a costly mistake skipping the needs analysis phase part two its worth the investment and is not as complex as it may seem

In my last post on needs analysis, I covered some of the reasons clients want to bypass the analysis phase and head straight to training development: lack of time, budget, or resources certainly top the list.

Another reason clients are wary of analysis, however, is because they simply don’t understand what it entails. In that light, I’d love to share with you what takes place during an analysis phase. Remember, analysis is an important information-gathering step that lays the foundation for the entire process of designing training.

So, at the end of the day, what do you get out of analysis?

We provide you with a comprehensive plan to increase knowledge and skills related to your training initiative, using the best instructional and coaching approaches possible. Some recommendations focus on knowledge and skill-based training, while others relate to organizational or environmental factors that impact performance. We provide a curriculum map and learning objectives for the knowledge and skill areas.

The SweetRush team takes full advantage of our understanding of human performance, paired with the knowledge we gain about your organization, to design an innovative and game-changing training program that best addresses the specific and unique attributes of the circumstances, needs, and priorities of your target audience. Through the analysis phase, we build clear and measurable learning objectives for each component within the program.

Once the learning objectives have been identified…

We sequence and organize them into appropriate modules and courses in a curriculum design plan. This provides a sense of how to best structure the training to make it as efficient and effective as possible for the learners.

We review all of your existing training for the program, and assess which content can be leveraged in the development of the new courses. Our goal is to be the best steward possible of your time and resources; this means taking a moment to ask ourselves, “What can we leverage from what already exists?”

Once we have the learning objectives identified and organized by topic, we finalize the curriculum design plan and link learning objectives to specific courses. We also identify the source materials that we can use for the content for each learning objective, and — where possible — link to existing course content.

As we do this, we look at a variety of factors to ensure that the courses are organized and sequenced in the best way possible.

We:

  • Address particular needs of the target audience.
  • Account for all performance, knowledge, and skill requirements from analysis.
  • Account for all existing training identified as “use as-is.”
  • If applicable, determine milestones (such as certifications or major assessments).
  • Determine various “on-ramp” entry points to the curriculum (typically based on varied experience or knowledge of the learner).
  • Determine various “off-ramp” exit points from the curriculum, including branches to different workflows.
  • Determine and refine evaluation strategies and tactics.
  • Determine use of existing content and documentation.

At this point, we are ready to determine the right blend of instructional strategies and multimedia to accomplish the learning objectives.

The learning objectives themselves drive the instructional and media strategies by telling us what learners need to know, the skills that they need to be able to perform, and the standard to which they should be performing. These objectives also tell us how we can measure the impact of the training once it has been implemented. From this information, we determine the blend of instructional strategies that we can use — all while keeping in mind the unique characteristics and preferences of the learning audience. Instructional strategies might include a mix of:

  • Web-based training (including the complexity/interactivity level)
  • Self-study (white papers, off-line activities, accountability tasks, and so on)
  • Videos
  • Instructor-led training
  • Virtual instructor-led training
  • Coaching
  • Performance support
  • Podcasts

How long does the process take?

The analysis phase usually takes around 2 to 4 weeks, though this really depends on the size of the training initiative. At the end of the process, you have in hand the architect blueprints to build your house! Our “solution blueprint” includes a comprehensive design plan for the development of the training curriculum, the development budget, and the proposed timeline.