Tuesday, July 18, 2006

How do you set a favorable training condition

A pre requisite for effective learning to take place is the creation of proper climate that is helpful in learning. This can be broadly categorized as

1. Institutional Climate
2. Climate for Training sessions
Currently we are more concerned towards the Training Climate setting and let’s discuss them in detail

Mutual Respect:

One will be open to learning if they feel that individual is respected. If there is any negative feeling about them like being talked down or neglected then the conducive environment for it will not be there. This can be developed using various methods, most commonly used are name calling (trainer and the participants), I normally use the method where in during my introduction I tell them that it will be a interactive session and if they don’t ask questions we will not be able to learn, also I some time throw questions to people in order to make it a more interactive and also help them unleash their true knowledge, this helps in creating mutual respect among participants and trainer.

Collaborative ness:

This sharing of experience exercise helps the participants to start seeing themselves as mutual helpers rather than rivals. I feel the richest resources in the training hall are participants themselves and the trainers.


As a trainer one will have to help the people in learning rather than being judgmental of their activities, this makes them feel that the trainer is there to help them, hence the learning will be more effective.

Climate of fun:

learning should be one of the most joyful things we do and so as a trainer one has to make the experience enjoyable. One can make use of humor appropriately

Human Climate:

Learning is a human activity and training is for animals. So one should try and establish a climate in which people feel that they are being treated as human being and not objects.

Once we have done this then probably can move towards creating a mechanism for planning: if as a trainer one can involve participants to let him know what is that they are expecting in the program to be covered then there will sense of belonging, like when you take some decision or plan for an action, if you think you have opted for such action then the ownership or the responsibility is that much more than where it is some one else’s job. This helps in actually creating a sense of belonging for a training program.

Diagnosing the participant’s learning need: In a particular training event involving individuals, a learning need is not a need unless so perceived by the learner. A trainer’s responsibility is to make them understand the conditions and providing them with the tool to translate the need into training.

Translating learning needs into objectives: having diagnosed their need, it should get translated into learning objectives, positive statements of direction of growth

Designing and managing a pattern of learning experience: once the objective is set, then one will have to see how to meet them. This will include the identifying the resources most relevant to each objective and the most effective strategies.

once the programme is ready and then conducted then one will take the objective and subjective feedback in order to gauge the effectiveness of the training and also the meeting of objectives.

So with these one can actually set a right climate for the training program with adults

Attributes of a good trainer

Some attributes I think are must for an Effective Trainer are

1. A trainer should be a very personable individual who gets along well with others and can empathize with the experience of a variety of individuals.

2. He should like to learn. I heard once that you live longer if you stretch your mind both vertically and horizontally. If that is the case then a trainer may just live forever as he should continually drill deeper into his own field and constantly delving into projects that require other fields of expertise.

3. He should believe in the products that he uses. As working daily with the technologies that one writes and speaks about. He should always explore any areas that are unknown and practice with elements he uses less often.

4. Should be a very confident speaker. Should enjoy the work that he does and love to talk about it. Should freely share the knowledge he has attained with others. Should be always described as a passionate person by the people he works with. He should love to "work the audience" talking back and forth and creating a true dialogue in any presentation.

5. Should not be afraid of failing nor should be afraid to admit when he is wrong. Should believe that you only truly fail if you never try. Every failure is simply an opportunity in disguise.

6. Should be goal oriented.

7. Should be a very focused individual able to use extreme levels of concentration when working.

8. I feel that one of the best qualities that a trainer should bring to any table is diversity. He should be equally comfortable with doing the planning and budgeting for a project

9. Patience is a virtue. You have no doubt heard the expression before. The classroom seems to prepare you for having a family and vice-versa.

10. Ability to ask questions and frame answers for the questions asked and then get the things out of people is a virtue one will have to develop

11. Sense of humor is something one should have to be a good trainer.

12. Its not the content but the methodology which connects the audience and the trainer is most important

13. His role is a facilitator, meaning one who brings the best out of people, hence should know how to influence people in the room

14. Should have lot of conviction about the content/about self and above all the training in itself

15. Some times he will have to be a tough negotiator with the participants in order to make them learn and help them change

16. He is a change agent, so help them metamorphose the change than just being a tutor.

17. Should be friendly and approachable by participants.

Evaluation of the effectiveness of training programmes

Assessing training effectiveness often entails using the four-level model developed by Donald Kirkpatrick (1994). According to this model, evaluation should always begin with level one, and then, as time and budget allows, should move sequentially through levels two, three, and four. Information from each prior level serves as a base for the next level's evaluation. Thus, each successive level represents a more precise measure of the effectiveness of the training program, but at the same time requires a more rigorous and time-consuming analysis.

The Kirkpatrick Model for Summative Evaluation
In 1975, Donald Kirkpatrick first presented a four-level model of evaluation that has become a classic in the industry:

  • Level One: Reaction
  • Level Two: Learning
  • Level Three: Behavior
  • Level Four: Results

These levels can be applied to technology-based training as well as to more traditional forms of delivery. Modified labels and descriptions of these steps of summative evaluation follow.

Level One: Students' Reaction
In this first level or step, students are asked to evaluate the training after completing the program. These are sometimes called smile sheets or happy sheets because in their simplest form they measure how well students liked the training. However, this type of evaluation can reveal valuable data if the questions asked are more complex. For example, a survey similar to the one used in the formative evaluation also could be used with the full student population. This questionnaire moves beyond how well the students liked the training to questions about:

·The relevance of the objectives.
·The ability of the course to maintain interest.
·The amount and appropriateness of interactive exercises.
·The ease of navigation.
·The perceived value and transferability to the workplace.

With technology-based training, the survey can be delivered and completed online, and then printed or e-mailed to a training manager. Because this type of evaluation is so easy and cheap to administer, it usually is conducted in most organizations.

Level Two: Learning Results
Level Two in the Kirkpatrick model measures learning results. In other words, did the students actually learn the knowledge, skills, and attitudes the program was supposed to teach? To show achievement, have students complete a pre-test and post-test, making sure that test items or questions are truly written to the learning objectives. By summarizing the scores of all students, trainers can accurately see the impact that the training intervention had. This type of evaluation is not as widely conducted as Level One, but is still very common.

Level Three: Behavior in the Workplace
Students typically score well on post-tests, but the real question is whether or not any of the new knowledge and skills are retained and transferred back on the job. Level Three evaluations attempt to answer whether or not students' behaviors actually change as a result of new learning.
Ideally, this measurement is conducted three to six months after the training program. By allowing some time to pass, students have the opportunity to implement new skills and retention rates can be checked. Observation surveys are used, sometimes called behavioral scorecards. Surveys can be completed by the student, the student's supervisor, individuals who report directly to the student, and even the student's customers. For example, survey questions evaluating a sales training program might include:

·Did the representative open each customer dialogue with a product benefit statement, followed by a request to proceed?
·Was the representative able to analyze and describe to you the category of customers' objections as either valid, misinformation, or smokescreen?
·Did the representative use the appropriate model answer in response to each objection?
·Did the representative close each sales call with a request for purchase?
·If the prospect did not buy anything, did the representative end the call with specific future action steps?
·Did the representative complete call history records that include summaries of who, what, where, when, and why?

Level Four: Business Results
The fourth level in this model is to evaluate the business impact of the training program. The only scientific way to isolate training as a variable would be to isolate a representative control group within the larger student population, and then rollout the training program, complete the evaluation, and compare against a business evaluation of the non-trained group. Unfortunately, this is rarely done because of the difficulty of gathering the business data and the complexity of isolating the training intervention as a unique variable. However, even anecdotal data is worth capturing. Below are sample training programs and the type of business impact data that can be measured.

·Sales training. Measure change in sales volume, customer retention, length of sales cycle, profitability on each sale after the training program has been implemented.

·Technical training. Measure reduction in calls to the help desk; reduced time to complete reports, forms, or tasks; or improved use of software or systems.

·Quality training. Measure a reduction in number of defects.

·Safety training. Measure reduction in number or severity of accidents.

·Management training. Measure increase in engagement levels of direct-reports

A training effectiveness is measured on Level 1, hence if there is any short comings found from the reaction feedback it will be shared with the concerned trainer so that he/she can improve on the same in the next programs, this will also give a better insight into the training model/structure and effectiveness, hence chances for improvements are high,

Identifying the Training Needs of the Organisations

Training needs are identified at three critical and interrelated components as per McGehee and Thayer; they are Organisational Analysis, Operational Analysis and Person Analysis.

At the organisational level As all the organisations aims for achieving the excellence in their chosen field of business, an approach must be to develop individuals by way honing his attitude towards business goals, appraising and counselling him/her which can promote harmonious work culture. The management development programme like OD, MBO etc. are the common organisational needs.

At Operational level the need for fulfilling the competence gap to perform quality output, breaking the barriers of interpersonal group effectiveness, developing confidence to take up challenges and initiatives; generally clarifies the occupational need. Among these Team Development, Group Dynamism, OJT, JIT can be considered

At Individual level Skills, knowledge and attitude are the three dimensions of a performer which contributes towards his/her total effectiveness or the competence. One can have basic knowledge and skill to justify for the job description but the improvement in these dimensions with reference to the occupational and organisational needs can bring out better results. Amongst the individual needs supervisory skill development, managerial/executive development, decision making needs etc. are the important ones.

These things can achieved thru following mechanisms

Training Need Survey: which includes person’s “present needs”, “future needs”, “individual needs”, “organisational needs” and so on and so forth, this is an opinion based results hence the chances of skew ness is more and also depends on the nature and effectiveness of the survey.

Competence Analysis
: This can be explained in simple words like

Current Level of Performance GAP Desired Level of Performance

Any deficiency in skill, knowledge and attitudes are identified for next role is identified and then the person is trained on those skills to acquire the necessity competency

Performance Appraisal Approach: Under this approach each person is measured on his individual ability to perform a given work as specified in the measurement criteria, any short fall there will be identified as training inputs and then forms the part of TNI

Task Analysis: some times as individual works effectively so long as he is performing on his own but when on a task to accomplish which involves contributions of others his efficiency is reduced. Task Analysis therefore, exposes out his weakness in dealing with others and his attributes to make him capable of running a group or performing a task effectively. Tasks specifications and the competence desired to perform the task precisely identify the training needs. But this takes time and skill.

Feedback Approach: This is the most commonly used method for TNI, the feedback can come from various sources like (a) Annual Report (b) Production Report (c) Performance Report (d) Comments from Managers/supervisors, this is an inexpensive approach to TNI as these information are obligatory from sources

Management Decision Approach: In this approach management decides who to be trained and on what, as management will have future business and areas of interest in mind, this is most suitable for a smaller organisation, but though this is inexpensive method, but lack in evidential aspect.

Organisational Values

Values are defined as characteristics of individuals that clarify what is preferred, what is selected as being important and that then guides a person's life (Rokeach, 1973; Schwartz, 1992) In one of the best-known approaches in the study of values, Rokeach (1973) defined values as modes of conduct and end states - namely instrumental and terminal values. He divided instrumental values into two categories: moral values are focused on interpersonal (e.g., helpfulness), and competence values with interpersonal (e.g., logical) modes of conduct. Rokeach classifies values as personal and social: personal values include self-centered values and self-respect, and social values include socially centered values such as equality, and world-at-peace.

There are several definitions of value: Allport, Vernon and Lindzey (1952) defined values as emotional-mental judgment toward some phenomenon.

Allport and Vermon classifies Values as

Theoretical Values which is more of discovery of truth through reasoning and systematic thinking

Economic Values which is more of usefulness and practicality

Aesthetic Values which is interest in beauty and artistic harmony

Social Values which deals with people and human relationships

Political Values which is acquiring power and creating influence on others

Religious Values which is a unity and understanding of Cosmos

All individuals will have their own ranking systems for these values, according to their individual behavior, which helps us in understanding their behavior, the fact is that different occupational people have different value system has led to a progressive organizations to improve the values-job fit in order to increase the employees performance and satisfaction