Lack of competence can become a serious bottleneck in business processes, and that’s why ongoing training and upskilling of workers are a must. An effective learning and development program helps employees hone skills that enable them to perform daily tasks and overcome future challenges.
This step-by-step guide addresses the process of L&D program preparation and provides useful tips for you to achieve training objectives. So, without further ado, let’s start.
Step 1. Identify learners’ needs
While it’s not hard to guess that new hires will need instructions on how to use equipment and perform daily duties, revealing tenured employees’ flaws might be more difficult. Think of reasons for their underperformance, or what sorts of tasks they might struggle to deal with at work. There is always space for improvement, and you can refine results when workers possess relevant knowledge.
Step 2. Research your audience
To get a better understanding of how to train employees, analyze their demographics. To be more specific, learners’ ages can give you a clue as to how tech-savvy they are. Their occupation might indicate the way that they prefer to learn – for example, people who often travel for business would rather study using their smartphones.
Also, keep in mind that different groups of people have different approaches to learning: some need more visual data, others perceive information better when watching a video, and so on. Study your audience and you will get a lot of useful insights that will help you create an effective training program.
To get to know your learners’ personas, answer a few questions:
- What are their positions in the company?
- What are their abilities, learning styles, computer literacy skills, etc.?
- Are there any learners with disabilities?
- How well do they know the subject and whether they received relevant training previously?
Step 3. Set real goals
Your ultimate objective is to provide employees with knowledge and develop the skills they need to perform their work properly. Shape these competencies into clear learning goals. For example, if you want your sales professionals to close more deals, the goal might be “Train sales reps to apply specific techniques and increase sales by 10% in a month.”
Goals should be attainable in a fairly short timeframe because there’s nothing more motivating than seeing one’s own success. Ideally, you should dedicate each course to a particular skill, letting learners grasp knowledge step by step.
Step 4. Design the program map
Now, when your analysis is ready and you know the exact goals of your training program, it’s time to decide on what sections your program will include. For the educational process to be efficient, keep the program’s structure clear and logical. Make sure that learners will grasp information step by step, moving from simpler subjects to more complicated ones.
For example, if you want to launch a training program on sales and persuasion skills for newly hired sales managers, it could include the following courses:
- Anatomy of a sales call
- Questioning techniques
- Handling objections
- Needs versus wants
- Closing techniques
Step 5. Create content
Once the training program is outlined, you can start creating courses. While working on content, consider the four phases of the learning process, as laid out by Dave Meier in The Accelerated Learning Handbook:
- Preparation. Arouse learners’ interest in the course by explaining the importance of training and how new skills will help them in work and life. Keep it brief – no one likes boring introductions.
- Presentation. Serve educational content in a comprehensive and engaging way. Retain learners’ attention with visuals, provide clear examples of complex notions, and consider everybody’s learning style.
- Practice. All your training efforts will be in vain if learners don’t integrate new knowledge into their work routine. Help people grasp information better by having them take quizzes and perform interactive practical tasks. Such things as mind maps, storylines, and mnemonic strategies are also helpful.
- Performance. For the new skills to be fixed in learners’ minds, they should be used in their daily routines right away. Provide post-training tasks, create training handouts for course graduates, and find ways to remind them of newly-obtained information.
With Meier’s recommendations in mind, you can decide which types of content would fit each learning phase better. We have already mentioned how crucial it is to keep students engaged, so don’t overload them with monotonous video lessons or too much reading. A good training program should include different types of activities.
Make your L&D program diversified by using interactive courses, screencasts, video lectures, role-play simulations, quizzes, etc. Does it sound complicated? Well, there’s no need to master different kinds of software and scramble between platforms – all these types of content can be created with a single eLearning authoring tool like iSpring Suite. This app is a no-brainer to use because it’s integrated into PowerPoint, so you don’t have to learn how to navigate a new interface.
Step 6. Make final edits
Before releasing your L&D program, ask subject matter experts (SMEs) or front-line managers to evaluate it. You will need someone to look at your program and training modules with a critical eye – that will allow weak spots to be fixed before your educational program goes live. Professionals can help you add expertise and highlight aspects that learners should pay particular attention to.
Step 7. Assemble your program in an LMS
Now, when your program is ready, the easiest way to serve it up is with the help of eLearning platforms for corporate training. A learning management system (LMS) has many significant advantages:
- You can arrange courses in full-fledged training programs or so-called learning tracks that allow you to drip-feed content in the necessary order.
- All materials are stored and distributed in a single place, so there’s no need to switch between platforms.
- LMSs come with workflow automation features, such as collecting feedback and generating learning progress reports, which makes the training process less time-consuming.
Once you upload and structuralize your content in an LMS, you can enroll selected employees into your training program.
L&D programs are a perfect way to empower employees with the knowledge and skills they need to perform well.
Hopefully, this guide will help you create a fulfilling program that enables learners to apply knowledge in their real life, and not just memorize it.