Clients that I’ve worked with over the years have asked me a tough question – “What do you think is the most critical step in designing a training program?” Putting on my Instructional Designer "cap", this question always gives me pause for thought because it’s difficult to narrow it down to just one. The ADDIE model that we apply to all of our client projects here at Limestone Learning includes Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation phases. Although all are very important, my answer is always ANALYSIS!
Analysis is the cornerstone of training, and it’s a critical step in the planning of any potential training program because it provides an organization with justification on whether training should be developed or not. When employees see an issue in their organization, it’s automatically assumed that training will solve it, but this isn’t always the case. Other causes such as inadequate documentation, low motivation/incentive, inadequate policies in place, and environmental issues can also be factors. So it’s really important to analyse training needs first to ensure that your training solution, if required, is relevant, effective, and meets the specific needs of the audience and the organization.
The response I typically hear is “… we don’t have time/money/resources to do analysis.” It's important to have a plan of action before starting analysis to ensure you stay focused and effective and provide results that are linked to the objectives and goals of your business. Many well-intentioned organizations have conducted analysis that went on forever, engaged unnecessary resources and ultimately didn't provide the information they needed. Any organization will save time, money and resources by conducting a focused analysis and any training that is developed will more accurately meet the needs of the intended audience.
In today’s belt-tightening economy, we need to make smart decisions and look for ways to ensure that money allocated for training is wisely spent. Stay tuned for a future blog article on the types of analysis that can be conducted in the Analysis phase.