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Some Guidelines for Great Training on your First Day

  1. The Need for a Performance Needs Assessment
  2. Some Essential Tasks
  3. Managing Training
  4. Verify the performance gap and goal of training 
  5. Establish and maintain credibility 
  6. Determine learners’ satisfaction with training 
  7. Creating a Positive Learning Environment
  8. How Adult learners Learn
  9. How to involve learners

What makes one training experience better than another? Effective training can help your staff improve their performance. This section summarizes the tasks that should be completed at each stage of training to ensure an effective training course. If you carry out these tasks, you will have a high-quality training course. Think of these tasks as standards to be achieved or guidelines to be followed.

This section will be useful to anyone who has a role in the management, design, delivery, or evaluation of group-based training.

The Need for a Performance Needs Assessment

There are many factors that affect the performance of staff. It is often hard to know why some staff are not providing high quality services. A performance needs assessment (PNA) will identify performance gaps or problems and give you the information you need to determine what can be done to improve job performance. A PNA is part of a process called performance improvement that is used to solve performance problems.

The purpose of a PNA is to identify performance gaps or problems and determine the most appropriate interventions to improve worker performance.

These are the steps in conducting a PNA:

Define desired performance. Ask, “What is the person expected to do?” “How well is the staff expected to perform?” “Under what conditions?” and “With what frequency?”

Describe actual performance. Focus on the performance of an individual or a group. The difference between the desired performance and the actual performance is the Performance Gap.

Conduct a root cause analysis to find out why there is a performance gap. Gather information from as many people as possible who come in contact with the staff (e.g., staffs, supervisors, customers).

Select the appropriate intervention(s) to improve performance. If the cause of poor performance is deficient knowledge or skills, training is the appropriate intervention.  The information collected in the PNA will be useful for all stages of training. The training manager can use the information to guide the design, delivery, and evaluation of training. The training designer needs to know what knowledge and skills are required to improve performance on the job. The trainer will use the information to help learners achieve the course objectives. The training evaluator must understand the work environment to determine whether training has closed the performance gap.

Some Essential Tasks

Within each stage, there are essential tasks to be completed to progress. Below is a list of the essential tasks.

Managing training

  • Confirm that the performance needs assessment has been conducted and that training will close the performance gap 
  • Plan, acquire, and manage resources to achieve training outcomes 
  • Select the training design team 
  • Establish a monitoring and evaluation strategy 
  • Manage training logistics 
  • Communicate with learners and their supervisors before training 
  • Provide follow-up support for learners and supervisors after training
  • Designing Training

Verify the performance gap and goal of training 

  • Gather background information about the learners and identify the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need to acquire 
  • Identify content resources 
  • Write the learning objectives 
  • Develop the training plan 
  • Develop or adapt training materials 
  • Develop or adapt evaluation instruments
  • Delivering Training

Establish and maintain credibility 

  • Conduct training in a responsive and collaborative way 
  • Create a learning environment where participants feel comfortable and safe 
  • Provide supportive feedback 
  • Use effective communication and presentation skills 
  • Use effective facilitation skills 
  • Provide opportunities for practical application of knowledge and skills 
  • Monitor the process of training and make adjustments, as needed
  • Evaluating Training

Determine learners’ satisfaction with training 

  • Determine whether learners have met the learning objectives by giving and scoring knowledge evaluations 
  • Determine whether learners have met the learning objectives by giving and scoring skill evaluations 
  • Improve training using information from the knowledge and skill evaluations 
  • Monitor and evaluate performance on the job. 
  • Determine the effectiveness of training as an intervention to improve performance 

Creating a positive learning environment

All of us can remember sitting in a classroom listening to lectures and trying to stay awake. The effective trainer is one who can create a positive learning climate. In order to create a positive learning climate, you first need to understand the characteristics of adult learners.

How adult learners learn:

  • Require learning to be relevant 
  • Are highly motivated if they believe learning is relevant 
  • Need participation and active involvement in the learning process 
  • Desire a variety of learning experiences 
  • Desire positive feedback 
  • Have personal concerns and need an atmosphere of safety 
  • Need to be recognized as individuals with unique backgrounds, experiences and learning needs 
  • Must maintain their self-esteem 
  • Have high expectations for themselves and their trainer 
  • Have personal needs that must be taken into consideration 
  • Creating a positive learning climate requires the involvement of learners

How to involve learners:

  • Allow participants to provide input regarding schedules, activities and other events
  • Ask questions and solicit feedback 
  • Brainstorm and encourage discussions 
  • Plan hands-on work, group and individual projects, and classroom activities

 A positive learning climate is created through the use of a variety of learning methods including:

  • Audiovisual aids 
  • Illustrated lectures 
  • Demonstrations 
  • Brainstorming 
  • Small group activities 
  • Group discussions 
  • Role plays and case studies 

The effective trainer helps to create a positive learning climate by using a variety of techniques for providing positive feedback. To provide positive feedback:

  • Give verbal praise either in front of other participants or in private 
  • Use positive responses during questioning 
  • Recognize appropriate skills while coaching 
  • Let the participants know how they are progressing toward achieving learning objectives 

Be sure to treat the participants as individuals. To do this you can:

  • Use  names as often as possible 
  • Involve all participants as often as possible 
  • Treat participants with respect 
  • Allow participants to share information with others 

To maintain the self-esteem of your learners, you can:

  • Reinforce those practices and beliefs embodied in the course content 
  • Provide corrective feedback in an appropriate manner 
  • Provide training that adds to their sense of competence and self-esteem 
  • Recognize your own career accomplishments 

Creating a positive learning climate requires planning and work on the part of the trainer. Using these suggestions, you can help build a positive learning climate that will make your training more fun and effective.

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