Role of Training Program
Before resources are committed to training development, it is important to be clear that the:
1. Problem is really an issue that training can help solve; and
2. Expectations for what will be achieved through training are reasonable.
To answer these questions, find out how the document or training program fits into the “big picture.” Sometimes, we talk about documents or training programs—whether explicitly or without really thinking about it—as if they have the power to create change in and of themselves; or as if, by simply exposing the target audience to the right content, we have done all we can. Of course, we know that’s not true.
It helps to start with the wide-lens view of the behavior or issue in context. It’s important to have a larger view of what’s driving the behavior you want to change, and then see what role, if any, training or education can play. At a minimum, we need to address barriers to implementation of training in light of resources available in a forthright way. How else are we to have credibility with target audience members who live with these barriers every day?
Important parts of the problem analysis that precedes training development are questions such as the following (though not all of which may be applicable to a given situation):
- What is the problem or situation at present?
- Who are the key players involved in maintaining status quo or in making a decision to change? What are their roles? What power does each have (or not have) to make needed change?
- Why aren’t these key people already practicing new the behavior?
- What are factors or forces that support change?
- What are factors or forces that suppress change?
- What forms of influence are possible to promote change?
- Which key players need education and training?
- How would education and training fit in with other types of influences (such as policy changes, licensing, funding)?
Keep in mind that a resource is launched in a specific context. There are winds and currents at work that can sink it or carry it. Understanding the likelihood of receptiveness to change means asking questions such as these:
- What is the “climate” in regard to change right now?
- Who else is working on this? How does that affect what you might do?
- What are competing messages your target audience is hearing?
- What variables influence change at local levels?
To fully address a given problem, you may need to consider:
- Adopting strategies in addition to training such as changes in policy, employee evaluation, or incentives for achievement;
- Reaching out in appropriate ways to other target audiences that may not need training, but do need to understand the change you are trying to make in order to play their own roles well.
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