YOU, THE BUYER PART ONE – The Previewing Process (originally posted in 2009)

December 9, 2015

Six years ago, I posted a series of blogs written to aid the buyer in navigating the purchasing process. So, with new edits to bring them up-to-date, here they are again —- written from your point of view.

More “live to regret it” decisions are made during the buying process than you can probably imagine.

Worse, the wasted money that your company will spend — and, the wasted time your trainees will invest in ineffective training initiatives — will do far more harm than good.

Let’s start with a discussion of the previewing process, a process that is routine with almost all training purchases.

During this initial step in the buying process, one of the biggest of all mistakes is made. And, it’s made time and time again — because the decision makers do not thoroughly grasp the ultimate goal of training initiatives: “To bring less-skilled workers to greater proficiency levels or to cross-train workers who need to move from ‘little knowledge’ to ‘proficiency skills’.”

To accomplish that objective you need to understand the ideal “previewing committee” process. And, that committee should be made up of individuals in your organization who understand learning, plus one content expert.

Unfortunately, many preview evaluations are seldom performed this ideal way. Far too often, the previewing committee is composed exclusively of content experts. A guaranteed way to make the wrong choice!

Content experts, too often, get excited about learning something from the preview that they, themselves, did not already know — totally forgetting the objective of the preview evaluation. And then, mistakenly, endorsing that preview as their number one choice.

Oops! The less-skilled trainees are going to suffer because of those misguided choices made by that content experts committee.

What you need is a committee of individuals who: 1) understand the process of learning; 2) the skill level of the workers to be trained; and 3) the skills required to do the tasks they will be expected to perform. Plus, one content expert to validate the information presented.

Previews should never be evaluated by an exclusive team of content experts simply because those individuals are looking at “information knowledge” and not at “basic skills training requirements for the less-skilled.”

You would be wise to think through your own situation to determine what voices will serve you well. Remember, we’re not playing “Jeopardy” here. We’re attempting to improve skills in order for your workforce to become more contributive to your organization.

You will successfully do that only if your selection committee can recognize the difference between Skills Training (the simulated “Doing” of a task) and non-applicable Information Knowledge which, often, cannot be transferred to the actual job.

More on Monday – – –

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

(This is a personal blog. Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner,, an independent consultant. They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)