Building a Curriculum That Works
In an era of global competition, volatile markets, tighter budgets, and leaner staffs, human resources professionals are being asked to develop training curriculums that not only address critical performance issues but also offer flexibility, reliability, relevance and, of course, results. Most HR professionals know the importance of using needs analysis and instructional design in identifying training needs and developing a specific training program. What many may not realize is that these same principles can--and should--be applied in developing an overall training curriculum.
All too often, training programs are implemented in the absence of a training curriculum, or the programs are designed and then force-fit into a curriculum developed after the fact. As a result, employees may spend more time in training than is really necessary, and programs may be developed that are incompatible with one another. Even worse, the programs may not adequately meet participants' needs or the organization's goals. The list goes on.
What follows is a step-by-step demonstration of ways in which to apply the principles of needs analysis and instructional design in developing an effective, efficient training curriculum. This method will work with any kind of training need.
Conducting a Needs Analysis
The needs analysis process consists of four steps: (1) identifying the needs of the organization, (2) specifying job requirements, (3) identifying the needs of trainees, and (4) determining course objectives. The information gathered while completing these steps is particularly useful for developing training courses. In fact, the needs analysis will help identify:
* Necessary competencies (that is, skills, knowledge, and attitudes).
* Instructional methods to be used in each course, such as role play, video and audio programs, and programmed instruction.
* Means for skill reinforcement on the job, such as coaching and job aids.
When designing an entire curriculum, however, the needs analysis process must be taken one step further to determine course groupings (for example, by theme or by performance requirements), sequence of courses, timing of courses (for example, after a person has been on the job for six months or after he or she has mastered a particular skill), and modes of delivery …