Training Needs Analysis

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Training Needs Analysis: The First Step in the Training Process Performing a training needs analysis is the first step in the training process and is critical for a successful program. The purpose of a needs analysis is to determine that training is the best solution and identify what training is needed to fill the skill gap. This step is often disregarded for reasons such as time constraints or lack of perceived value by management. However, skipping the training needs analysis can cause major problems. Time, resources and dollars may be wasted on training that was unnecessary or ineffective. A training need exists when there is a gap between what is required of a person to perform their job proficiently and what they actually know. The reasons for conducting a training needs analysis are: • • • • • • To To To To To To determine whether training is needed determine causes of poor performance determine content and scope of training determine desired training outcomes provide a basis of measurement gain management support Performing a training needs analysis is most appropriate when training is requested for a performance issue, when new information systems or business processes are introduced, and when your organization mandates training. The analysis process can be as detailed or as simple as the situation requires. For details on the various needs analysis types, please view our Needs Analysis Study Types diagram. The type of needs analysis you use should ultimately be based on your goal, however, you should consider other factors such as time, available resources, money, etc. Regardless of the complexity of your analysis, there are six steps fundamental to all effective training needs analysis. Step One – Identify Problem Needs • Determine circumstance for training request • Identify potential skill gap • Set objectives Step Two – Determine Design of Needs Analysis • Establish method selection criteria • Assess advantages and disadvantages for methods Step Three – Collect Data • Conduct interviews • Administer surveys and questionnaires • Conduct focus groups • Observe people at work • Review documents Step Four – Analyze Data • Conduct qualitative or quantitative analysis • Determine solutions and recommendations Step Five – Provide Feedback • Write report and make oral presentation • Determine next step – training needed? Step Six – Develop Action Plan • Use results as the basis for training design, development and evaluation. Although conducting a step-by-step training needs analysis is recommended, the reality is that time and resources are not always available for this type of effort. In these situations, don’t simply write off the analysis completely – do the best you can with what you have. Try to, at least: • • • • Clarify the performance issue Evaluate and define what the target audience is doing versus what they should be doing Establish the causes of the performance issue Determine solutions that will solve the issue Keep in mind – good training doesn’t just happen. It is the result of much preparation and forethought. Get Solutions to Your Training Issues Over the past 10 years, the ITS team has gained a tremendous amount of experience with the design, development, management and delivery of training programs. This knowledge of how to run effective and efficient training programs, coupled with our experience streamlining our own business processes creates a unique and valuable resource for our clients training program management needs. To find out how we can help you kick off your training programs with a needs analysis, please call us at 800.876-5010 x222 or send us an email at Excerpts taken from: CGAP Direct. “Training Needs Assessment (TNA).” (10/14/04) “Conducting a Training Needs Analysis.” (10/14/04) Liebler, Seth; Parkman, Ann; & VanKampen, Karen. “How to Conduct a Needs Assessment that Gets Results.” The Center for Effective Performance, Inc. 2002. (10/14/04)