October 13, 2014

As you know, there are two operating philosophies that are common to many successful organizations—whether the enterprise engages in industrial manufacturing, service, distribution, finance or any other kind of business—Total Quality Management (TQM) and Just-In-Time (JIT).

The training courseware you purchase can play a role in both activities —- so, when dealing with a courseware supplier get them to answer the following questions in order to help you ascertain whether their offerings are even capable of helping you meet your TQC/JIT commitments:

Can you provide me with a list of other organizations within my market segment that are currently using your training programs? (It never pays to play the role of guinea pig. You should also ask for a couple of user names and phone numbers in order to do your own due diligence — before moving ahead.)

How does your organization select the program topics you choose to produce? (You’re looking for an answer that tells you that the vendor has responded to customer-driven topic selections — and, not just to their own research department.)

How are your programs actually produced? (The best training courseware is produced internally using the vendor’s own Instructional Designers, programmers and customer-provided SMEs. The production process should also include beta-reviews by actual customers before the vendor’s solutions are released for sale. You definitely do not want to purchase from vendors that use an off-shore sub-contractor that operates only in a template environment.)

Is your courseware created in the “Learning Culture” of the Twenty-First Century? (Because we all know that 40% of our workforce does not assimilate information written beyond a 4th grade reading level, it is critical that the training solutions you purchase are: a) video- or simulation-based and, b) have optional full word-for-word audio available for less-fluent readers.)

Have your programs been submitted to a “Reading Level” analysis? (You should expect that the vendor’s answer refers either to the Flesch-Kincaid and/or the Flesch Reading Ease score. You would like the vendor’s answer to indicate that the written language used in their courseware tests out close to a 4th grade reading level.)

How did you produce the video scenes used in your training programs? (The vendor should be able to assure you that the video was shot in real plant environments, using real plant workers and real plant equipment in order to simulate what your workforce will actually see later when they’re on-the-job.)

Of course, there are other important design factors to consider when making your evaluations but, for the moment, the above six will give you a very good idea of the capability of a training vendor’s courseware to successfully fit into a TQM/JIT environment.

More on Wednesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning
www.itclearning.com/blog/ (Mondays & Wednesdays)