What are the basic steps to effectively design a training program ?

Training has an important part in the modern organization. Companies spend substantial enormous sums in the training of their employees. Hence, it is of utmost essence to ensure that the training programs designed and conducted meet the training requirements of the organizations. All the training programs should be customized to meet the needs of individual and organizational needs.

The process of designing an effective training program has the following stages: 

1. Definition of the training needs: In this phase, the needs of the organization are understood. These needs are not analyzed in isolation but in the context of the objectives of the organization. Goals are the long term objectives of the company such as reaching a position in the market, attaining a sales target. Needs are those factors which will enable the company to attain those goals, such as, training in hardware and software, negotiation skills etc. 

2. Definition of the target employees: The next phase of designing the training program involves identifying the employees or a section of the employees who need training. This is imperative, since, training resources are limited and training programs, in general, may be specific to employees who are at a specific capacity and position in the organization. The employees should also be involved in this process as this makes the training programs more meaningful and productive. 

3. Development of the content: In the majority of cases, the content development can be done by in-house experts. The content is usually done on the basis of a manual or a process chart, which already exists. In the remaining situations, help from an external vendor is necessary. Examples of these can include training in rules and regulations, behavioral training, training in computer competency etc. The development of the content also includes allied steps such as optimization of the delivery methods, pacing of the training to prevent boredoms, developing notes, proper sequencing of the training modules, effective testing to measure training at the end of the program or periodically etc. 

4. Outlining the results expected from the training program: This step is extremely important as this gives an idea of the efficiency of the training program. This enables modification of the training programs in tune with the requirements. Some examples of results expected are higher efficiency, improved safety levels, better sales results, a more productive workplace etc.

At the end of the training program, feedback from the participants and tests should be conducted to gauge the success of the training program.