Looking for tips on how to successfully carry out an effective online training needs assessment? In this article, I'll offer advice on how to conduct a thorough assessment that will help you develop a winning online training strategy for your employees.
How To Successfully Carry Out an Online Training Needs Assessment
Carrying out an in depth online training needs assessment can give you the opportunity to determine key performance issues, analyze the effectiveness of your current online training strategies, and develop an online training plan that offers maximum ROI. Below you'll find a step by step guide for online training needs assessment that will help you to fine tune your online training design approach and boost the performance of your employees.
1. Choose the feedback methods you are going to utilize
Before you can actually start the online training needs assessment process, you will have to choose how you are going to get the invaluable data you need to make informed decisions and properly analyze the current online training strategy. This involves gathering all of the feedback tools and methods at your disposal, so that you can determine which ones are going to provide you with the information you're looking for. Are you going to conduct focus groups, one-on-one interviews, or visit the workplace to get a firsthand look at the working processes?
Ideally, the feedback methods you use should be measurable and offer you the chance to explore the key issues in depth. Regardless of which feedback techniques you ultimately decide upon, it's imperative that you meet with the managers to learn more about their expectations, the performance goals they are hoping to achieve, and what challenges they are currently facing that can be remedied by a more effective online training strategy.
2. Select key staff participants
Who you choose to participate in your online training needs assessment is key, as this will have a direct impact upon the data you receive. Choose members of staff who represent all levels within the company, especially if your online training will be offered company-wide. Begin by speaking with the management and work your way through the corporate ladder, eventually meeting with the members of staff who work on the sales floor, customer service desk, etc. You'll probably notice that the expectations and needs of the employees greatly differ, based upon their position within the organization, professional background, educational history, and a variety of other factors. As such, getting feedback and input from selected participants from all branches of the company gives you the opportunity to design an online training experience that caters to a wide range of training needs.
3. Create a list of carefully crafted questions
Now it's time to develop the list of questions that you'll be asking the participants of your online training needs assessment. Keep in mind that the questions you ask each level and each department may be a bit different. For example, you probably wouldn't ask senior management the same questions you would ask sales team members. This is why you should develop a separate list of questions for different target groups. There are, however, a handful of questions that can most likely be posed to all members of the organization, such as: what do you do during a typical work day? What are your responsibilities? How do you feel about the current online training strategy? What issues do you think the organization is facing at the moment, and how do you feel they can be resolved?
4. Take a closer look at the current online training strategy
Aside from the direct feedback you'll be getting from staff members, it's also essential to analyze the current online training approach that the company is using. What online training activities are utilized and are they truly effective? Are the instructional models really serving the performance goals? Are the online training materials up-to-date, or has the training plan fallen into disrepair over the years? You need to know if there are any gaps, so that you can determine if the issues may be attributed to the lack of proper online training or lack of employee motivation.
5. Analyze your findings
After you've asked the right members of personnel the right questions, you must analyze the data you've collected. This will allow you to develop a complete picture of the challenges and obstacles you will need to address when assessing the online training strategy.After all, the ultimate goal of any online corporate training needs assessment is to pinpoint the deficiencies of the current strategy and the problems hindering employee performance, so that you can create a solution that is effective and will boost on-the-job performance and profits.
6. Develop learning goals, objectives, and strategies based upon the data.
The online training needs assessment is going to give you the opportunity to develop new goals and objectives that are truly effective. In many cases, you may find that the current goals are too vague or aren't being served effectively by the online training strategy in use today. You might even discover that senior management isn't quite in tune with the needs and/or expectations of the staff and, therefore, haven't formulated objectives that will offer any real value or help to boost performance. In these situations, you can share the data that you've gathered in order to give them insight into what the employees need to know and how they can move forward with a new and improved online training approach. Also, bear in mind that, in some instances, you may discover that the current online corporate training strategy is spot-on, in which case your needs assessment will reassure the managers that the current approach is in-line with their online training goals and objectives.
Use this online training needs assessment guide to conduct an effective analysis for your online corporate training. It's true that no two employees are alike, but an online training needs assessment can allow you to develop a training experience that caters to a wide range of training needs.