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Training preparation & planning process. Needs Assessments. Learning styles

Category: Training

Needs Assessments

Why we need «Need Assessment»? Needs Assessment is important in order to:

Define who are the beneficiaries of the training

Identify the gap between current abilities and future or desired ones which can be upgraded through a training session

• Identify the best learning and delivery method for participants.

Learning styles

Each person learns in a uniquely individualized way. Some individuals learn most effectively by hearing information (auditory learners). Others learn better by reading words, or by seeing images, graphics, or pictures (visual learners). Mane people learn by doing (kinesthetic learners). In addition to these three preferred modes of learning, other factors — environmental, emotional, and sociological — also influence the learning. It is important to note that these learning styles can all be effective and that most people learn through a combination of methods.

The instructor should accommodate his style to the learning preferences of the audience.

• Knowledge, (experience), skills and attitude

The identification of these characteristics helps the instructor in discovering examples to reinforce the importance of the presented topic. Relating new information to previous experience makes it easier for learners to acquire new knowledge. That is why the instructor should base training on the work tasks, situations, and problems faced by the learners.

• Physical characteristics

The physical characteristics should also be considered. They include manual dexterity, grip strength, lifting ability, visual and hearing ability, tolerance of extreme conditions, height, weight, sense of balance, sensitivity to chemicals, etc.

The most critical characteristics are considered the safety issues. For example, some learners could have allergic reactions to chemicals.

Visual ability is a physical characteristic that will be considered more often than safety issues, even the effect is not so critical. If learners have some problems with visual abilities, they could encounter some difficulties in understanding the drawings.

• Job position / category SME managers

Always the instructor should be aware of the targeted training group. Often training is designed and delivered for individuals possessing unique job positions, job titles, or categories because training meant to help them meet their work requirements.

The instructor can match the training requirements and the learners by collecting advance information about the participants’job positions, job categories, or other relevant characteristics. One way to do this is to obtain information about people as they sign up for training. Another way is to seek information from the human resources department. A third way is to ask prospective participants by contacting them before training by personal interview, e-mail, or other means. A fourth way is to ask their supervisors or managers so as to uncover subtle differences about people that may not otherwise be apparent. For example, an organization may have the job position of maintenance technician. However, upon exploration, the instructor may find several classifications within this position, such as electrical technician and mechanical technician. These differences in work responsibilities may be significant enough to have an impact on training.

• Gender and race

The instructor should be aware of the racial and gender composition of a training group. In most training programs, it is rare to see a homogenous group, but it can happen. Some industries or occupations attract more than their fair share of males or females, for instance, which might lead to a homogenous group of learners.

Life and career stages

When learners enter a group-training situation, they often represent many different career and life stages. The instructor should understand what these stages mean to be effective as a trainer because they affect learner interests and motivations. Some developmental stages for learners are relatively stable, while others are marked by change and conflict. Critical events in an individual’s life define and direct that person’s development. The first day on a new job is an example of a critical event that is the culmination of a process that may have begun long before the start date. Other examples of transitioning events include promotions, layoffs, and retirements.

Understanding career and life stages can be important because there is often a connection between learning and transitioning successfully through life events. Adults are most ready and willing to learn when they are confronting problems or when they are striving to realize professional or personal goals. The implication should be apparent: people are most willing to learn when they have a reason to do it.

Each person learns in a uniquely individualized way:

Tips for Visual Learners

Always have pen and paper handy. Use them doodle, take notes, draw the idea in pictures, write key words. Make an info-map. Use colored markers and highlighters to mark up text. Give your eyes a way to see the information you’re taking in.

Tips for Auditory Learners

Reduce outside interference when you read or study, or when you’re discussing something. Maybe you need to shut off the radio…unplug the phone…or go into a quieter room. Or, maybe you don’t. Notice what level of noise works best for you, and set up your learning environment that way.

Tips for Tactile-kinesthetic Learners

Be as physical as you can when you learn. Use your body in unusual ways. Sit up on the desk or table. Stand up and pace back and forth. Draw pictures in the air to fix concepts in your mind.

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