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The "TOM" of Training—How well did we do/Did we do what we required?

As part of our training wellness plan, we need to outline how and when we will assess the effectiveness of the training treatment. It may be that we want to have a traditional "test" to see what the students are taking from the training. Of course, it would have been wise to have a pre-test before the training started to both assess student level coming into training and to provide a baseline to measure what was learned. You may choose to have a hands-on test with a canned problem or problems to test what the students learned and to reinforce what was presented. Follow-up with management or supervision back in the work environment is a good way to ensure that what the treatment plan called for actually occurred. It would, also, pay to follow-up three or six or "n" months after the training to see if what your original learning outcomes were are still being practiced in the work environment. This later follow-up and feedback are valuable tools in determining if more, different, reinforcing, or some other form of training are required to meet the goals and objec­tives of the training. This is really no different than the customer surveys sent out with a product or a service follow-up to get feedback on "How are we doing?"

What have we forgotten? We've sought feedback from everyone in the organization except those directly im­pacted by the training. It is crucial that we get feedback at the end of the course, seminar, training session, workshop, or whatever we call it so the students can tell what went right, what went wrong, and what future direction might be. And, as with the work environment, three, or six or "n" month follow-up and feedback should be requested from the students to determine if what they learned is working in the work environment. If the answer is "no", then the next logical question is whether it is the student isn't using what was taught or the organization is not rewarding nor using what was taught. Either of those conditions are indicative of some sort of wellness problem in the organi­zation and our goal must be to discover if the diagnosis and/ or the prescription were wrong. As an aside, if the training course can award community college or college credit or CEUs or some other type of "credit" to the student, it reinforces the "worth" of education adn training to both the organization and the individual

Without this feedback and follow-up, there is no means of making the necessary adjustments to improve the training process. And, without  continuous improvement and process refinement and improvement, it is not likely that the organization will make the progress necessary to remain competitive since everyone is moving towards different goals and objectives.

The "ECN" of Training—How do we make changes, both in process and as product improvement?

As in the manufacturing process, if one does not provide for responsive change control, the training offered may well not remain.competitive. This means that, as we put the training plan together, we must make provisions which enable us to make necessary changes in courseware, docu­mentation, delivery, timing, and all the other factors which can affect how well we perform any task. Often, as an instructor, you realize that things are not "going as they should" during a training session and there is a need to make an on-the-spot alteration to meet the learning objec­tives you've set out. On the other hand, you may realize that, next time, training might be more effective if some­thing is done differently and you need to capture that for posterity. Change control in training is not much different from manufacturing change control, you need a mechanism for capturing, evaluating, and, if necessary institutionaliz­ing changes which will improve the "product," the training session. And, remember, these changes are not personal property, any changes must be available to anyone else involved in that particular training package and any other package impacted—don't hide your light under a bushel, share the "light."

To be Continued

For balance of this article, click on the below link:
Lean Manufacturing Articles and go to Series 02


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