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Needs Analysis & Training Devleopment

Of the many projects we work on at Pathways, one that continues to provide unique challenges and opportunities is a new system launch initiative for which we will be developing and delivering all of the training. (eLearning, ILT, job aids, video, etc.…). This training will be provided to employees all over Canada in each province so while there have been a few unique challenges as I mentioned above, overall it has been exciting!

After several weeks of conferences, focus groups, workshops and meetings, we completed a detailed training strategy and have now started work one of the most important phases of a development project….the needs analysis.

Pause for a moment. Go ahead…do an Internet search for “creating a needs analysis “and I promise , you will get all the helpful tips, tricks and suggestions you want…a virtual smorgasbord of page after page of free information that provides every step in the needs analysis process in intricate detail. In some instances, there are even video instructions or web based courses you can take on the subject. So understanding this, one would think all training development projects, be they eLearning, instructor led, blended learning etc., would all be set up for success from the start. Follow the list and you are Golden., simple! But in reviewing these hundreds of articles on the subject I did notice one item that was consistently absent, and it is an important one. The missing point is this... If you do not have the right people putting pen to paper, then all your planning was a colossal waste of time.

There is no doubt that a needs analysis is a crucial and integral part of any training development project, but if you use sub-par eLearning programmers and developers, if your Instructional designers have poor writing skills or if your facilitator is not a good communicator…well your chance of a successful outcome is slim to none.

Here is the truth. Not everyone has the technical ability, creativity and imagination to create an effective whiteboard animation. Just because someone’s title is “facilitator” does not necessarily mean they are comfortable standing in front of a room full of executives who were “forced” to take a customer service course. A person can call themselves an instructional designer, but does that always mean they have above average writing skills? Simply put, no. How these folks got the roles they are in is a discussion for another day, but my point is this. When you spend a considerable amount of time, energy and resources creating a needs analysis, make damn sure you have the right people, the professionals needed to execute your vision. The good news for me….I know we have the right people at Pathways.

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