How to Create Training Program
These eight-step road maps will help to create more effective training:
- Step 1: Perform a Training Needs Assessment
- Step 2: Keep Adult Learning Principles in Mind
- Step 3: Develop Learning Objectives
- Step 4: Design Training Materials
- Step 5: Develop Your Training Materials
- Step 6: Implementation of Training
- Step 7: Evaluate the Training
- Step 8: Rinse, Lather, and Repeat Any Step When Necessary
Table of Contents
- 1 How to Create Training Program
- 1.1 Step 1: Perform a Training Needs Assessment
- 1.2 Step 2: Keep Adult Learning Principles in Mind
- 1.3 Step 3: Develop Learning Objectives
- 1.4 Step 4: Design Training Materials
- 1.5 Step 5: Develop Your Training Materials
- 1.6 Step 6: Implementation of Training
- 1.7 Step 7: Evaluate the Training
- 1.8 Step 8: Rinse, Lather, and Repeat Any Step When Necessary
Step 1: Perform a Training Needs Assessment
The basic training needs assessment is a four-step process. Those steps are:
Identify a clear business goal that the training supports
Don’t provide training if it’s not clear why you’re doing it, or if it doesn’t directly support a business goal. Business goals include things like increasing revenue and efficiency, decreasing costs and waste, supporting a new product, teaching a new or changed production process, or complying with regulations. For example, a business goal might be to train employees to create a new product.
Determine the tasks workers need to perform
Once the business goal is identified, what do employees have to do if the company is to reach that goal. During this phase, identification of the “performance gap” between what your workers can do now, and what they must be able to do.
To keep with a new product example, the workers might need to know what the new product is, how the product is produced, and (most importantly) the tasks the workers must perform on the job to make the product.
Determine the training activities that will help workers learn to perform the tasks
After identification of what the workers need to do, so one has to identify the training activities that will help them learn to do those tasks. For example, this may include a quick and short explanation of the product, an equally quick and short overview of the production process, and demonstrations mixed with hands-on practice of the tasks they’ll have to perform on the job.
Determine characteristics of workers that will make the training more effective
Finally, consider the characteristics of the workers to determine the type of training that will be most effective for them. In a perfect world, one would cater training to each individual, but that’s not always possible and one may have to consider the average characteristics of the group as a whole.
Consider these kind of things: are they more comfortable with computer-based training or instructor-led training; do they like self-guided or self-paced learning, or would they struggle in that environment; are they youngish or older; are there cultural issues that may factor in; do they learn better from reading, listening, or doing; etc.
And because it’s hard to create one-size training that fits all, consider training that blends different aspects so there is a better chance of reaching everyone.
Step 2: Keep Adult Learning Principles in Mind
The workers who are to be trained are adults, and adults share certain characteristics that make training more effective for them (or less effective if you ignore the characteristics). Training must recognize and respects these adult learning principles, it’s likely to be more effective.
The following are Adult learning principles:
- They Are self-directed
- They come to training with a lifetime of existing knowledge, experience, and opinions
- They are goal-oriented
- They want training that is relevant
- They want training that is task-oriented
- They learn when they see “what’s in it for them”
- They want to be and feel respected
Step 3: Develop Learning Objectives
Before you begin creating any training, it’s critical that you create a list of learning objectives
Learning objectives are a list of things the workers must be able to do after the training is completed. They are the “North Star” that all aspects of your training should be pointed at. Once the learning objectives are created, create content that covers the objective.
In addition, any quizzes, tests, case studies, or hands-on exercises performed during training to evaluate worker’s comprehension of the training should assess only the workers’ understanding of the objectives. And finally, any observation of workers when they’re back on the job to evaluate the effectiveness of the training should also focus on the performance of these objectives.
Learning objectives are the end-all and be-all of your training. Without objectives, you’ve got an out-of-control car without a driver. There are few points that can give an overview of the objectives are as follow:
They Can Address Knowledge, Skills, or Attitudes (KSAs)
A learning objective may address things that learners can “know,” such as how product flows through a machine; skills that learner’s can perform, such as threading materials into a machine; and attitudes that employees can hold, such as the importance of threading materials into a machine properly in order to create the best possible product.
Make them SMART
An objective should have five characteristics, known collectively by the acronym SMART. The objective should be specific, meaning it’s very clearly stated and its meaning is equally apparent to everyone.
It should be measurable, meaning everyone can agree if the learner satisfies it or not. It should be achievable, meaning the learner truly has a chance to satisfy it. It should be relevant, meaning it’s important for the worker’s job. And it should be timebound, meaning it will be clear when the learner must be able to satisfy the objective (typically, after training).
Give them four parts (ABCD)
A learning objective should include four parts, which can be remembered with the letters ABCD. It should include an actor who will perform the objective (the employees you’re training). It should include behaviour that the actor must perform (this behaviour should be stated as a verb that defines the workers’ behaviour, such as “recite” or “turn”).
It should include conditions under which the employees must perform the behaviour (for example, “given a wrench, the employee must…”). And it should include the degree to which the employee must perform the behaviour (for example, “90 times an hour”).
Step 4: Design Training Materials
While designing your materials, keep the following points in mind:
- Remember that it’s important to design before you rush into the next step (development)
- Always focus primarily on the learning needs of employees, and not on what’s easy for your trainers
- Only create training content and assessments that relate directly to learning objectives
- Remember the adult learning principles
- Include as much hands-on practice or simulation as possible: people learn by doing
- Whenever possible, put the employees in control of the learning process (instead of the trainer)
- Do everything possible to let the employees talk and interact with the trainer and with each other during the training
- Make sure there’s plenty of opportunity for feedback during training
- Break training materials up into small “chunks” that are easier to take in and understand
- Order “chunked” training materials in a logical manner—one step that builds on top of another, or chronologically, etc.
- Try to use a “blended learning” approach that includes training in several different formats (computer-based, instructor-led, etc.).
- Try to appeal to a variety of workers’ senses during training—sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste (when appropriate and not dangerous). Sight is by far the most important sense for learning, but adding the others when possible does help.
Step 5: Develop Your Training Materials
Once you’ve got your training materials designed, now’s the time to roll up your sleeves and start developing them. It’s like you’ve written a recipe and are ready to cook the meal.
You may create a variety of training materials using several different tools during this step. Here’s a look at a few options:
- Word, Excel, and similar “Office” programs to create handouts for employees and to create training outlines and notes for the instructor of any instructorled components
- Materials for hands-on elements and/or role-playing elements of the training
- PowerPoint for in-class projections and/or handouts to deliver to employees. Beware of PowerPoint presentations that are nothing but screen after screen of bullet points, however.
- Flip-charts, posters, transparencies, and/or computer-generated graphics for presenting visual materials during training
- E-learning authoring tools such as Articulate Studio and Storyline or Adobe Captivate for creating computer-based e-learning modules
Be creative and mix and match these to best fit the employees’ training needs.
While creating materials, always keep in mind two primary concerns:
- The things that will help your employees learn most effectively
- The learning objectives.
Step 6: Implementation of Training
It may seem obvious, but one of the most critical things to do in this phase is informing the employees that will attend the training. Give them plenty of time in advance so that they can work it into their schedules and complete any necessary pre-training preparation.
One thing to keep in mind is that a learning management system (LMS) can play a big role in helping you during this step. An LMS is a software application used assign, deliver, track, and report on training. If a LMS is being used at work, it’s easy for employees to log in and see the list of training they’ve been assigned.
Many learning management systems even include notification systems that send emails to the workers when new assignments are made or due dates are approaching. In short, an LMS can automate a lot of the clerical, scheduling, and notification procedures.
In addition, you may also have to do things like inform the workers’ supervisor, reserve rooms for training, buy any necessary supplies, work through any scheduling or travelling logistics, and perhaps even have food and drinks available. Get everything in order in advance, so training goes off as smoothly as possible.
Moving forward to the actual training, the implementation can take a variety of forms. It may be classroom instruction; practice opportunities such as role-playing exercises, focus groups, case studies, or small group assignments; on-the-job skillsbased training; the delivery of paper-based hand-outs for individual reading and study; the completion of e-learning modules on a computer; a combination of some or all of these; or more.
If training includes an on-the-job skills-based component, make sure to deploy exactly what the employees must do to demonstrate competence.
Define this in advance, when you’re creating your learning objectives, and don’t leave it unstated or vague. If training includes a classroom instruction component, there are a number of things can be done to make it more productive.
Although the key things involve letting the employees be active participants instead of passive and bored listeners, more mundane things like room temperature, lighting, table and chair set-up, visual aids, and the instructor’s presentation style also play a role.
Step 7: Evaluate the Training
If your goal is to deliver effective training that changes workers’ behaviour on the job—and this SHOULD be the goal—then one needs to confirm that the training was effective. The standard way to do this is to use Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Evaluation.
This method involves evaluating the effectiveness of your training at four different levels. Those four evaluations are:
Employees’ reaction to training
Did the employees like the training? Did they feel like they learned? You can find this out by observing the employees during training, asking their opinions, or handing out surveys. You can hand out paper-based surveys after training if you want, but you may get better results if the survey is online and anonymous.
Employees’ actual learning
Assessments during the training should evaluate the employees’ actual learning of the objectives. This might include simple tests for knowledge issues, or case studies, job simulations, or hands-on exercises for skills and attitudes.
Employee’s post-training job behavior
Are the workers taking the new knowledge/skills/attitudes from training and applying them at work where it counts? Observations of the employees’ on the- job work behaviour will determine this, as will other performance-based metrics.
Quantifiable business results
Did the training result in reaching the desired business goal (i.e., did revenues rise, did costs decrease, was the new product manufactured properly, or were workplace incidents reduced)
Step 8: Rinse, Lather, and Repeat Any Step When Necessary
As mentioned above, one would be if your original training proved to be ineffective at any of the four levels. But you may have to do it again if you get new employees or if the work process changes. But that’s no cause for panic.
Now that you know the method, just work your way through. If you made some errors the first time—maybe you misjudged your employee’s learning needs, misidentified the learning objectives, provided too much information during training, put too little information into job aids, or held an instructor-led training that was dominated by the instructor—just go back and do it better the next time.