How to Plan Effective Training - It's More Than Just Content
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How to Plan Effective Training - It's More Than Just Content

by Leigh-Ann Zaharewich

Planning for training takes more than pulling information together to create content. There is much more beyond that. Having conversations with constituents will ensure that the training is effective.


Does your company have a need for internal training? Perhaps on a new procedure, product or software? Regardless of the topic, planning for training is not just about pulling the content together. Planning also includes asking the right questions of the right constituents. There is planning to be done for everything that happens up to the training, during (of course) and after training.

To get started, here are a few questions to ask the person who is requesting the training:

  • What do you need to see after this training? What new behaviors will be noticeable? What knowledge will be applied to work? What new skills will people have after the training?
  • What challenges could arise and how should they be handled? Will there be scheduling issues that need to be addressed? What about people who are unable to attend? Will there be any resistance? How can we mitigate those challenges before or as they arise?
  • What should 'not' be part of this training? Is there any topic or outcome that will be addressed outside of the training?
  • What do we need to know about the learning participants? Are they overworked and thus less open to training? Is there any conflict within the group? Are there any difficult personalities to be prepared for? Is there anyone in the group we can leverage as a SME (subject matter expert)?
  • How can we plan, should we not get the results expected? If the post tests reveal that people are not 'getting it', what should be the next step? Will we offer refresher training on a regular basis?
  • What technology will be available to plan, deliver or measure the effectiveness of the training? What questions should be asked in the post course survey? What will we do with that information?

You will notice that these questions focus on the context of the training, rather than the content. So often I see organizations focus only on the content. While important, there is a lot more to think about than just the topics being trained. These questions can and most often should also be asked of other constituents, such as the managers of the participants. You may also talk with the people who work upstream (hand work off to) and downstream (receive work from) the trainees. The more input gained before training begins, the more likely it is that the training will be successful.

As with all investments in business, the planning stage is critical. Jumping right in to the delivery of training can be costly if a plan is not carefully thought through. It also sets the trainer up for success, whether they are an internal SME or an external resource.

Do you have the trainer/s lined up to conduct the training? This article helps you evaluate internal SMEs and whether they will be effective trainers: http://www.alignedperformance.com/turning-subject-matter-experts-expert-trainers/

This article is an excerpt from my course, "The Trainer's Edge". This course is designed for subject matter experts who are being asked to train inside their companies. To learn about this course, visit http://www.alignedperformance.com/train-the-trainer/.

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