How to Develop Effective Training Content
Unless you’re teaching others how to use software, there’s a good chance you’ll need a customized training solution. That’s because with something like software, each keystroke has a predetermined result and therefore users need only understand which keys to push and when. Although time-consuming, developing training content of this nature is fairly straightforward.
But the same can’t be said about teaching your employees how to run your business the way you want it run. If it was your job to develop effective training content, would you know how to do it? Would you know what not to do? Don’t worry. Most people who don’t develop training content for a living wouldn’t know these answers, either.
Before you start spending money developing training content, there are a few training content “pre-development” questions that should be answered first such as:
- Who is your target audience?
- You might at first think this question is better suited to developing marketing materials not training materials, but think again. As with marketing materials, the message your training materials deliver has to resonate with your market which in this case is your trainees. Otherwise it will fall on deaf ears. So now you need to answer these questions:
- Who will be using the training materials being developed?
- For example, will the materials be developed for a particular department or for a particular branch?
- How many people will be trained during each training session?
- What is the skill level of and what motivates the group to be trained?
With a clear definition of your target “trainee” it’s time to answer another important question:
- What are your training goals?
- For example, is training required to help meet certain sales quotas? Is training required so that your employees are in compliance with certain regulations? Do you hope that those who complete your training emerge with a new or improved set of skills?
Once you have a firm understanding of who you need to train and why he or she needs to be trained, you’ll be better prepared to move on to the next area of consideration, the planning stage.
During this stage you want to get a better idea of when (or how often) such training will take place and where it will take place. Knowing these answers is going to help determine the most effective method of material delivery.
And now, the big question you need to address is:
How can I get my audience from where it is now to where I need it to be within my defined timeframe?
At this stage you’ll need to start thinking about a realistic training budget. You need to know how much you can afford to spend on developing as well as implementing a training program. This answer will significantly impact the development stage.
When it comes to delivering your training content, you have many options. You can develop a “hands-on” training course that can be used in an interactive classroom-type setting. You can develop an entire training course on video or that can be delivered electronically, both of which allow trainees to learn at an individualized pace. You can develop slide shows, hand-outs, webinars, group or individual activities, and more.
If you plan on developing effective training content you really do need to take all of these issues into consideration. But the process doesn’t stop there. You’ve also got to implement the training program and then evaluate it. Here is where you’ll answer what is probably the most important question.
Was the developed training program effective at meeting the goals and objectives outlined previously?
Hopefully the answer is YES!