Before any organization can transition from traditional classroom training to corporate eLearning, they first need to understand what skills their employees lack and what performance issues need to be addressed. In short, what are the employees being trained for? A training needs analysis is an essential step before the application of any learning and development (L&D) strategy, and more so when putting corporate eLearning into the mix. This article will take you through a step-by-step process of carrying out a training needs analysis that will pinpoint performance gaps in the organization and help determine which skills need to be developed in the organization’s employees.
- Set Clear Learning Objectives and Business Goals
How do you ensure that your eLearning program improves employee performance? The first step is to have clearly defined learning objectives as well as business goals. If, for example, the goal is to increase sales, it should be quantifiable, and timed. “Increase sales by 10% by the end of the year” is a clear goal. The learning objectives of the course created should be to impart such skills to the employees that help them fetch more sales. Managers, department heads as well as other higher-authorities of the organization must sit-down to decide what business goals and learning objectives are required.
- Why Do Performance Gaps Occur?
Answering this question should be the next step. To understand what’s hindering productivity and performance, you need data, both measurable and non-measurable. To gather data, the following steps can be taken:
- eLearning Assessments – Of course, the best way there is to understand where employees are lacking would be an assessment. Get employees to participate in an eLearning simulation that addresses various skills. The point or skill at which an employee is unable to go further, or has difficulties, signifies their weak points and that is the skill they need to work on.
- Surveys – Direct feedback will help shed light on any performance issue that might not be so obvious from the outside. Employees usually know what’s holding them back, and the simplest way to pinpoint areas that need improvement is to ask them. Polls, focus groups, and live webinars where employees are encouraged to share feedback on eLearning courses and company policies can all be used in place of surveys to gather data.
- Evaluations – Evaluations are the proper way to gather data and determine performance gaps. Look for patterns in departments, for example, if performance falls in the sales phase, maybe the sales executives need to be trained in customer handling and product knowledge.
- Prioritize Business Goals
Have a sit-down with the higher authorities and the whole L&D team, and prioritize business goals to be achieved. Now, put the performance gaps identified alongside the business goals. Base your training program on filling the performance gap that is hindering the business goal with the highest priority from being fulfilled.
- Perform Regular eLearning Resource Checks
eLearning is an industry where things change fast. Each quarter or so there are trends that revolutionize the whole industry. In order to make sure that your employees are getting the best of training, you need to keep up with those trends, and make changes in your eLearning program as and when necessary. Evaluating your current eLearning resources also gives you the ability to identify areas for improvement and repurpose or revise eLearning content, materials, strategies, technologies or delivery methods.
- Focus On Employees’ Needs
Your eLearning strategy shouldn’t solely focus on the organization either. After all, who is primarily affected by any changes in the learning and development program? The employees! Thus, your eLearning strategy should also focus on employees’ individual needs, goals, and performance issues. If, for example, an employee is unable to grasp a certain skill after repeated attempts, perhaps he/she needs special attention, and a face-to-face session is required. Another way is to integrate an adaptive learning strategy into your eLearning program right from the start, so that employees can get personalized learning
Thus, a training needs analysis allows an organization to explore the performance, skill, and knowledge gaps that diminish employee productivity while also rooting out ineffective online training materials that are draining its resources.
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