The role of training in a corporate environment is to equip the employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to stay up to speed with recent trends and add value to their assignments. However, training content developers face a huge challenge in making training effective.
Training is a 5-stage process comprising assessment, motivation, design & development, delivery and evaluation, as explained below. Furthermore, it is a popular notion that whether it is instructor-led training or an e-learning course, the effectiveness of the training content depends on the quality of training content development strategies.
Understanding whether training can help achieve the organisation’s needs and mandates will ensure that investing in a training programme will be beneficial. The first stage of an effective training process involves assessing an organisation’s training needs and the resources available to meet those needs. The assessments can be of four types, as explained below.
The profile of the potential learners will impact the training. Therefore, it becomes necessary to assess their relevant characteristics, such as their current skills, preferable training modes, language, culture, job functions, competency needs, learning motivation, and likely available time for learners to participate in the training.
Organisations developing training courses for employees also impact the effectiveness of the training. The common elements for assessment may include policies, culture, structure, readiness, and available resources. Understanding the organisation's profile will help customise the training course to align with its vision, goals, and objectives.
Quality of Instructors
Review the instructors' profiles to ensure a successful training course. The instructors must be well-suited, knowledgeable, and competent to train learners. In the e-learning modules, the narrator's voice, clarity, volume and speed of speech, and alignment with visuals will impact the training. Organisations must, therefore, carefully consider the quality of instructors.
Lastly, it is crucial to understand the quality of the environment in which the learners will undertake the training. It will help the organisations address related issues before the training delivery.
Some training programmes need to inhibit more motivation to increase participation and achieve the desired outcomes. It is worth noting that the motivation is not limited to the learners only. The instructors or online training content developers must feel motivated to present high-quality training. Managers and supervisors must be motivated to support learners. An organisation can adopt various strategies to encourage learners, instructors and supervisors.
Increasing Learner Motivation
The strategies that motivate learners include providing realistic expectations for training, recognising training completion in the form of certificates or other incentives, offering collaborative learning and application opportunities, and introducing the latest technology to promote learning as a fun exercise.
Increasing Instructor Motivation
The strategies that motivate instructors include involving instructors in deciding the subject matter, target audience and class size, offering feedback, recognising value added and additional efforts, and basing evaluation on the popularity of the course or number of participants.
Increasing Manager Motivation
The strategies that motivate supervisors include providing them opportunities to develop similar skills, recognising managers and supervisors for the successful participation of their team in training, and incorporating newly achieved skills in performance reviews.
Design & Development
A well-designed training programme tailored to target learners' needs has an easy-to-understand structure and adheres to a planned duration. This stage is crucial in ensuring the successful delivery of a training programme. There are multiple ways to approach the design and development of a training programme. Agile methodology helps organisations follow an iterative process to test and improve the programme, thereby increasing training effectiveness.
This stage has three sub-stages, as described below.
Under this sub-stage, organisations can determine desired outcomes of the training programme, target audience, appropriate training formats, strategies and technologies, and training length. The marketing team can simultaneously develop a marketing plan to create a buzz about the new training programme. The organisation can also arrange testing and demonstration sessions for a more collaborative approach while designing the training programme.
Development of Training Materials and Content
Training content development strategies are highly influential in learners' engagement in the training programme. Organisations must use various training methods and techniques to enhance learner retention.
Planning For Evaluation
Developing an evaluation strategy at the planning stage will help organisations ensure continuous assessment of the training programme and its effectiveness. Evaluation throughout the process results in better insights for the future development of training programmes.
The preparatory stages of assessment, motivation, design and development culminate in the delivery stage of the training process. At this stage, the learners interact and engage with the training programme. The retention and application of the new knowledge and skills by the learners in their day-to-day assignments measure the success of training delivery.
This stage comprises clear communication with the learners, incorporating aspects of active learning and acknowledgement of learner feedback to enhance the impact of knowledge and skills on the learners.
The final stage of the training process is the evaluation. The organisations must be open to identifying both success factors, as well as the limitations of the training programme. Evaluation can be of two types - process evaluation and outcome evaluation.
Here, the focus is on all training components. Process evaluation measures the performance of the training development and delivery process. The organisations measure the quality and performance of each training component under this method.
Here, the focus is on how well the learner understands and retains newly-gained knowledge and skills. Outcome evaluation focuses on the effect of training on learners and organisations. The training development managers can measure the results against the organisation's objectives to ascertain whether the training was successful.
To improve training efforts, all learners and respective teams must be aware of the evaluation results. Organisations can report the results through fact sheets, learning management systems, scorecards or dashboards. The evaluation data will also enable organisations to inform training decisions.
The training process is complicated and needs meticulous planning to achieve the desired outcomes. If delivered effectively, each training session will offer insight into the training programme's success factors and areas of improvement. Such information enables organisations to upgrade their training development strategies and sustain the relevance of training employees in the corporate world.