Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Designing a training program

In the previous post, I covered the process that one needs to follow for conducting a Training Needs Analysis. If you are familiar with the instructional design workflow, the next step after ananysis, is design. O in this post we will look at the process that a training professional needs to follow for designing a training program.

The main purpose of the design phase is two fold:
  1. Create the overall program plan/schedule
  2. Create the program development guidelines
Designing a training program is a very different cup of team when compared to analyzing a training need. While analysing you will be more concerned with the data, is it correct, is it all there, what does it mean etc. The design phase is in stark contrast as it is a very creative process. It builds upon the analysis done previously and uses the information of the training needs, audience profile, and the knowledge of various training strategies and techniques to create a blue print of the program structure.

It is very important to realise that creating a good training design is like making a work of art. It is a highly creative process, and is more often than not requires a lot of brainstorming. It is a very iterative process as there are constant Starts and Stops, blocks, backtracking, fast forwarding, and freezing involved. During all of this chaos and confusion it is important to remember that you are working like an artist, and all artists know that chaos and confusion sometimes go hand in hand with art and creativity. You will also need to trust that your analysis has prepared you to bring together the varied training strategies into a coherent training program.

Anyways, you can use the following steps to take you through the design phase. Once again I hope this helps.

  1. Create the program guidelines
    • You will need to define the program guidelines in terms of goals, objectives, subject matter, assessment plans, and the mode of delivery
  2. Decide if the training program needs to be created internally, or can it be outsourced
    • You will need to evaluate if the expertise to develop this program is available internally, or would you need to outsource it and also the costs involved
  3. Next you need to design the "Instructional events" and "Instructional flow" for the training program
    • Your instructional events can be broadly categorized into prework, in-program, postwork, and support events
    • the creation of instructional flows allows you to bring your instructional events together
  4. Next, you need to create a design blueprint
    • You will need to select, sequence, and create a timeline of the Instructional events and flows
  5. Convert the blueprint into a development guideline
    • Guidelines are specifications that lay the groundwork on which writers, software developers, and graphic designers will use to develop training modules, sestions and learning events
  6. Flesh out the project plan created during the analysis phase
    • You will now add more specific milestones to the project plam, identify specific people who will work on this program, and specify budgets
  7. Finally, create a design document
    • This document will summarize the findings of the design phase and should be used to present to the decision makers as a progress report
In my career, I have always found the design phase to be the most exciting and the most rewarding phase in the life cycle of creating a training program. Personally, if you ask me this is the most important and the most influential phase in the life cycle.

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