Does Your Training Prepare Participants to Perform on the Job?

October 26, 2011

Kirkpatrick Quick Tip #37

If your needs analysis reveals the need to build knowledge or skill in your target audience, training will likely be the intervention of choice. Before you pop open your laptop and start designing learning objectives, find out all you can about the desired on the job performance.

Once you are clear on what people are supposed to do on the job to meet the needs of the business, write performance objectives. These should be specific, observable and measurable behaviors that training graduates will be expected to perform on the job.

From there, creating learning objectives is easy: simply convert the performance objectives into what the participants need to learn or demonstrate during training.

Here’s an example:

Valiant Manufacturing, a maker of industrial parts, is having quality issues. 10% of what is shipped to customers is defective. After interviewing people on the production line and auditing parts in inventory, two problems were identified:

  1. Final inspections were sometimes being skipped to save time.
  2. Most of the quality problems stemmed from new employees on the hole punch line.

Problem #1 is not really a training issue; the training manager helped manufacturing to design an accountability system and awareness campaign. They made a check sheet that is placed a the inspection station that needs to be signed hourly. The importance of inspections was added to the regular morning meeting topics, and signage was placed throughout the plant about the importance of quality. Finally, a quality dashboard was placed in the break room to show progress; when the goal is reached the plant will have a company picnic.

Problem #2 is a knowledge issue, so training can help to solve it. The training manager shadowed workers on the line and talked to supervisors to further understand the exact skills and knowledge that were missing. They discovered that employees hired since the beginning of the year did not know how to operate the hole punch properly, and check the holes against the standard.

The performance / training objectives were:

  1. Operate the hole punch following all instructions.
  2. Check holes against quality standard.
  3. Explain why making holes to standard is important to Valiant Manufacturing.

Training was designed such that the the actual hole punch machine could be used, and participants could practice using it until confident, and check their work against the standard until they could replicate good results reliably. They planned a discussion to talk about the importance of meeting the hole punch standard in terms of impact on quality, customer experience, and overall profitability of Valiant.

With training streamlined to operating the one machine that was causing the quality problem, resources were used in the most productive way. Time off the job was minimized, and results maximized. The impact of the training was measured with the quality dashboard.

Additional resources:

Kirkpatrick Four Levels™ Evaluation Certification Program

Training on Trial 

ROE’S Rising Star

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