YOU, THE BUYER, part 2

“Readability Review”

December 14, 2015

Six years ago, I wrote a series of blogs designed to aid the buyer in navigating the purchasing process. With new edits to bring them up-to-date, here they are again —- written from your point of view. This one is Part Two, the “readability review.”

Ever hear of the Flesch-Kincaid readability tests?

There are two of them: The Flesch Reading Easiness and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level tests — both freely available to you in Microsoft Office Outlook and Microsoft Office Word.

They use the same core measures: word length and sentence length. It’s the latter test that should concern you when making a training purchase decision.

National studies agree that nearly half of our workforce does not assimilate anything written beyond a 4th grade reading level. And, even more disturbing is the fact that only slightly more than one-third of our high school graduates can comprehend and form opinions from what they read.

Here’s an illustrative story. Some time ago the CEO of a major automobile manufacturer did an internal study and discovered that the written procedures and communications being used by his company were the cause of many plant accidents and inefficiencies. Further analysis revealed that the problem was a result of two things: the procedures and communications were being written, for the most part, by college educated engineers and that much of his workforce had difficulty in reading comprehension.

Obviously, there was a disconnect between the two groups.

So, he ordered that every document in his corporation be re-written to a 6th grade reading level. Only after this project failed to make much improvement in plant efficiencies did he publicly state that he should have required a 4th grade reading level.

What does all this mean to you?

Well, when making your training purchasing decisions it would serve you well to ask the vendor what reading level test had been applied to his products.

Unfortunately, I would bet that he’ll give you a blank stare.

“Never heard of such a thing,” he’ll likely say.

This will tell you all you really need to know.

That vendor understands very little about the learning process. He’s only in the business of taking your money. His products are not designed to improve the skills level of your workforce nor add to your company’s bottom line.

Knowledgeable corporations and the U.S. Department of Defense require either the Reading Easiness test or the Grade Level test before purchasing any written training material. So should you!

More on Wednesday – – –

— 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.)