In August, we looked at people and processes as they relate to training needs analysis and the importance of implementation prior to training program development. Here we will review training resources and ways to identify gaps in your program.
The ultimate goal of a training needs analysis is to build the foundation of a training program driven by processes and standardization, so a thorough evaluation of training resources is necessary. Training resources are any tools used to communicate knowledge and/or skills to a person or group of people. They come in many forms, from a simple checklist on a sticky note to a full set of manuals, books and tests.
Start your training program evaluation by listing everything you know that you are using. For example, online classes, check sheets, books, machine manuals, community college classes, notes from vendor or supplier training, safety training materials, etc. Next, make a list of the resources you think you might be using, and then validate whether or not you are actually using them. Once you have these lists, begin to categorize and organize. For example, sort by training for safety, machining, design, EDM, etc. Once all the resources are sorted appropriately, you will discover what is missing and what is unnecessary. In other words, you will be able to clearly see what should be there.
When evaluating your existing training resources, it may help to think of the materials in terms of attitude, knowledge or skills. Then ask yourself, “Are we providing the proper balance in each area of training to develop the attitude, knowledge and skills of the trainee?” Even the most basic learning events must ensure that the proper attitude is set with the correct knowledge base to support the development of value-added skills.
Next, add or subtract materials from your list to ensure the training will be complete. Now you can work on standardizing the delivery of the final list so everything used for training will be accessible to each potential learner. Using an open-source (free) learning management system is recommended, and this can be installed on your network for a nominal fee by a computer programmer. This provides a common learning platform where every employee has a secure login to access the necessary training, which may include videos, documents, links and tests.
In the next part of this series, we will examine constraints that may exist in the company that prevent successful training needs analysis.