Starting a new training program in the corporate learning environment requires a few steps of preparation, implementation, and evaluation. Such a systematic approach, which considers all factors, usually breeds the best outcome. The factors that need to be considered come from both the employer and the employee and marry the needs and wants of both. Various specialists name four to five steps that need to be included in the planning of the training program. Here, we describe how to start a training program by utilizing the most useful and crucial elements for designing and implementation processes.
1. Assessment of the training needs
The first and the most imperative step on how to start a training program is to assess the existing needs (organizational, task, and individual). Whether it’s theoretical knowledge, such as security protocols, practical skills such as customer service, or internal structure such as intra-departmental communication, teamwork, or collaborations with Subject Matter Experts, it’s crucial for trainers and the instructional designer to define which cog missing for the machine to run smoothly. The assessment of the areas on which the program should focus on learning solutions and will help to target the most burning issues directly. The assessment should be done by the respective bodies in the company or an external evaluator. Such a person might have a fresh look at the problems the company has been dealing with for a while.
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2. Setting the training objectives
Once the assessment is done, it’s time to pinpoint the crucial issues the training program should address and the desired outcomes. Identifying the gaps in the knowledge and the skills of the learner is vital for creating online courses and elearning development. In other words, this step is focused on the end goals of the training program and how to achieve them. The goals should ideally be quite precise and the outcomes quantifiable, as it will help to assess the success rate after the program. The overarching goal should naturally be to bridge the gap between the existing and the desired skillset of the employees. This will allow them to gain confidence in performing the assigned tasks, foster social learning, and improve the learning experience.
3. Creating a training plan
Once the goals and aims of the program are settled and the training tools and learning platform selected, the loose ideas need to be put into a coherent action plan. The plan should make a clear link between the needs, the tools, course design, learning materials, and the goals of the training program. The help of Subject Matter Experts and an instructional designer should come in handy at this point, as they work as emissaries between the business and the HR and L&D departments, making sure all the most important issues are being addressed. An ADDIE model, which we wrote about a while back, can also facilitate the creation of the training program while staying on track with the key issues the training needs to address.
In this step in the process of how to start a training program, it’s worth considering the form, in which the training will be delivered. Needless to say, overloaded PowerPoint slides and monotone report reading should be mothballed and forgotten as compared to online courses. Just because something used to be done a certain way doesn’t mean it should be done the same way now. New, attractive, and interactive training programs, that also promote social learning, delivered with the help of state-of-the-art technologies should become the new normal. In the era of the constantly growing numbers of the remote workforce, enhanced by the limitations of the global pandemic, elearning development of online courses is becoming the future of corporate learning schemes to heighten the learning experience.
With the help of online learning platforms and learning solutions, such as EdApp, compulsory training can be fun and helpful at the same time. Features such as PowerPoint conversion and authoring tools make EdApp the best place to create impactful and beautiful courseware for learning and development. A customizable template library makes this process fast and easy, removing the bumps and hurdles on the path from course development to employee training deployment. At EdApp, the goal is to make training approachable, attractive, and effective to enhance the learning experience, retention, while also leveraging social learning– and with the help of the tools it offers, the sky’s the limit for both trainers and the instructional designer when it comes to elearning development.
4. Implementation of the training program
Whether an ongoing program or a one-off event, the implementation of the training program is probably the most important element of the whole process. It is now, that the creators of the program can see, whether the choice of materials, instructional design, organization, learning platform, tools, and directions come together into a coherent and readable unit. By seeing their program in action, the interaction of participants with the courseware and with one another, they can observe, whether the program fulfills its purposes. Ongoing programs are usually more challenging as the material is richer and is spread over more than one class or training session. However, one-off events pose different challenges – everything should fit into the only session, which at the same time cannot be overloaded to remain effective, which may pose a challenge to an instructional designer.
5. Evaluation and revision of the training
The creation of any kind of educational program comes to a full circle with the last step, that is evaluation. After the implementation and conduction of the program, the participants are usually asked for immediate feedback. This is related to the character of the training itself. Another round of feedback can be done after a certain amount of time – such assessment would reveal, whether the knowledge and skills passed at training has become useful to the participants and in fact, improved their performance. Such feedback has to be compared with the initial goals and aims of the training program. Then, the actual efficiency of the training can be estimated and can be used to come up with other learning solutions, such as trying out mobile learning and utilizing gamification.
Learning how to start a training program, whether it be online training or corporate training, is a long and tedious process and by necessity, loaded with traps and bumps. Even experienced trainers, facilitators, and educators can make mistakes when it comes to choosing the right online course, learning platform, and more – but with the collaboration between all interested parties and constant improvements, training programs can become a solution to most of the company’s ails and pitfalls. After all, knowledge is always the key to corporate learning.