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A TRAINING MANAGERS GUIDE

5 things you should do


before developing a
virtual training program
I. Identify the gaps that exist
between current and desired
performance

You can’t get to the right destination if you don’t


know where you want to go.
And you can’t know where you want to go if you don’t evaluate where
you’ve been. Although you don’t want to spend too much time looking
in the rear-view mirror, it’s important to take the time to understand what
got you to the point that you’re in now—ready to set a new course and
travel to a new destination that will work out better for you than what
you’ve already tried.

If you’re reading this, it’s probably safe to assume that you are looking to
deploy a training program that improves individual knowledge mastery
or that takes your current training program to the next level. You
recognize that training and performance walk hand in hand, and you
want to build a training program that empowers your workforce to
succeed.

To do this, we need to think about what is causing a divide between


individual performance and success so that we can create a training
program that bridges the right gaps.

We’ve come to find that there are six common factors that could be at
the root of the problem.
Factors that could be

66 responsible for a divide


between performance and
success

Underdeveloped skills
The individual struggles to meet performance expectations because he or she does not know how
to properly perform on-the-job procedures or tasks.

Lack of motivation
The individual is not driven to excel because he or she has found ways of meeting baseline
requirements without expending a significant amount of effort, i.e. the individual can get the job
done without doing it the “right” way.

Unclear expectations
The individual and the manager have different perceptions of what success looks like due to
ambiguous performance expectations and a failure to give directions related to on-the-job tasks.

Communication breakdowns
Without an infrastructure to consistently communicate information within and in-between
departments as new products or services are released or modified, or when goals and priorities
within the organization change, the individual fails to meet performance expectations because he
or she is in the dark on important departmental and organization-wide initiatives.

No incentives
Consistent failure to recognize positive contributions and individual success results in a lack of
individual ownership over tasks and a laissez-faire attitude when an individual is encouraged to
improve his or her performance.

Silo’ed ownership
When there is no organization-wide oversight on training, inconsistent training content,
different expectations and varying communication channels hinder individual performance as
individuals move to different groups. Training is incomplete and confusing, hindering
individual performance.
Think about which factors may be impacting the productivity of your workforce
and take note of them as the core problems that your new training program
should seek to help solve. A clear understanding of what the root of the
problem is before you begin designing your new training program will help you
create an effective training program that is targeted to solving specific
problems that your organization faces.
II. Evaluate your audience to discern
training needs

Understanding your audience


is essential to the success of
your training program.
Identifying the training problems that you
need to solve is the first step in creating an
effective, results-oriented training program.
The next step is to determine who the
recipients of the training will be and how they
are situated so that you can best meet their
needs and fill the gaps between individual
performance and success. This will help you
determine which features you might need in
your Learning Management System, what
format your courses should be offered or
presented in and what type of support your
training program should include to ensure it
does what it is intended to do—improve
individual and overall organizational
performance.
We have come to find that there are three
main things that you should consider as you
evaluate the training needs of your audience.
3 Things to consider as you
determine the training needs
of your audience

Location
Inconsistencies in training are often found among geographically dispersed
individuals within an organization, even between those with the same job role
or function. Without organization-wide oversight on training this is especially
prevalent—making it important to streamline your training approach so that
training is consistent across your entire audience. Some questions you should
ask include:

• Is my audience geographically dispersed? Or, are they in close


proximity to each other?
• Is training conducted differently depending on the location of the office
or the department within the organization?
• Is my audience international? If so, localization may be an important
feature for your Learning Management System (LMS).
• Is my audience mobile? Or, are they often at their desks? If a portion of
your audience is often on-the-go, like your sales folks, you might want
to consider deploying a training program that can be accessed from a
portable device.

Experience/Skill Level
You don’t want to burn out your most experienced employees by bombarding
them with training in areas that they surpass competency in, and you don’t
want to throw your less experienced employees out into the wilderness by
skipping over important prerequisite courses that they need before they can
understand more complex processes or tasks. To determine at what level an
individual is engaging in a task or a topic you should ask these questions:
• What are the required skills for a specific position? I.e., what do your
learners need to learn?
• What does my audience already know, or what are they naturally good
at? How can I build upon those existing talents and skills?
• How much information is needed? Do your learners need in-depth skill
development training, or a refresher on how to properly perform a
process or technique?

Technology
In today’s increasingly mobile world the chances that everyone clocks in
around the same time and at the same location are getting slimmer—especially
if you have employees working remote or from across the globe. Here are a
couple things to consider when designing your new training program:

• Will the majority of your audience be seated at a computer? Or, will they
be out in the field? If learners aren’t in their desks, audio or printed
training materials may not be practical.
• Will training take place on personal devices? If so, access to the
training could be limited depending on internet connection, bugs and
ability to access the system if it is behind a firewall.

Once you have a better feel for how your audience is positioned to receive training
you can start compiling a list of items that your training program will require to be
successful, such as a learning portal that is mobile-accessible so that audience
members working away from their desks can complete the prescribed training.
III. Determine your desired outcomes
for the training program

Start with clearly defined


goals and finish with
exceptional outcomes.
Turn your vision of individual and
organizational effectiveness into a reality by
establishing precise, actionable goals for your
training program from the start you can.
Clearly articulate what your audience should
be able to accomplish after they complete
training so that you can track how well your
training program accomplishes important
business objectives, like increased employee
retention, increased customer satisfaction,
increased sales and etc.

You will have your own unique business


objectives and desired outcomes to measure
the success of your training program. To help
make it easier for you to pin point what those
might be we have put together a short list of
some common learning outcomes that many
organizations resonate with.
CHECKLIST

After completion of training


my audience should:
 Be more effective in their job role or position—
completing tasks or processes with improved
accuracy and excellence

 Be more efficient in their job role or position—


spending less time on tasks while still
delivering high quality results

 Require less supervision

 Meet compliance standards

 Have a well-rounded base of knowledge


relevant to their specific job role or position

 Be up to date on the latest innovations,


technologies and industry standards

 Understand the organization’s products,


services and unique value proposition

 Have a shared understanding of the way the


organization operates (company mission,
values, goals, history, culture, etc.)

 Be equipped with the necessary information to


start a new or modified position

 Be positioned for advancement within the


company when new opportunities arise

 Be inspired to innovate or add value to the


organization
Although you may have different desired outcomes for your training program
than the ones listed, it is important to look at how your desired outcomes link
back to meeting your organization-wide business objectives. For example, the
outcome of higher job satisfaction and a passion for work can translate to
meeting your business objective of improved employee retention. It could also
translate to meeting your business objective of increased sales, as oftentimes
more passionate, committed and knowledgeable sales folks are more likely to
close a deal.
IV. Compile and evaluate current
training content

Content is king when it comes


to successfully deploying a
virtual training program.

Your team can purchase the snazziest


Learning Management System (LMS) out
there, or build an entirely custom one from
the ground up, but without good learning
content you won’t meet your desired
outcomes—no matter how impressive or
easy-to-use your training platform is.
Though often overlooked until after the LMS
has been deployed, identifying and
evaluating current training content upfront
will help you determine whether or not you
will need to build or buy additional course
content.
4 Things you should ask when
evaluating your current
training content

Is the content SCORM-compliant?


If not, you will have to convert it using a course development tool before you will be
able to successfully upload it to the LMS.

How old is the content?


If you use outdated content you run the risk of delivering irrelevant information to your
audience. Even if some of the old content is still relevant, it may need a refresh on how
it is being presented so that it remains meaningful to your audience.

Is the content consistent with the training


outcomes you identified?
It is important to consider how your existing content will meet your goals for the new
training program. If the content doesn’t address how to develop the desired skills you
want your audience to have, or clearly explain how to perform a process in a way your
audience can apply while on-the-job it may have to go.

Are there ways of assessing whether or not the


audience met the objectives of the course or
lesson?
Do you already have quizzes or tests at the end of each training session or exercise? If
so, you can leverage these to build knowledge checks for your courses that are
deployed virtually. If you don’t, you may have to create them to make sure that you
have a way to measure individual success.
It’s important to have good content on your Learning Management System
(LMS) before you launch it if you want your audience to embrace the virtual
training concept. If there isn’t any content, or if the content isn’t relevant, you’ll
likely see low user adoption rates.

Choosing a content solution is important when it comes to launching and


maintaining an effective online training program. If you have the bandwidth to
build your own courses, leveraging a course authoring tool might be a good
option. If you don’t have the time or resources to build your own courses, you
can opt to purchase pre-made courses from a course library, or enlist the help
of an Instructional Designer for custom course development. If you need help
deciding which solution would be the best for you, the team at Knowledge
Anywhere would be happy to discuss all three of their content solutions:
Course Builder, Course Development and a Course Library.
V. Determine the best way to deploy
training content

How you deliver your training


counts.

Effective training delivery is contingent on


identifying gaps between existing and desired
individual performance, accurately evaluating
the training needs of your audience, clearly
establishing desired outcomes for the training
program and on having impactful and
relevant training content prepared to plug into
your training program design. The method(s)
of delivery that you choose should align with
the goals you decide upon so that your
desired learning outcomes can best be
realized, as each training method described
below will have a different impact on your
audience.
7 Popular training methods

Instructor-led
Advantages: Instructor-led training provides an opportunity for
the audience to receive, what can be for many, valuable face-to-
face instruction where they can ask questions, share ideas and
experiences and interact with peers who may be experiencing the
same roadblocks.

Disadvantages: Coordinating an adequate space to give the


training, arranging travel accommodations for audience members
who are not close by and ensuring that the participating instructor
has the proper skillset to correctly teach the desired skills or
behaviors can be costly and time consuming. Additionally, this
method of training often provides a large volume of information
to an audience in one setting that can be challenging for them to
digest and retain.

Great for: Developing psychomotor skills where demonstration of


complex processes or procedures is required, or delivering
training where personal interaction is key to learning.

ELearning
Advantages: Online training allows you to deliver a high volume
of content to a large audience that is geographically dispersed,
that has limited mobility or that has difficulty attending
conventional classroom training sessions. Due to the virtual
nature of eLearning, delivery costs for online training are much
lower than the costs of instructor-led training since they do not
require significant, ongoing resource coordination. This training
method allows you to maintain a consistent quality standard
across all of your course content, since variable inputs, such as a
live trainer, do not change what content is delivered and how it is
delivered. Also, eLearning allows you to collect, track and
measure the usage of your online training program—helping you
improve it, offer more personalized learning paths and determine
ROI for the training investment.

Disadvantages: Sometimes there is no replacement for live


instruction, especially when an individual must develop skills that
rely on interpersonal communication or that require an individual
to physically imitate complex procedures or processes. ELearning
is not always a great fit for every individual, especially for those
who are kinetic learners, those who are not comfortable with
technological communication, those who are disabled or those
who learn best in groups.

Great for: Cognitive skill development where individuals apply


learned methods in practice to solve problems, or for improving
individual comprehension of important subjects.

Self-study
Advantages: Self-study allows your audience to move at their
own pace and discover their own skills or subject matter
proficiencies around important topics—giving them more
ownership over their learning path.

Disadvantages: Without a guided or structured pathway to


learning, some individuals may lose motivation to complete their
training materials, get distracted by more pressing demands and
put their training on the back burner or complete training at a
much slower rate than desired or expected from management.
Great for: Delivery of supplementary materials that are not
essential to meeting the objectives of the training, but that
provide valuable context or support for key training courses.

Microlearning
Advantages: Microlearning jumps directly to the hands-on,
action-oriented phase of learning where the individual is
prompted to mimic the activity shown or to absorb information
targeted toward achieving a specific outcome. This type of
learning is typically deployed in brief video segments that give
the learner a quick refresh on how to perform a function.

Disadvantages: Due to the brief nature of this learning method, it


is not an optimal delivery mode for audience members to absorb
in-depth concepts or skill enhancement.

Great for: Providing just-in-time performance support, on-the-go


learning and training refreshers.

Gamification
Advantages: Reality-based learning that is specific to on-the-job
scenarios that your audience is regularly presented with will have
strong resonance with your audience. Games can be interactive
and meaningful, translating to a more engaged and focused
audience.

Disadvantages: Strategic game design is important if you want


your games to meet the training goals you designed them to
meet. Failure to make a connection between the activity and the
desired outcomes can result in a detached and confused
audience, making this a trickier training initiative to successfully
deploy than others.

Great for: Improving knowledge retention, developing skills and


driving audience excitement and participation for your training
program.
Mentoring
Advantages: One-on-one instruction is a very valuable training
mechanism, as it gives the mentee a reliable source he or she can
repetitively seek out to find solutions to more complicated
problems. Additionally, the close-knit involvement between
mentor and mentee can act as motivational force for improved
performance, as the mentee seeks affirmation of a job well done
by his or her mentor.

Disadvantages: This method of training typically requires a


significant time investment from a mentor, who is likely swamped
with his or her daily workload. It is also a limited way of training, as
it can be challenging for one mentor to train multiple mentees.
This training method also has a relational aspect that could
potentially work at a disadvantage if it is a forced mentorship,
where the mentor is not motived to provide quality training, or
where the mentor and the mentee are not a good fit.

Great for: Building long-term relationships where employees


“pass the torch” to each other through a knowledge exchange, or
ensuring a standard of craftsmanship or excellence is realized by
each employee in his or her work that accurately reflects the
integrity of the brand.

Webinars
Advantages: Webinars allow for a subject matter expert to share
knowledge with a large, geographically-dispersed audience
without the location constraints of instructor-led training. These
sessions can also be recorded for review at a later time, or for
participants who are unavailable in real time.

Disadvantages: There is little room for the audience to interact


with each other or with the instructor—making it hard for
participants to share ideas and ask questions. Additionally,
because the session is virtual participant concentration cannot be
controlled, as audience members have the freedom to
multitask—making it harder for participants to retain information.
Great for: Providing training on important conceptual topics to a
large, remote audience by leveraging the expertise of a subject
matter expert.

From our experience…


A blended learning approach that combines different training methods is often
the most effective approach to take when designing a training strategy.
Although some of these methods of training delivery can be successfully
deployed independent of each other, oftentimes there is no stand-alone
training solution that will be successful in reaching all of your audience. A
training strategy that incorporates multiple delivery methods that align best
with the pre-established desired outcomes for the program will give you the
best result.
Start your training program today.

Now that we’ve got you thinking about your virtual training program in more detail,
we hope that you will start addressing the gaps you defined in the first step by
delivering relevant training content in the method(s) that you think will work best for
your audience.

We know that creating an effective training program can feel overwhelming—


especially at the onset. The important thing to know is that you’re not alone. Whether
it’s simply answering any questions you may have, providing you with a solution to
make your training goals a reality, or providing you with the ongoing support you need
to optimize the use of your training program—we’re here to help.
Feel free to give us a ring: 1-800-850-2025. Or, shoot us an email:
info@knowledgeanywhere.com.