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Q: I've been asked to develop a training needs assessment for the coming year. Could you
tell me how to begin?
A: Start by gathering pertinent information. Here are ten questions I ask my clients when they
request a training needs assessment:

What is the purpose of the needs assessment? (Does it assess present or future needs?)
What is the scope of the needs assessment? (Does it cover all or some employees?)
What type of training needs will be assessed (technical, supervisory, management)?
What positions are to be included in the needs assessment?
How many people are in each position?
What locations need to be surveyed? (How many in all?)
What do you want to accomplish with this needs assessment? (How will we know we've
been successful?)
8. What is the target date for completion?
9. What resources are available (budget, people, time)?
10. What major events could interfere with the needs assessment (company reorganization or
consolidation, systems conversion)?
The success of the training needs assessment depends upon getting answers to ALL these
questions. You can use the information to put together a solid plan for management's approval. If
you're missing any important information, be sure to let management know how that will affect
the results.
Q: As a one-person training department, I am expected to identify training needs in areas
that requires technical knowledge and skills. I'm not a technical expert. What should I do?
A: Consider recruiting technical experts from other departments to help you. You might want to
create a management proposal that outlines what your resource requirements are and how they
can be met with assistance from other departments. Provide these technical experts with
guidelines on how to collect information for a needs analysis and with tools to help them capture
and organize the information.
Q: My staff has been asked to develop and provide end user training for a system
conversion due to rollout right after testing in a few weeks. How do I respond to this request
when there wasn't time allocated for training in the first place?
A: Unfortunately, this is a common problem. Training time is often an afterthought or
underestimated in the project plan. This situation calls for you to put your problem-solving and
collaboration skills to work. Meet with the client, identify and discuss the problem and explore
1. Schedule a meeting with the client and other key players as soon as possible. If a face-toface meeting isn't possible, consider a phone conference or videoconference.
2. Determine the training requirements for the rollout.
3. Explain what you and your staff needs to meet those requirements (final content, time for
design, development, review, revision, production and delivery). Point out the support
you and your staff need from the client and the key players.

see the next question. Phillips. Negotiate until you reach a mutually agreeable solution. Chapter 5 covers common evaluation instruments for all four levels (reaction. Identify obstacles to meeting the requirements. behavior and results). Supervisor Testimonials are statements provided by the participants' supervisors or managers. Any recommendations? A: I assume you are looking for different instruments for each level of evaluation. 5. build informal needs analysis into your evaluation strategy. Success Stories are actual situations provided by program participants. transfer and results). Ask them to assign a dollar value to the improvement. Ask them for a comparison of the participant’s performance before and after training. accidents) whenever possible. Instead. Explore possible alternatives such as limiting the scope of work. My all-time favorite reference for evaluation methods is Handbook of Training Evaluation and Measurement Methods by Jack J.) Q: I am trying to develop an evaluation instrument for levels 2 . For soft skills. learning. Q: Are there standard methods of evaluating trainers' performance in the classroom? A: It's important that you define the criteria for quality and measure your trainers against these . customer complaints. (Be sure to keep participants’ names confidential. such as leadership. Also. Evaluation Q: Management expects us to evaluate the effectiveness of our training programs but is reluctant to allow time for a needs analysis. extending the timeframe or using outside resources. (For more ideas. be sure to provide recognition to participants. The form should allow participants to describe how the skills or knowledge used in the training program helped to improve their job performance. Conduct critical incident interviews with supervisors or managers of participants who have completed the training program. Look at existing records for hard data. How can we do this without analyzing training needs? A: A formal needs analysis may not be needed. A focus group is also a quick way to gather this data.4.4 (learning. Before conducting the program. Document testimonials of performance improvement and include it in your quarterly report to management. Make sure they recognize the problem and their role in solving it. Be sure to sample the same group in the evaluation study. grievances. 6. Provide each participant with a "Success Story" form to complete and return 30 days after training. Compile the results and include in a quarterly report to management. Q: How can I measure the effectiveness of soft skills training programs. administer a brief questionnaire at the beginning of the program.) Encourage supervisors and managers to reward participants for improvement. time management and communication skills? A: Use Success Stories and Supervisor Testimonials. sample a small segment of the target population and collect baseline data (number of errors. if possible.

criteria. .astd. make sure they all go through the same train-the-trainer program to ensure consistency in course delivery.g. For train-the-trainer resources. While you are developing the questionnaire. etc.. answers participants' questions completely. think about what your customers expect from the trainers. How well have their expectations been met? Avoid evaluating trainers on their personalities rather than their performance. Have your trainers been trained in the same delivery techniques? If and measure their performance with a welldesigned questionnaire immediately after the course.//www. delivers information clearly. visit the web site of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) at http. Define trainer performance expectations upfront (e.