Why are training objectives so critical to effective training and to course design? Be sure to discuss how are they relevant to instructors, learners, and course designers. Module 4: Training Design The Role of Objectives Being able to write valid objectives takes time, practice, and experience. The writing should be very clear. The objectives should be both attainable and measurable. The trainee sees and understands what is required of him or her during the training sessions. The designer is able to check the training methods and content against the objectives to ensure that they are consistent. The trainer is able to see how well the trainees are progressing and is able to make the appropriate adjustments. Because objectives define the behaviors expected at the end of training, the evaluator can know what is expected to be accomplished and measure whether it was done. All objectives should include: desired outcome – what should be expected to occur? conditions – under what conditions is the outcome expected to occur? standards – what criteria signify that the outcome is acceptable? Facilitation of Learning We have significant areas that we must both be aware of and adapt to in order for our training to be effective. Some of the more obvious would be the allowance for individual differences, motivation (see module 2), expectations, and the environment. We need to become aware of what obstacles may limit the transfer of knowledge. These obstacles may include working conditions, time pressure, inadequate equipment and budget, and too few opportunities to use the new skills and knowledge.Supervisors may undermine this learning with a lack of support and an unwillingness to provide feedback. They may view training as a waste of time and discourage the use of new skills and knowledge on the job. Or, they may not discuss training opportunities and may be unwilling to support any training efforts. Goal setting is another action that helps trainees learn. Both the trainee and the supervisor can be involved in setting goals for the employee. By having a specific direction to focus on, this focus encourages new learning to take place. Self management is our final piece that permits development of new skills on the job. The employee can also use self-measurement strategies to motivate continued learning and growth. Constraints must be acknowledged when we design training. We must take into account budgets, resource allocation, cultural biases, the differences in backgrounds among the trainees, the readiness (or lack of) for training, and those people that just don’t want to be there. People who show a lack of motivation need a pre-training intervention to bring them into alignment. Design Basics Before learning can occur, you must get the attention of the trainees. They must buy into the job-related benefits of this training. They must understand what is expected of them and what the nature of the training will be. Next, you must understand the process of retention and the psychological cues for retrieval. The memory must become activated, there must be some symbolic coding (refer to module 3), and there must be cognitive organization and symbolic rehearsal. The material must be relevant to the trainee for him or her to make the necessary connections to internalize it. Practice, or behavioral reproduction, is the third element designers must take into account when they create their materials. By going over the material in a different way, you can encourage learning. The last phase is reinforcement, which includes feedback and continuing practice or symbolic rehearsal. When you take all these phases together, you have the facilitation of learning! Training Methods Because we have all spent at least 12 years in school, we should be familiar with most of the following training methods:presentation which includes variations such as the standard lecture, team teaching, guest speakers, panels, student presentations audio-video which includes overheads, slides, video role play hands-on (on-the-job) training self-directed learning (pg. 453, Craig) apprenticeship case study games adventure learning team training action learning (team using real problem/issue to solve) behavior modeling (you learn through observation of the desired behavior) As technology has entered both our lives and the workplace, we are now faced with E-Learning and the use of technology on the job. Other methods that can now be used in training are: Simulations: Perhaps the most impressive simulation is used by the FBI, for new hires to learn interviewing skills. A screen pops up with an actor taking on the character of a bank manager whose bank has a sizable amount of money missing. Depending on the questions the interviewer asks, the program is equipped to go in any direction, and the responses (including body language) correspond to the tone of the questioning. This program also scores the interviews along specifically developed criteria by the FBI and provides additional practice for the new hires to develop interviewing skills and observations. Computer-based training – CD-ROM: Trainees simply put the disk into the computer and the program is available for them to learn at their own pace. This technology allows for a large number of geographically dispersed individuals to have the same materials available to them at a reasonable cost. Computer-based training using intranet: Many companies are now putting specific courses on the intranet so that their employees can avail themselves of each needed segment. Although used mainly in training for computer software and other computer technology, some companies have begun to develop courses in the “softer” skills. The material is ready whenever the trainee has the time and motivation to learn it. Computer-based training using Internet: Large corporations have found value in hiring a training company to produce specific modules and courses and then make these available to their employees via the Internet. This can be a very cost-effective method of delivery training. Virtual reality: This technology is still in development, but the premise is the complete involvement in an interactive process for the trainee to learn from experientially and have the opportunity to practice as much as needed. It also gives the learner an opportunity to practice without exposing him to dangerous environments or tasks. Distance learning: Many universities are now using distance learning, in which all the learning takes place on a Web site managed by the university, in a course that is totally delivered via the Internet. This allows people anywhere and anytime to study what they need regardless of location or time frame. The instructor is the learning environment designer and most of the interaction among students is asynchronous. Technology now has significant influence on both training and learning. Employees can gain control over when and where they receive training. They can access knowledge and expert systems on an as-needed basis. They can also choose the type of media (print, sound, video) they want to use in training. By handling course enrollment, testing, and training records electronically, technology has reduced the paperwork and time needed for administration activities. We can also monitor the employee’s accomplishments in progress. Digital collaboration, the use of technology to enhance and extend employees’ abilities to work together regardless of geographic proximity, allows interpersonal interaction anywhere around the globe. The Internet is primarily responsible for the development of electronic networks that integrate voice, video, and data connections among the learners, instructors, and experts. The instructor becomes more of a coach and resource person and less involved in the delivery of training content. Most companies use multimedia training, which combines audiovisual training methods with computer-based training. It is used most frequently to train employees in software and basic computer skills. Advantages include the program being self-paced and interactive, consistency of content and delivery, unlimited geographic accessibility, immediate feedback, a built-in guidance system, appeal to multiple senses, mastery testing, and certification and privacy. We must be aware, however, that multimedia training is expensive to develop, is ineffective for certain content, is difficult to update quickly, that trainees may have anxiety about the technology, and that there is a general lack of agreement on its effectiveness. We need to learn how to develop effective online learning. Consulting with information technology experts is essential before buying or developing a program. When developing online programs, the designer needs to incorporate basic learning principles (feedback, job applications, practice, appeal to multiple senses). The learner needs to be actively involved and must know the basics of using a computer. The trainees need to be held accountable for completing the course(s). Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) is a form of technology using artificial intelligence. It is interactive and can do several things, including: match the instruction to an individual student’s needs communicate and respond to the student model the trainee’s learning process decide on the basis of previous performance what information to provide the learner make determinations about the trainee’s level of understanding complete a self-assessment resulting in a modification of its teaching process Activities to provide further understanding of using technology in training design: Pick one of the above uses of technology and search the Web. Discover hints for using it in development, examples of companies’ marketing, how you think it could be used in your company, and further information about it. Internet e-learning provider: Review the information at this Web site; discover what e-learning solutions Knowledge Planet provides. Are these effective? Why or why not? Online learning program: Click on “resources,” then click on “WBT online.” Choosing one of the online learning programs, describe the purpose of the program, identify features for effective learning, and provide recommendations for improvement based on your learning from this course so far. Online university courses: Click on “about e-learning” on the left side of the home page, scroll down and click on “find out more,” under the heading “is it right for me?” Take this quiz and evaluate whether you agree with the results, why or why not, and discover if there are other areas the quiz needs to address to be more effective. Meeting Organizational Needs Because no training really stands by itself, we need to take a hard look at the entire organizational system, the strategic plan, the vision, and the mission statement. All training should incorporate each of these pieces and move them forward in some way. To do otherwise would endanger the general health of the organization. The culture of the organization or “how and why we do what we do” needs to be addressed as part of the training design. Without addressing any issues in the culture first, the training may not have the opportunity to become effective. An example would be those managers or supervisors who don’t think that training is either necessary or effective. The reason these managers think and feel this way must be addressed before undertaking any training design. Then an intervention would need to be designed and implemented before the training. Then, and only then, would there be an atmosphere in which training could flourish. Because an organization will be headed toward its strategic plan, every organization needs leadership and leadership development programs. Specific plans need to be designed and incorporated into an organizational system. Trainers need to be involved in these plans and address these needs. An additional need would be the development of supervisors and other executives in a professional development program. The training professional may use a formal training program or various universities. The importance of further developing these key people in the organization should be fully integrated into all the organizational needs and plans for the future. Regardless of the method(s) used, the professional trainer must address the issue of accountability. All training needs the section where the trainee is made aware of what is expected of him and what will happen to his future if he is not accountable. Without accountability, there can be no progress both in the training efforts of the professional trainer and the future of the organization. Both of these elements are tied tightly together to help both the individual and the organization succeed.


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