At InfoPros, we develop training solutions for our Clients’ products, services, and software applications. This white paper provides an overview of the process associated with developing a training solution, with the process largely the same whether the challenge is to train a sales team on a new product, provide on-the-job training for employees working on a manufacturing line, or teach internal users how to use a new software application. There are multiple approaches that can be used to meet a specific training goal, including:
The most effective approach will be the one that balances the business requirements with the needs of the intended audience and delivery of the requisite concepts and information.
Throughout this paper the term “course” is used as a generic term to describe the various training solutions available, such as a complete course or set of training materials.
The initial focus in developing a training solution is to ensure that we thoroughly understand our Client’s goals, challenges, and requirements to assure that the training or courseware being developed aligns with the business needs and objectives. This means understanding not only the information to be conveyed but also the intended audience, their work environment, and the budget and time that can be allocated to training.
InfoPros follows a structured approach to training and courseware development projects by first identifying all learning objectives and capturing relevant source material and content. We then gain a thorough understanding as to the needs, characteristics, and workplace environment of the audience. Only after this initial analysis has been performed can specific recommendations be made as to the approach and types of training materials that would be effective in meeting the defined goals and objectives.
Our responsibility is to create a dynamic learning experience for each participant that maximizes their opportunity to comprehend and retain the key learning objectives. In order to obtain the required information, we follow a comprehensive three-step process:
During this step, InfoPros will analyze the Client’s goals, requirements, and objectives and gain an understanding of the target audience and their work environment. We also will start the process of defining course objectives, topics, and lesson strategies.
Step two builds upon the needs analysis by further identifying specific details relating to the course. During this phase our team may meet with your subject matter experts (SMEs) to learn the fundamentals of your product, service, or application. This step provides us with the information needed to design a comprehensive course blueprint.
The last step of the process encompasses the content development of the course material, review cycles, and preparation for a course evaluation that can be conducted to provide further input once the course is delivered.
Depending on the size and scope of a training project, the InfoPros project team will include professionals with a variety of skills and areas of expertise:
During the analysis phase, we will have one or more detailed discussions with the appropriate Client personnel to gather specific information about the project. We will discuss the impetus for the project along with specific needs, requirements, and challenges to be addressed by the course as well as gain an in-depth understanding of the target audience and the work environment. We also need to understand the expectations for delivering the training, including budget and timeframe. Throughout the process, we gather the relevant source material and content that will be needed to develop the training materials in the following ways:
During project analysis, we gather the “basics” of the training project. These basics include defining the overall course objectives, establishing preliminary learning objectives, and understanding the product, software application, or service participants will be required to learn. The following are sample questions critical to establishing the foundation of the training course or program:
Audience analysis is the second component of our needs analysis, where we further our understanding of the audience, what participants need to take away from the training, and the background they will bring to the course. The following offers a sample of the questions used in this type of assessment:
The final component of our needs analysis relates to the timeline and delivery of the course or training materials. These questions address the timeframe constraints, the type of evaluation needed, and the format required for delivery. The following offers a sample of questions used for this assessment:
The data collected during the analysis phase identifies and defines the specific approach for structuring and delivering the concepts and materials to be conveyed to the target audience. The design phase is focused on identifying the key concepts and the specific details about the relevant product, application, or service, for which we will conduct interviews with subject matter experts. It also is during this phase that we will gather and identify much of the source materials and content including design documents, prototypes, applications, and reference material that will be used to develop the training content. Depending on the type of training required, the course design phase may involve the following steps:
The final step is the development of the course content, training materials, and participant evaluations. During this process, the blueprint and/or outline serves as the guide to complete all lessons or modules, finalize course activities, and write the content for the training materials: course presentation, instructor and participant guides, and/or web-based modules.
An important element of course development that can be overlooked involves the evaluation of the training course or program. This is a joint process for the Client and the course participants. Obtaining feedback from the participants can help determine whether or not learning objectives were met. The following are sample questions that can be used during the course evaluation:
If you are considering training for your product, service, and/or software application it is important to understand the following:
At InfoPros, we understand the value that training materials can offer to a company’s product, service, or software application. We successfully support the diverse training needs of companies such as Hill-Rom, Waukesha Electric, Wells Fargo, and Maxwell Technologies. When you partner with InfoPros you can be assured your project will be completed on schedule and on budget, meeting or exceeding your expectations.