Saturday, March 21, 2009

Analysis of the Training Need

More often than not, Training Need Analysis is the most overlooked phase when it comes to creating a training program. In this post, I will try to cover some of the basic concepts that can be used to analyze training needs quickly, efficiently, and effectively.

The first step to starting a Training Needs Analysis is to understand the purpose of the exercise. A Training Needs Analysis exercise should help you answer the following questions:
  1. What is the organization’s need?
  2. Who is the target audience?
  3. Is training a cost effective method of addressing the need?
  4. If yes, then how are you going to train them?

The exercise of finding answer(s) to each of the above questions is called, Training Needs Analysis. Now let us see how we can go about answering these questions. You can follow the below mentioned steps to get the answers for the above-mentioned question:
  1. Before starting the analysis, get an approval from your internal or external customer
    • This helps you in identifying the commitment of the customer, and how strong is the training need
  2. Understand and document the desired performance level
    • This step helps you in identifying the needs and expectations of:
      1. The Organization
      2. The Customer
      3. The Target Audience
  3. Analyze the performance gap between the current and desired performance levels
    • The identification of this gap will help you ascertain if a training intervention is required or not.
  4. If a training intervention is required, then create a project plan
    • Identify the time, budget, and effort required to complete this project
  5. Create a broad level outline of the subject matter
    • This will help in setting the stage for the design phase
  6. Identify the learning needs of the target audience
    • This help in identifying the appropriate learning strategy for the design phase
  7. Finally, document the analysis conducted in a summary report
    • This report will help the customer and the organization get a summary of your findings in the analysis of their training needs

Whenever I have to conduct a Training Need Analysis, I am always reminded of the first time I tried doing it. Based on the identification of the organization’s needs, I ended up creating a project plan without analyzing my target audience. In the very first session I realized, that the supervisors of my target audience should have also been included in the training program. Aah, the good old days of economic boom… when you could afford to make such errors and keep the job…

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