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Training Design

These competencies have been adapted with permission from The Institute for Performance and Learning’s Competencies for Training and Development Professionals© as the model and reference standard of practice for workplace learning and development professionals.

TRAINING DESIGN is the start point for developing effective learning. During this stage, we will work with you to determine what are the needs for learning, where are the gaps in understanding and competence, how best to impart the knowledge and skills required, and evaluate the most cost-effective and efficacious learning environment. This is an important first step for us to understand your needs and to establish the collaborative relationship for the work ahead.

1. Identifying the Performance Gaps

Members of your organization, community or profession may need to upgrade their skills for many reasons; new and improved processes, new or updated equipment, promotion possibilities, even self-improvement. Many of these people will have learned through their work experience or having worked in other environments. Some may be new to the environment or have been away from the environment for a period of time.

So, it is important for you to first see if there are any performance gaps and to see how are these gaps are being addressed now. In conducting the analysis of the performance gaps, we will work together to answer these questions.

  • What are the organizational, community or professional results you want to achieve through learning?
  • How can be go about evaluating these results? What are the leading indicators and how can we track them?
  • What tasks and activities do we want people to do - or do differently - after training? In other words, what are the desired performance outcomes?
  • How will we evaluate that these outcomes?
  • What are people doing now? How are they falling short of expectations - or will they potentially fall short in the future?

2. Determining the Causes of Performance Gaps

Once we have identified the performance gaps, now we need to see the causes for these gaps. They can range from inexperience or lack of knowledge and skills on the part of individuals to a lack of clear expectations or instructions. These causes are important to understand as they may lead to solutions other than formal training. Here are questions we will address in the determination of cause.

  • Could any of the following be contributing to performance gaps?
    • Expectations that are unclear or seem unrealistic
    • Feedback that is not immediate or is too late or too general to be effective
    • Tools and resources that are not timely, effective or efficient
    • Consequences that do not support performance
    • Level of skill and knowledge on the part of the performers, including skills for using technology
    • Ability of the performers
  • At the process level, could any of these below affect the performance?
    • Work process or procedures that are too complicated to follow, inefficient or overlapping with other work areas
    • Technology that does not perform as expected or that users may have difficulty in using as intended
  • At the organization level, could any of the following contribute to performance gaps?
    • Organizational structure that does not support performance at the job level
    • Desired performance outcomes that are not aligned with business strategies
    • Desired performance outcomes that are note aligned with vision and values
Based on the response to these questions, we both can see what may be happening to contribute to any performance gaps.

3. Identifying Solutions to Close the Performance Gaps

Now we can begin to develop a clear path to solving the performance gap issues. In some ways, the gaps may be closed by improving organizational design, structure and instructions. It may be simply a better understanding of the basic skills and knowledge required to perform the work. And, it may be a combination of organizational change and formal learning. To ensure we have the best fit of these potential changes, we need to ask the following.

  • Will the skills and knowledge gained through formal learning be sufficient to close the performance gaps?
  • What additional solutions should we consider to close the performance gap, such as; organizational structure changes, changes in policy and guidance, effective on-job feedback, or metrics for evaluating individual performance?
  • What support will be required to implement both formal learning solutions and organizational change?