your trainees’ typical learning culture.

Today we’re going to examine b) the course’s designed learning objectives as it is one of the three major criteria that will ultimately determine the success or failure of your training initiative.

There are three primary aspects of learning objectives. The first is the makeup of the population being trained. So, for you to be successful, you must have a clear understanding of the characteristics of the learners in your organization that you are being asked to train. For example, does the course you are evaluating use college level vocabulary when you know that the majority of people you need to train cannot read above a fourth grade level? Also, are the pictures used similar to the types of equipment the learner will encounter on your shop floor?

Second, 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, at the same time, using good work and safety practices? And if so, does the course you are examining accomplish that objective?

Thirdly, does the course you are evaluating prepare the students for the conditions they will encounter? Will the course arm them with the references, illustrations, graphs, and, most importantly, an electronic help desk — all readily available in well designed E-Learning courseware — and, all of which they will need when they are actually on the job?

Expect a vendor’s sales representative to be able to identify these learning objectives in any courseware he asks you to evaluate. Good training objectives identify the desired learning outcomes, are consistent with your company’s goals, and are specifically meaningful to your 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 a typical vendor’s presentation.

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

More on Thursday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning
www.itclearning.com/blog/ (Tuesdays & Thursdays)
e-Mail: bwalton@itclearning.com