June 16, 2014 by AP-Networks Leave a Comment Question: What do new hires, experienced managers, mid-life career changers (and everyone in between) have in common when it comes to being successful? Answer: The need to maintain and gain knowledge and skills to stay current and competent. This can be accomplished in many different ways, but the demand for company-provided employee training to fill existing or predicted knowledge and skills gaps will always exist. The ADDIE model (Analyze-Design-Develop-Implement-Evaluate) helps ensure that the needs of both the learners and the organization are met. Achieving positive, measurable performance improvements is (or should be!) the ultimate goal of any training and development program. Let’s start with “Analyze” The analysis phase defines the project. During this initial phase, the following questions should be resolved by the project manager and the instructional design team: What is the gap and how should this training impact business performance? (Purpose) Who will be affected by development and implementation of this training? (Stakeholders) Who will take it? (Target Audience) What should it cover, how, and when? (High-Level Content and Delivery) Where will the content come from? (Subject Matter Experts and Other Resources) What behavioral changes should we expect to see as a result? (Learning/Performance Objectives) How will we measure that change? (Assessment) What obstacles do we face? (Risk) Cutting corners in the analysis phase is a good way to waste resources developing a product that doesn’t meet anyone’s needs! To identify key stakeholders, ask: Who will fund this course? Who will attend? Who directly AND indirectly benefits? Does anyone disagree with the need for this? Will anyone be negatively impacted by it? Including detractors is a good way to uncover obstacles that could put project success at risk—and gives you an opportunity to persuade these detractors to become advocates. Once stakeholders are identified, use them! They can supply answers to many of the questions you’ll have. Soliciting their input early and keeping them informed will increase the odds of project success. Conducting a meeting with all stakeholders present may be efficient, but when interests are diverse (or in conflict), individual interviews may be best so that everyone feels comfortable expressing their views and concerns. Once stakeholder inputs have been evaluated, a Needs Assessment may be required to gather details on course content and to identify the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who will supply and verify content. Direct supervisors should know what deficiencies and gaps exist in their employees’ skill sets, but it is still vital to talk to members of the target audience—they may have very different ideas of what they need. Other departments that interact with the target audience may also provide valuable insights. Course delivery methods should be discussed as well. In some cases, a short webinar or eLearn module may be perfect; others will require a more hands-on approach with instructors and/or special tools. The Needs Assessment can be performed by observation, interviews, focus groups, and/or surveys. Every project is unique and the approach should be appropriate for the project’s scope, schedule, and budget—one size does NOT fit all!