Every organization that offers training implicitly believes in the value of staff training programs. They believe, when done properly, an organization can benefit immensely from learning and development. But a belief alone is rarely sufficient to justify substantial business investment. While effective corporate training programs can lead to increased employee productivity, increased profitability, happier workforce and decreased inefficiencies, many learning and development organizations fail to adequately demonstrate the correlation between training and these results. The keys to proper staff training and aligning business results to training initiatives are the learning goals and objectives for such programs. Without proper goals and objectives, effective training cannot take place, let alone be proven successful.
In order to create perfect corporate training programs, it is important to formulate effective training goals and objectives at the beginning. This may not be a walk in the park for most training managers as it requires a number of things to be considered, such as the need for training and the company’s objectives. So it is important to take your time in creating great learning goals and objective before setting out to create a perfect training program. Only once you properly align business goals to training initiatives can effective training take place and be proven as such.
Learning Goals, Objectives and Training Needs Assessment
Before setting learning goals and objectives, it is important to carry out a training needs assessment. More often than not when the managers of an organization detect a problem with the workforce they rush to create training programs to solve the problem and make many assumptions along the way. Instead of making assumptions, managers can set better training goals and objectives by working with learning and development to do a need assessment because it:
- Helps establish the knowledge gap that needs to be filled in the workforce
- Helps establish organization’s goals and objectives that the training will support
- Helps determine what the employees need to be able to perform in order for the organization to meet its objective
- Helps determine the training activities that will be most effective
- Helps determine the learning characteristics of the workforce and how to effectively train them
Sometimes the issue isn’t as obvious as you think. A needs assessment can provide the opportunity to ask question you never thought to, and uncover issues you did not know were there, and plan learning activities to address all issues that are impacting performance.
Why do Training Programs Fail?
One of the major reasons why training programs fail is the lack of well-defined training goals and objectives. However, there are a number of other factors that may hamper the effectiveness of staff training programs. These factors are:
- Lack of incentives for the training
- Objectives and goals mismatch
- Lack of feedback during and after training
- Poor training procedure and process
- Lack of proper learning materials
How to Create a Perfect Training Program
The following are the major steps you should take in creating a perfect training program:
- Identify the organization’s goal
Don’t start creating a training program if you are not sure about the organization’s goals and objectives. Before embarking on the major task of creating a program’s objective it is important for you first to establish the goals and objectives of an organization. This may sound like a no-brainer, but there are organizations without well-defined objectives. For such organizations ensure that you define the objectives before setting the training goals. This will go a long way in helping create better training goals, which will in turn play a key role in the success of your training program. For example, if the objective of your organization is to create a new product then the training goal will be to train your staff on how to create this new product.
- Observe all the Adult Learning Principles
Staff training addresses the need for adult learning. Adults learn differently from teenagers and children. So it is important to consider the learning needs of adults when developing a staff training program for your organization. If your training program addresses all the learning principles for adult, then your program is likely to be more effective. Some of the principles you should address are:
- Self-directed learning
- Respect for personal opinion, work experience and existing knowledge
- Interest in relevant training
- Pro-task oriented training
- Respect for everyone
- Formulate Learning Objectives
Another important step in creating a perfect training program is creating learning objectives. Learning objectives are usually statements that describe what must be achieved by the training program. As such they guide everything else that takes place during the training. To formulate effective learning objectives, it is important for you to carry out a task analysis to determine the kind of tasks that the learner must perform in order for the organization to reach its objectives. This is important in developing learning objectives that fill the skills gap in the organization. You should also think about the most effective training activities that can help meet the organization’s goals. This will guide in developing better objectives for the learning program. Workers characteristics should also help you determine the right learning objectives.
Once you have an idea of the perfect objectives that can address the training needs in your organization, it is important for you to make those objectives SMART. Learning objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, reasonable and time bound.
- Create Sound Training Materials
Once you have your learning objectives, it is now time to create the training materials. These materials should carry all the information that learners will require during learning. If they to be used as job aids the materials should be in good shape and operational. The teaching materials can be in the form of word documents, PowerPoint presentations, flip chart, posters, videos or elearning modules.
With all these things in place, it is possible to create a training program that is aligned to business needs and well received by learners, and that can be evaluated and improved over time.