Instructional design is all about analysing human performance challenges systematically, which means, identifying the root cause of these challenges and finding solutions along with implementing them well. Instructional design is a process, discipline, science and analysis. As a process, it starts well with analysing the problem by accessing performance gaps via conducting training need analysis followed by a proposed training solution, evaluating and sustaining the learning.
Here are some of our observations when it comes to training need analysis:
- Many a times we have observed that a training need analysis is treated as a formality and is taken as a one-size-fits-all whereas in reality it should be a necessity in order to understand the gaps and analysis should be customized as per learner’s function, job, learning styles etc
- We also observe that training or learning and development is held only when the need arises whereas it is recommended to have a strategic approach and plan the entire year as per current skill inventory existing in the organization
- Development only happens through coaching and training whereas development can be in terms of training/coaching and in terms of process. Many a times, we have observed that organization focuses just on developing the skills sets whereas the problem may lie in the process of the organization
Hence, it is important to access the root cause of the problem. This analysis or should we say, training need analysis can be seen in 3 steps, which are:
- Differentiate between Process vs Performance – The very first step is to see if the problem presented is a performance problem or a process problem. Performance problem can be in terms of individual’s performance or team’s performance
- Analyze the Root Cause – After identifying if the problem is related to process or performance. The next step is to dig deep to find out the root cause
- Determine the Design – Lastly comes determination of the design. While designing, there are multiple factors to consider like:
- Learner’s Characteristics – Here we specify learner’s learning style – is it auditory or visual or kinesthetics? As per their learning style, the design is highly influence. Example – if the learner has visual learning style, the design of the content should have more of visual aids, pictures, videos to engage them and likewise for other styles
- Job – Here, we specify the job these learners are into. Example – the content for negotiation skills training will be different for finance department and different for HR professionals. The case studies, examples, activities used will be specific to their department and so would be the approach.
- Work Setting – Here, we specify the culture or the environment of the learners. Example if the organization is young start up with millennial’s in it, the design of training will be more fun-based learning or if the organization is traditional in nature then maybe being focused on context setting, learning and less of joking would be appropriate
Therefore, a proper need analysis can get us to the root cause and find solutions which will help evolve individuals, their teams and their organization.