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‘Standards Based Training and Development’ by Mike Tilling and Paul Nash


Standards Based Training and Development
Authors: Mike Tilling and Paul Nash
Publisher: Gower
Date: 2000
ISBN: 0566 08273 X
Price: £250.00
Format: A4 Looseleaf 400 Pages

Sub-titled ‘Self assessment, organisation and trainer development strategies and tools’, this manual is based on the Training Standards Council’s (TSC) 1998 report ‘Raising the Standard’. However, the authors point out that the content is equally applicable to any assessment of training provision - and see my separate review of their accompanying booklet related to inspection of government-funded training. I agree with them, although just occasionally they write as if they are thinking only of training providers rather than organisations that train their own employees.

The manual is in four sections. Part 1 provides a framework for self-assessment, Part II relates to general development within an organisation, Part III concentrates on trainer development, and Part IV contains case studies.

Part I, entitled ‘A framework for assessment’, is a short (19 well-spaced pages only) introduction to a self-assessment cycle that moves through: evaluation by getting the views of stakeholders; collation of evaluations into a summary; linking this to the standards, including consideration of the sources of evidence; reporting to whoever needs to know in order to improve the learning experience for each trainee; action planning; development – the longest stage in the cycle; surveying the results; and reviewing and redirecting.

There are three photocopiable handouts to Section I – one for assessing ourselves, a summary sheet for a team leader to complete, and one for the management team to use to link various summaries to the standards. All three are based on the same headings: training and assessment, trainees’ achievements, resources, equal opportunities, trainee support, management of training, and quality assurance. The sheet for assessing ourselves asks a prompt question for each heading, plus what are our strengths and weaknesses. The team leader version simply suggests that you summarise strengths and weaknesses and note how you can build on the former and reduce the latter. The linking version says even less – just sub-headings under each category for strengths, weaknesses and links.

The lack of prompting in the handouts was balanced by some particularly useful ‘cues’ from the TSC, which consist of statistics about weaknesses typically encountered during inspections. Also helpful is the section that gives examples of standards and quality indicators, plus sources of evidence and details of the TSC’s grading scale.

Part II consists of 11 units, each related to a TSC standard, and each containing activities and checklists for copying. Some of these take the reader through various organisational development aspects, including communications and the various methods used internally and externally, developing vision statements and reviewing aims and objectives. Other units focus on how training is done, covering induction, Key Skills (as in Modern Apprenticeships etc), and continuing professional development. Yet others cover team development and meetings, including one-to-one consultations. There is also a unit called ‘Job search and progression’ that contains materials for use as trainees exit a training programme.

Part III contains six development units, structured as for Part II but this time offering activities for individual trainers. There are units on identifying what trainees and employers expect, training methods, learning design, motivation and evaluation (of training and learning). The final unit in this part contains ideas for developing learners to be independent and work without supervision.

The more I looked at Parts II and III, the more useful material I found. There is a thorough list of aspects related to induction (pp 96-98), some useful questions for reviewing your CPD (p134), and a helpful checklist for checking quality (p211). However, occasionally I was concerned about some of the content. The authors present a distorted version of a Johari Window (p68); they have a questionnaire about the brain that makes claims without substantiation (pp 234-5); and they propose action learning sets on the strength of half a page of explanation only (p.260).

Part IV consists of case studies selected to reflect issues that may be uncovered during self-assessment. As with Parts II and III, these are linked to standards and prompt you to prepare action plans. The units make fascinating reading, providing narratives from organisations on topics such as equal opportunities, quality assurance (complete with excepts from a QA Manual) and special needs. Also included are units on resources and the learning environment, tracking trainees and celebrating success, planning and documenting training, staffing and job descriptions, and co-ordination of on and off-the-job training. For me, this was the most stimulating part of the manual and I would recommend reading it first!

In summary, this is a very thorough manual with plenty of useful ideas. Well worth getting if you provide training and therefore need to assess how well you are doing. Use their ideas to help you assess but be a bit cautious about some of their suggestions unless you already know the approach proposed reasonably well.

Reviewed by Julie Hay, Chief Executive of training consultancy A.D. International
Email: [email protected].

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