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Joy Wilson

Spectrum Training services

Learning and Development Consultant

Read more from Joy Wilson

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Training Needs Analysis Are you Competent?


As a provider of learning and development services I get frequent requests for designs of bespoke training courses and for delivery of existing courses into a range of organisations in various sectors. Each situation involves the addressing the development needs of unique individuals in groups and therefore requires an analysis of training needs. 

Whether we design a new training course or deliver an existing programme we want to ensure a connection between training content and job performance. This is essential knowledge and its absence impacts both the design of the training, the delivery of the training and ultimately the transfer of the skills into measurable business results.

The problem is many purchasers of training have failed to ask the questions that analyse the individuals development needs in the context of their role.

Let’s take a recent example; an email requesting an in-house communications course for managers contained no additional detail.  Now, I am perceptive but mind reading is not included in the competencies for my role as a consultant.

I return a response that asks the questions:

•What form of communications skills require development? (Email, influencing, written, face to face.........)
•What evidence to you have of this development need, can you provide examples?
•What specific improvements/outcomes would benefit your organisation, do you have any metrics?
•Who has the need for the training, do these managers manage people, process, both?

If a business identifies a need for improved communications, surely there must be some evidence of that need from performance management records, from supplier negotiations, from ineffective meetings, and yet the inability to answer questions about the need suggests some unfocused finger in the wind activity method of identifying training needs.

The danger is that you encourage the risk of failing to get a solution that meets development needs because the design and delivery of that training comes from a starting point of “here’s what I know so that’s what I’ll teach” rather than

"what do you need then that’s what I’ll provide"!

Author Profile Picture
Joy Wilson

Learning and Development Consultant

Read more from Joy Wilson

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