Trainings are activities that are conducted to impart learning to the trainees. Important for the success of any activity is its planning. The Training Design Process is a systematic approach for developing training programs. The following figure explains the design of the training program in depth. Proper understanding of need for Training would help in clear indication of the problems that the training need to solve, the skills gaps it requires to fill, the behaviors it need to mend and the learning that it should impart, plus the necessary changes to the business it should make.
How to Design an Effective Training Event
Trainings are activities that are conducted to impart learning to the trainees. Important for the success of any activity is its planning. The Training Design Process is a systematic approach for developing training programs. The following figure explains the design of the training program in depth.
Step 1: Training Need Analysis
Need is the root to organizing any business activity. Understanding the need to conduct a program helps in clear formulation of objectives desired to be achieved. Proper understanding of need for Training would help in clear indication of the problems that the training need to solve, the skills gaps it requires to fill, the behaviors it need to mend and the learning that it should impart, plus the necessary changes to the business it should make. For every one of the above reasons for training, the need assessment would be different, for instance In case of Skills Shortage, the need assessment would analyze the current skill level of the individuals.
Step 2: Readiness for Training
One of the common enemy of the development professionals entrusted with the job of training staff is the lack of readiness on part of the trainees, mostly in the form of lack of motivation and negative attitude towards the training programs.
Step 3: Creating a Learning Environment
Before explaining how to create a learning environment it is off utmost importance to understand what is environment. Environment involves everything in a place where people work. A Good working environment would require both tangible and intangible resources, furnished offices to support from the line manager and top management. Conducive Environment is key to impart learning to the trainees. In order to create a better learning environment the key is the degree of empowerment one give to the training participants. Learning environment extends beyond the training room. What happens in the participant's work environment before the training starts and after they return to their job is at least, perhaps even more, important than what happens inside the training room.
The following are key activities in creating a better learning environment
- Participants' managers contributing to the initial needs analysis and training design.
- Participants' managers briefing participants about "What is in it for them" and debriefing after the training.
- Participants' managers clarifying participants' roles and responsibilities.
- All key stakeholders agreeing meaningful behavioral and performance objectives.
- Trainer and participants' managers setting up effective performance feedback systems.
- Participants' managers allowing participants the opportunity to apply the new skills through provision ofadequate resources and support.
- Trainer and participants' managers providing follow-up coaching in the workplace.
In order to create a learning environment, an initiative that could be fruitful is establishment of Intra and Inter Departmental Learning Community/Groups, where people could share what they have learnt, how they have learnt, how they could apply the learning, how to solve the problems in application of learning.
Step 4: Ensuring Transfer of Training
Failing to apply the skills learnt is loss of time and money, Trainees should be able to transfer their learning to work place, and be able to change the previous working norms with new skills, behavior for which the training took place. Ensuring transfer of training contents to job is a coordinated effort, where apart from the individual the managers/top management play a key role. Providing all necessary means/resources plus supporting mistakes/errors of the individual is key to successful transfer of learning, and to witness necessary changes in the employee and business performance. As for the individual/trainee he/she needs to analyze and assess situation where to apply the learning from the training.
Step 5: Developing an Evaluation Plan
Developing an evaluation plan is the assessment of the success of the training event, if the training program did actually achieved its outcomes. Prime importance in developing the evaluation plan is keeping in sight the Objectives of the training program. it is very important that motive of carrying out the evaluation is set right at the start, Evaluation should be to Assess the training program, if it provided the learning it was meant to, Will it improve performance, will it result in the necessary changes envisioned before the training.
The Evaluation plan must have the following ingredients
- The scope (Who will be the part of the Evaluation), and objectives of the evaluation.
- Who will be involved in developing and managing the evaluation process and how they can be engaged in the process, but it is important to make sure that bias in evaluation is not allowed.
- What will be evaluated, which data will need to be collected, who will provide it, and how and when it will be collected
Step 6: Selecting Training Method
Successful learning involves careful selection of learning methods for the trainees, Learning Methods shall be selected based on the learning style, Objectives of the training event and the learning environment. It is stressed that learning styles shall be taken into account when deciding on a particular training delivery mode. It is important for achieving success in learning that learning method preferences are taken into account. For the learning event after assessing the learning styles preferences of the learners, the learning methods shall be selected, it’s always a good idea to take into account all different type of learning styles and make use of different methods appealing to different styles of learners. For instance Lecture for Aural learners, practical demonstration for kinesthetic learners. The Handouts/Slides with other written material for Read/Write and for Visual Learners images could be distributed among the participants.
It is asserted that Different People learn different things in different ways, which refer to different learning styles for different individuals and in order to make the learning event successful it’s off prime importance to consider different styles of the participants. To assess the learning styles of the participants VARK learning styles questionnaire developed by Neil D. Fleming in 2006 (http://www.vark-learn.com) could be utilized.
Step 7: Monitoring and Evaluating the Program
Monitoring involves checking on the program if its running according and in line with the set standards and if it requires any modifications, Monitoring shall be a constant activity and shall be made more reflective, as it would result in learning that would further enhance the program efficiency and effectiveness. The most renowned model for training evaluation is Kirkpatrick Model having 4 levels.
Levels of Kirkpatrick Model
Level 1: Reaction
Measure how participants react to training, and is referred to as Satisfaction with the training event.
Level 2: Learning
It is the assessment of improvement in knowledge, skills and attitudes.
Level 3: Behavior
Behavior evaluation is the extent to which the trainees applied the learning and changed their behavior, and this can be immediately and several months after the training, depending on the situation.
Level 4: Results
Results evaluation is the effect on the business or environment resulting from the improved performance of the trainee.
Designing and Delivering Training by David Simmonds (1st Edition)
Training and Development by Raymond A. Noe (5th Edition)