This post, Part 1 of 2, covers the first five of the above principles; the next post addresses the other four principles.
Training is driven by, focuses on, and reinforces
Corporate objectives are
explained in a previous post—Constituents
of an Organization.
reason for developing the training in the first place is to contribute to the
customer’s corporate objectives/goals (i.e., business success).
objectives/goals identify the types of content that are relevant for the
training resources. To be cost-effective and efficient, training is limited to
and addresses tasks and support knowledge that directly impact achieving the
training content explains the purpose and importance of doing the tasks, taking
action, making decisions, maximizing the use of resources, and minimizing
All training begins and ends in a job application
Organizations invest in training so that employees can do work more effectively, efficiently and safely and in a way that contributes to business success. At the training program design stage, competencies (tasks and knowledge) important to employee, job, and corporate performance are identified.
Training is then
developed and delivered to ensure that the workers can perform the work or do
their jobs to the organization’s expectations. Worker performance is assessed
to confirm that they are competent in doing the work.
The content of
knowledge competencies, especially generic competencies, often applies to more
than one task. When interviewing the SME to develop knowledge-based training,
first identify the tasks that the worker performs where the knowledge is
applied. When gathering the content, make sure the knowledge relates to these
tasks. An important question to ask the SME is, Does the worker need to know this to do the work safely, effectively,
Provide examples in
the training of applying the knowledge to the worker’s job. Identifying job
applications gives meaning to the knowledge. Identifying how the knowledge
affects the worker and the work can provide motivation to learn the content.
Training must be targeted to the right audience and
When determining the
focus and scope of the training, identify either the audience or the task
first. If you know the audience (experienced employees, trainees), their roles
and responsibilities help you to identify the critical tasks and support
knowledge. They also help define the task applications—what the audience can
and cannot do and what types of decision the audience can and cannot make.
After you have identified the audience and
associated task, identify work conditions, technology, and resources to further
defines the task and its application. Use the worker’s limits of authority to further define the task application,
performance expectations, and the decisions that are to be made. Lines and
limits of authority, management style, and corporate objectives/goals all
provide criteria for worker decision making.
Training begins and ends with the trainee’s frame
Structured training begins with the
trainee’s frame of reference. After you have identified the audience and
the task, identify the audience’s qualifications, including experience, skills,
and knowledge. For training to be effective and efficient, the training must
begin at the trainee’s level of ability. You may have an understanding of the
trainee’s qualifications before interviewing the SME. During the interview, you
can gain further understanding by asking the SME about the trainee’s
qualifications so that you can determine the trainee’s frame of reference:
• Hiring and placement qualifications
• Work experience
• Formal education
• Training received through the training program you are
• Other training previously received from the organization and
• Cultural and personal attributes (e.g., English as a second
language, attitude) that may affect training success
Training must fit the job
For training to be
practical and useful, the training must not only address work and business
issues, but also be designed to match the job context. The procedures you
develop must begin and end the same way as the work. Tasks, or parts of a task,
that are sequential must be formatted to complement the work sequence and have
breaks that logically fit the job. When tasks are sequential, the first action
step of the current task logically follows the last action step of the previous
task. There are no overlaps or missing steps between sequential tasks or parts
of a task. The tasks and training records must be structured to facilitate the
assigning of work, training, and practice opportunities.
One valuable strategy
for breaking tasks into useful parts that fit the job is to list the tasks or
parts of a complex task on a training record. An important question to ask
yourself is, Does the training record
help the supervisor assign work, training, and practice opportunities?
book, Interviewing to Gather Relevant
Content for Training, explains these principles in more detail. This book
also addresses many other thinking strategies training consultants and
technical writers can use to identify relevant content. An overview of some of
these thinking strategies are addressed in previous posts.
training in your organization, do these five relevant content principles apply?
Shand is President of HDC Human Development Consultants Ltd. and has 35 years
of experience designing and developing educational and training programs that
have excellent practical value and contribute to the customer’s business