Training Needs Analysis - The Basics

Too often a Business or a Manager make training decisions without an effective training needs analysis of what training is required, indeed if it is training that is required, to make changes to individuals, teams, departments and/or business performance.

The most effective training is delivered for recognizable business needs with defined measures for evaluating the outcomes.

This free guide provided by GNP Consulting is designed as a basis upon which to commence a Training Needs Analysis. It presents a 10 point plan – via key questions to ask when considering training needs. It is presented with Managers, Business Owners and Training professionals in mind.

Training Needs Analysis – Key Questions

Any Training Needs Analysis needs to examine the following:

1.       Business/Operational need 
How will/is training likely to benefit the business and/or operation?
How will you know when this benefit has been achieved or if it is ever going to be achieved?

2.       What data, research has been undertaken to identify training or business needs? 
How reliable is this data/research? (What Methodology/approach was undertaken?)
Is there a need for further research before you know what or if there is a training need?

3.       What are to be the training/learning objectives? 
How will these be aligned to business/operation objective/s?

4.       How and when will impact of training (change) be identifiable?
When identifying the Business/Operational Need – as the analysis progresses – re ask the questions:
How will/is training likely to benefit the business and/or operation?
How will you know when this benefit has been achieved or if it is ever going to be achieved?

The ‘devil’ is in the detail for being able to effectively evaluate and assess needs and outputs from training/learning solutions used.

5.       Timescales impacting upon design and delivery?
How will you decide on the timescales?

Detail what needs to happen. What constraints are present to making these things happen – consider the business priorities before deciding timescales – and add some time for contingency!

6.       Options available for design and delivery? 
Consider using existing facilities and resources (incl’ staff)?
Consider using external facilities and resources?

7.       What measures can be applied to evaluate the outcome? 
From various perspectives – line management, team leaders, trainers, staff, operation, business, etc.

8.       Training outcome predictions/contingencies? 
Based on solutions agreed:
What could happen?(best and worse case scenarios)
What contingencies can you prepare for?
Try to look at the training/learning intervention/solution from the different perspectives of all involved and other areas of the business that could be impacted (i.e. operational impact of the delivery of the training/learning as well as the ‘change/s’ implemented)

9.       Measures for evaluation/validation? 
What will make this training a success?
What will make it unsuccessful?

Note for Training Managers – If your client/s are vague in their answers – ensure you make them aware of the implications of not putting the measures in place. Alternatively get the measures agreed to the finest detail possible 

10.   Process (methodology) for evaluation/validation
Who/How and When will results be collated?
Who will review/analyse/assess the results?
Who/How will results be communicated?

By providing yourself with detailed answers to the above – you should have the information to enable an effective training analysis to agree the solutions and actions required to implement the training and learning and facilitate the changes the business requires.  

©GNPConsulting 2010