Training matters. The quality of businesses' educational initiatives can determine how quickly fresh hires and existing employees adjust to new tasks and positions. Poor training programs may result in greater downtime and less productivity, while highly effective ones may do just the opposite.
So, the question many business owners ask themselves is this: How can I create an online training program that does everything I need it to do? While developing effective educational courses can be difficult, the undertaking can ultimately be broken down into a 10-step process.
1. Understand the target
Who is your training program designed for? Recent graduates with no prior experience? New recruits who have held positions at similar jobs? Long-time employees who are being promoted? By understanding the target population of your training initiatives, you will be better equipped to create relevant and useful programs.
2. Know what you expect from trainees
Businesses need to have set expectations for each employee. If they don't know the responsibilities of the roles they are trying to train people to fill, then they can't create initiatives that effectively teach people how to do their jobs.
3. List the skills needed to perform tasks
Once businesses have identified what they expect from employees in certain positions, they can determine what skills are needed to complete the jobs. For example, if a worker is in charge of moving things off and on a conveyor belt, a degree of manual dexterity is involved.
4. Select the skills to be taught
After developing a comprehensive list of skills, companies can create programs that nurture these abilities in trainees. More often than not, employees will need a number of skills to successfully complete a job, so training initiatives should revolve around core skill sets.
5. Develop modules around skills
The first four steps fall under the broad category of task analysis, and the latter six into design and development. Once companies have discovered the skills that need to be taught, they should develop educational teaching modules around these abilities.
6. Expand modules
After designing suitable training units, businesses should expand upon them. Note factors such as instructional objectives, descriptions of training methods, potential exercises, delivery methods and other logistics necessary to executing these modules.
7. Keep it real
Training exercises and other components of training can help provide knowledge to new hires, but programs should always bring these concepts back to reality. Trainees need to know how they will apply the skills to their work at the company.
8. Generate guidelines
New hires aren't the only people who have to go through training programs. Leaders and managers need to be able to facilitate these courses and conduct any exercises that go along with them. Successful training programs are as much about content as they are about the people who deliver the courses.
9. Test the initiatives
Remember that training is not a “set it and forget it” process. Just because you've developed a course, that doesn't mean you're finished. Try it out once and see how successful it is at accomplishing your objectives. Develop metrics so you can quantify the results and identify specific parts that work or need improvement.
10. Revise and Improve
After initial testing, look for ways to improve your training initiatives. Ditch wasteful or uninformative modules and improve or enhance ones that need to be clarified. Nothing is sacred when it comes to online training, and you should be willing to make the necessary changes to create the most effective training programs.