Last month, I discussed choosing a training method. In that commentary, I suggested that you choose a method that would be effective. This month, we take a quick look at what “effective” means, and one approach to creating training that gets the job done.
To Develop Effective Training, Start at the Beginning
What does it mean for training to be effective?
I’ve recently finished Cathy Moore’s Map It: The Hands-On Guide to Strategic Training Design. Moore has developed a training design method she calls action-mapping—it starts with the business goal, and then designs activities that focus on enabling her audience to achieve that goal.
Define your goal in relation to your target audience.
One of the things that always impresses me about Moore’s work is the careful attention she pays to the target audience. She’s not designing solutions for K-12 or university-level audiences who are building knowledge for the future. Nor is she designing for the aspirational learner who wants to expand their horizons. She focuses specifically on changing behavior in the workplace.
Confirm that training is the right solution.
There are several ramifications to this approach. Her training doesn’t include anything that doesn’t contribute to changing behavior—she focuses on what people need to do, not what they need to know. With a focus on a change in behavior, she even asks whether training is the right way to achieve the goal. Would a job aid or a modification of an administrative procedure be more effective?
Match your training approach with your goals and target audience.
And if it’s determined that training is really, honestly, the way to change behavior, then what method will be most effective? Rote memorization? Highly unlikely. She’s not working with people who need to pass a test. Well-designed scenarios? Quite possibly. Scenarios allow people to practice applying knowledge, not practice recalling it.
So, what does it mean for training to be effective? For Moore’s target audience, it’s a laser-tight focus on behavior change, and, if training is appropriate, most likely a scenario-based approach.
What Does Creating Effective Training Mean for You?
Your focus may be different.
The important thing is for you, like Moore, to identify the goal that you need to achieve and then design your solution with an intense focus on that goal—recognizing that the solution may, in fact, include methods other than training.
Oh, and Moore’s book? Buy it, read it, absorb it.
Even if the specific case she engages with—changing behavior in a business-oriented, adult-learning environment—doesn’t apply to you, you will find something in there that you’ll be able to put to good use.
Do you find this approach helpful as you plan your training? What approaches have you used? Let us know in the comments!
Until next time,
Dr. Kevin Gumienny (Bio)
Microassist Senior Learning Architect
For an anecdotal look at choosing the right goals, see our CEO’s post on Training Metrics that Matter: Thoughts from a West Texas Road Trip.
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This commentary originally appeared in our March 2018 Learning Dispatch newsletter. Use the form on this page to subscribe to the Learning Dispatch for monthly learning insights, resources, and thought leadership for learning and development!
“Bullseye” image credit: Public Domain