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The No Bad Training Zone: Who needs Needs Assessment?

magnify.jpgShort answer – you do.

How many times have you been ambushed with this scenario: “We need a new workshop on so-and-so for the March POA meeting!” or, “We need a new training piece on such-and-such competitor!” or, “We need to jazz up Day 1 of New Hire Training!”

Now, maybe you do need something along those lines, or maybe not. But a knee-jerk suggestion isn’t the same as a needs assessment, is it?

Here are 5 elements, some or all of which may be woven into a training needs assessment:

User analysis: who are those that are to receive the training, and what is their current level of knowledge/development?

Work analysis: what are the tasks to be performed, and how will the training address that?

Context analysis: what the business needs being addressed by the training?

Content analysis: what are the materials being used, for training and for the job at hand?

Constraint analysis: what limiters (time, budget, personnel, technology, political roadblocks) will necessarily shape how an intervention can be developed and deployed?

Assuming that the need is, in fact, a training need (might it be a coaching/performance support need?), then it becomes a question of designing the intervention based on the gaps identified, deciding on the best development course for the intervention, and determining the cost/benefit of that training intervention.

Bad training can occur through “reactive mode” interventions – doing something because somebody said we need to do something. You stand a far better chance of success by doing a needs assessment  before coming up with a training solution  (shameless plug – I can work with you on this task as a consultant, as well as help identify ideal suppliers).

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