Maximize Learning with Training Needs Assessment

Maximize Learning with Training Needs Assessment

Training Needs Assessment is the ticket to a successful training program. It sets the groundwork towards identifying the need of the training and how to achieve the best result through training. There can be times where management may suffer a great deal to find out the actual cause of deficiency. Training Needs Assessment lays a foundation to structure the whole idea of training - where to start, which would be the best way to dig deep into the issues, how to come to a conclusion to begin the process of training, all the answers can be found through training needs assessment.

Why Training Needs Assessment is must?

To explain what Training Needs Assessment exactly is, it is a tool used by the organization to spot if training is needed or not. The truth is, there is no point in investing time, money or energy in providing training where the gaps cannot be identified to reach solution. In simple word, Training Needs Assessment (TNA) is a process of identifying the problem to understand if there is any gap in current performance and organizational objective.

Training needs assessment gives a clear picture on:

  • “What” to ask?
  • “Whom” to ask?
  • “Why” training is needed?
  • “Who” needs training?
  • “What form” of training is needed?

One may often wonder how Training Evaluation and scoping a training project is different from Training Needs Analysis. To spot the difference with the former, the answer lies in the ADDIE model of instructional design. Where ‘A’ stands for ‘Analysis’. Training Needs Assessment is one of the methods to execute the analysis. Whereas, Training Evaluation corresponds with the ‘E’ that acts as a tool to measure training effectiveness.
And scoping of training project, involves identification of requirement for a particular initiative. Whereas, needs assessment is a broader term for an organization, that involves multiple training projects at a time.
To maximize the use of a Training Needs Analysis, three common steps are to be followed by an organization. Starting from collection of data to analyzing those data to bring a solution is the best possible way to lay the foundation of a training process. This will ensure a healthy navigation for an organization to build a proper training for its employee in its own unique way.

Step one: Collecting Data

There are many ways of covering this area. Collection of data is the process of gathering information in relation to existing productivity and performance of the employee on the basis of organizational goals and objectives. Generating proper sets of questionnaire, discussing with the management and subject matter expert are major way to collect the data. By working with different departments like LMS, HR, information regarding employee performance and turnover can be obtained for detailed scrutiny. Also it is important to extract information from the other side, meaning customer feedback, stakeholder’s opinion is a valuable source of structured as well as unstructured information.

Some tips to collect information:

  • Interview with the leaders of departments, L&D team and trainers
  • Face to face interview with individual employees or representative of the group
  • Present format and structure of training program
  • Employee survey – with questionnaires
  • Direct observation in the workplace

Step two: Analyzing Data

Next step after collecting the data, there are various ways to analyses and sorting out the information to locate the issues that need to be resolved. Here are some of the important types of data analysis.

  • Organizational analysis:
    This helps to find out whether or not training is the solution to the organizational objectives. The validity and productivity of the training is discovered here. What the organization is aiming for by providing training? Organizational goal, strategies and objectives are taken as the guide line to brief out the training need.
  • Person analysis:
    Person analysis focuses on the individual learner. Who needs training? What kind of training do they need? What are the areas to focus on while training? These are the few questions that can be answered during the assessment.
  • Performance Analysis:
    It detects whether the performance of employees are meeting the benchmark or not. By analyzing the performance of the departments and individual employee, management can easily come to a conclusion whether or not training is needed, and if needed what the areas of focus?
  • Work /Task Analysis:
    Work analysis gives a brief and exact idea of how an individual employee is performing. Through observation and supervision, detailed information can be achieved. It specifies the major area of improvement in skills and knowledge that are required to achieve the targeted objectives.
  • Training Content Analysis:
    One of the vital part of the training needs analysis is going through the materials, tools and contents that are used during a training program. Whether or not the existing materials are effective or not, whether there is any need of changing and modifying, have to be clarified before constructing the training strategies.
  • Cost Analysis:
    Analyzing the cost of the training package is must. Also having a constructive figure of return on investment (ROI) helps to give a brief idea in qualitative measurement on effectiveness of a training program.

Step three: conclusion to solution

The final step towards training needs analysis is to make a report and to find the solution of the discovery that has been made in the previous steps. The whole agenda of going through the needs analysis is coming to the conclusion - the solution. This includes forming learning strategies, preparing the curriculum, mode of delivery, the environment and the timing. A proper planning needs to happen in this final step. The formation of the deliverables and the strategies has to align with the audience and organizational goal.

Training Needs Analysis provides a structure to the training program. Proper execution of needs analysis can lead to high level of qualitative as well as qualitative measurable results.

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