Dear Workforce We Are Beginning a New Training Program. How Do We Avoid Mistakes?

April 14, 2005
Dear Cautious:
It is vitally important to use a good instructional design model--with built-in checks and balances--to prevent most mistakes from occurring in the first place. That being said, some of the major mistakes involve:
  • Failing to confirm that training is, in fact, a viable way to help address an identified performance issue (simple policy enforcement or improved incentives might be the answer)
  • Neglecting to identify and involve all decision-makers and stakeholders from the get-go
  • Misinterpreting the true learning needs of the audience
  • Not confirming the accuracy of learning objectives before moving forward with subsequent design steps
  • Assuming that traditional classroom training or e-learning is the way to go (overlooking mentoring, coaching, blended learning, etc.)
  • Including learning activities that do not directly support the attainment of learning objectives or "turn off" learners
  • Failing to develop a transfer of learning strategy as part of the design process
  • Developing a transfer of learning strategy that is limited to post-training activity instead of before, during and after training
  • Preparing an evaluation strategy that doesn't go beyond the typical audience-reaction sheets
  • Failing to identify and address constraints on any and all aspects of the training project, from design to development to implementation to evaluation to ongoing revision/maintenance
  • Neglecting to include dry runs and pilots as part of the evaluation strategy
I could go on, but I think that's a fairly decent list of major mistakes.
Another major problem involves the hiring of outside expertise. Before you invite private consultants in:
  • Know how the training program supports your organization's strategic plan
  • Define the purpose of the training and the audience to be trained (i.e., total number, geographic locations, likes/dislikes)
  • Specify what learners are expected to know, do and feel as a result of the training
  • List likely constraints
  • Get the blessing of your project's decision-makers and key stakeholders
The better prepared you are, the easier it will be to answer questions posed by outside professionals, and to ask them the right questions up front--all vital to hiring the most appropriate training partner.
There must be hundreds of minor mistakes that could be made when planning a training program. Don't sweat them as much. If you can avoid the major snafus, the minor ones are easily managed.
SOURCE: Frank Troha,Frank Troha Instructional Design and Development Consulting, Port Chester, New York, June 2, 2004.
LEARN MORE:A Simple, Proven Way to Design Any Kind of Training.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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