Determining the best medical training solution for your customers or employees can be challenging. Should you pull a subject matter expert out of the field to conduct live instructor-led training? Or, should you look into elearning or online training? How about a blended learning solution?
It takes a great deal of thought and careful planning to deliver a quality learning experience. A needs assessment is used as the foundation for determining learning objectives, designing training programs, and evaluating the training. However, the secret to conducting a successful needs assessment and selecting the best training solution, is to involve all the stakeholders and your target audience.
Very often training manager or marketing managers believe they know what the customer wants because they're exposed to, and in communication, with customers frequently. They then wonder why the training wasn't well received or participation rates weren't as high as expected. Yet, it shouldn't be a surprise that to ensure a return on investment on the training solution you're about to invest time and money into, you must include the target audience! With the target audience involved, you can conduct the right needs assessment and learn what is most effective directly from the horse's mouth.
Here's what you'll want to learn in order to determine the best medical training solution:
- What exactly what has to be learned - theory, product, hardware, software, process?
- The base knowledge of each participant
- The learning styles of the participant
- Location of participants and required or travel
- The impact on each particiant's work schedule
- The costs involved for the training
- Current methods of training and what is successful and what is not
Once you’ve established exactly what you want the participants to learn, how you want them to learn it, and what you’re willing to pay for their learning experience, you’re ready to begin the search for the training solution that best fits your requirements.
Novatek's instructional design (ID) teams continually exceed our clients’ expectations by performing both the right needs assessment and then creating the best training and reference solutions to meet those needs. How do we do it? With our own secret.
The strategy behind our first-class training and reference solutions is an Active Knowledge Assessment. When starting with a full assessment of a company's knowledge around a process or product, understanding where the knowledge is stored, what is keeping it static or unshared, and uncovering where the gaps are, we can identify where on the Active Knowledge scale a company is positioned. From there, we create a plan, through reference and training solutions, to make that knowledge top-of-mind or accessible at one's finger-tips.
Here are some steps to start that process in your organization:
- Audience and size
- Location and reach
- Existing knowledge and prerequisite training
- A typical day in the life of your target audience
- What is the problem?
- What are the challenges involved in solving the problem?
- What is the economic impact of the problem?
- What is the potential return on investment (ROI)?
Evaluate the options and select the best training solution:
- Instructor-led training, including the traditional classroom setting or a virtual classroom, is the best choice if you have complex information that employees are unfamiliar with. The instructor is able to guide each training participant through the material and answer questions as they arise. The instructor can also explain complex topics, provide hands-on examples, and pace the class according to the comprehension of the participants.
- Online training or eLearning can be the best choice for an audience that is decentralized, on the go, or has high turnover. As long as the audience is comfortable with technology and the training topic can be broken down into manageable chunks, self-paced online training can save your organization time and money from repeating training over and over.
- Blended learning is fast becoming a popular training solution because it allows instructors to get the most out of their planning and classroom time while permitting training participants to master the content and skills they need at their own pace. The results of a smart blend is to accommodate the various learning styles of the participants.
8 Tips for a Successful Training Solution
- Establish a completion date that allows participants to be fully trained by the launch date of a product or the implementation of a service. Make sure all stakeholders are aware of and agree to the project schedule.
- Consider the needs of all participants. Do not use a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Make sure the subject matter experts (SMEs) focus only on what the participants need to know.
- Evaluate and design the solution that focuses on the training rather than the technology being used. New hires can learn your organization’s procedures; current employees can learn new procedures; managers can learn how to improve their processes.
- Use a flexible approach that engages the participants. If course content is too easy, participants become bored. If it’s too difficult, they can become frustrated. Whatever you do, make their learning experience fun and worthwhile.
- Communicate with everyone on the team throughout program development and implementation. It’s critical to interact with everyone who is impacted by or has influence on the final training program such as project sponsors, SMEs, potential participants, and other IDs. Stay in touch with all stakeholders throughout the project.
- Make sure that the various elements of the program are workable and practical within the organization’s constraints and the daily routine of the employees. Use meetings, emails, and the phone to confer as needed with all stakeholders.
- Test, test, and re-test. Generally, organizations achieve the best results when training programs are associated with some type of certification. Periodic testing, allows participants to demonstrate that they have actually achieved the learning objectives before they complete the course.
- Measure the results. Use a formal evaluation process to measure how participants responded to the training and how their workplace behaviors were changed as a result of the training. The overall training ROI can also be measured as part of this evaluation.
Have you implemented an off-the-chart training success? What about a training flop? Tell us what made your training solution a success or not in the comments below.
Interested in learning more about how to select the best training option for your audience?