January 19, 2015

Some of you will have already spent many years in the training field. You’ve long ago earned your stripes.

Other readers will be new to the training profession. You’re anxious to learn.

Whichever group you are in, however, is faced with the same challenge: “Making the best training initiative choices in order to maximize the learning opportunities for your trainees.”

Today, we’re going to look at the most important considerations you will need to examine before committing your organization to any training initiative.

If you’re going to reach all of your people, you know by now that the training choices you make must be multi-sensory in design. We have discussed many times the absolute necessity of full-motion video (or animations and simulations) plus optional word-for-word audio if you hope to train the 40% of your workforce who do not comprehend anything written above a 4th grade reading level.

In addition to a multi-sensory design, it is also important to analyze the learning objectives demonstrated in the courseware you are evaluating.

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 people you need to train cannot assimilate above a 4th grade reading level? 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 also using good work and safety practice. And if so, does the course you are examining accomplish that objective?

Thirdly, does the course you are evaluating prepare your trainees for the conditions they will encounter on-the-job? Are they armed with the references, illustrations, graphs, and, most importantly, the electronic help desk they will often need? In other words, will your trainees have the “just-in-time training” required when they are actually on-the-job?

Good training objectives identify the desired learning outcomes; are consistent with your company’s goals; and, are specifically meaningful to your specific 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 slick sales presentation.

More on Wednesday – – –

— Bill Walton: co-Founder, ITC Learning
(Mondays & Wednesdays)