November 25, 2021 Aneta Stokes

Training strategy as a starting point in the process of planning and designing training

What needs to happen before you shout: “Let's organize an e-learning course!”

Training needs arise every now and then in any large organization. A new product, changes in procedures, new regulations or legal requirements, employee development – these are hot topics that need to be taken care of… It seems deceptively easy to quickly implement an e-learning course to meet these needs:

  • Topic? Check!
  • An expert? Check!
  • Materials? Ready!

We hand them over to the provider and watch them transform into more or less interactive slides with a voiceover and a logo. Is it enough?

If the goal is just to have a course and place it on the platform as required by law, then it might be. But if we want it to have a real impact on someone’s behavior? To actually help someone in their daily work, to solve a problem? Then it is worth rebuilding your training plan and design strategy. Or maybe even build it from scratch.

Hitting the target

Do you remember long lists of training objectives beginning with the words: You will learn…? Our everyday experiences, supported by the main theses of andragogy, teach us that as adults, we learn best when we know we will be able to use that knowledge in practice. No one, not even the biggest training enthusiast, is going to learn a long definition on a blocked slide if it is not needed it their everyday work.

Training strategy should always start with setting a goal. A real and measurable one, derived from answers to the following questions: What do our employees have a problem with? What do we want the training to do for them? What behavior do we want to change? What do we want to improve? What outcome do we want to achieve? How do we want to measure this result?

Practice first

Once a goal is set, think about what your employees need to do to achieve it. Think in terms of actions and behaviors – not theories. The phrase: “they know the rules of information security” is not a description of an action. Replace it with many concrete examples, such as: “they recognize phishing emails”, “they encrypt messages containing confidential data”, “they report security breaches”, “they do not click on suspicious links”, “they do not give their login details to anyone” and so on. The backbone of a training should be built on these actions. These are the behaviors we expect from employees and which the training is supposed to help them practice and develop.

Then theory

We might have a lot of substantive content prepared with procedures, rules and definitions. It would be a shame not to include all that in the training, right? But let’s exclude it. Let’s prioritize information that is necessary to implement the actions we want to achieve. Do our employees really need to know all the legal regulations related to data protection by heart? Which of these laws apply to their daily work? Selection of materials is not an easy task and the tendency to overload training with huge amounts of knowledge is common. However, the more knowledge there is, the less impact it has on anyone.

And finally, form

Once we know what we want to achieve and by means of what activities and information, we can think about how to do it. Today, training providers offer many solutions: e-learning courses may be supplemented or replaced by a tutorial, game, animation, webinar or film… It is worth considering what form will serve our purpose best, discussing the issues of methodological and visual solutions with experts who deal with designing training courses on a daily basis. The form should serve our purposes, it cannot be overarching and should not be predetermined.

“Let's organize an e-learning course!”

L&D and HR departments face many new challenges today. Large organizations are emphasizing employee experience, well-being, diversity issues, leadership development or soft skills development. All of this also requires training support. It is easy to fall into the trap of producing content quickly and clogging up platforms with huge knowledge packages that no one really wants to open. We recommend taking a step back. “Let’s organize an e-learning course”? – why not! But first, research the training needs, establish a training plan and design. Fight to achieve concrete results.

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