Sources of Training: Internal or External?
Basically, if needed training does not already exist internally, organizations have three broad choices in determining how to provide training:
1. Use pre-developed training,
2. Adapt existing training, or
3. Develop new training.
These choices are applicable in the following circumstances:
1. Purchasing pre-developed (sometimes called “canned”) training.
Using existing externally developed training is appropriate when the skills can be applied to the organizational context with little or no changes in performance. For example, if the organization is adopting a new assessment instrument developed by a particular provider and intends to use it exactly as designed, vendor-provided training
to certify employees who will use the instrument may be perfectly adequate to the organization’s needs.
2. Adapting training. This approach is appropriate in many circumstances and may greatly enhance the relevance and utility of “off-the-shelf” training. Examples are when the organization wants to do any of the following:
- Integrate organization-specific procedures;
- Focus on specific modules within an existing package;
- Integrate scenarios or practice sessions to apply learning to the organizational context;
- Change the timing of training delivery to allow more target audience members to attend; or
- Alter some aspects of the model or practice presented that are not applicable.
To avoid confusing the target audience you will be training, someone familiar with the organization’s training goals should review the materials presented and talk to the prospective trainer directly about the material presented and methods used. Based on what they hear, organizations may develop an agenda in which vendor or consultant-provided training is integrated with training designed and delivered by a training specialist in the agency; ask the consultant to work with content experts or job holders at the agency to develop new material; or develop a training sequence in which the vendor-provided training is supplemented later by agency-sponsored training
3. Developing training
. When the organizational processes to be addressed are unique and specific, existing training may serve only as “inspiration,” or it may not be helpful at all. Developing training
using an internal team, perhaps supplemented by a consultant, is then the best option. When this is the case, organizations can ensure maximum quality and impact by involving both “content experts
” who know the subject well and “education specialists
” or “instructional designers
” who are experts in developing training that is geared to behavioral objectives.
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