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If you are conducting a Training Needs Analysis with every training project, you are ahead of the game. Many instructional designers get an assignment, open a tool, and start developing their training. If you are not completing the Training Needs Analysis, let’s change that and supercharge your training design!
If you are using the ADDIE Instructional Design model, you begin with Analysis. Just make sure you go all in on it and really analyze the training needs by completing the 3-Step Training Needs Analysis template. You can find this template and more in my FREE, ultimate Instructional Design Starter kit.
When instructional designers skip the Training Needs Analysis, they are setting themselves and the training up for failure.
Have you ever been in a situation where the conversation about what should have been in the training came after you were done building it? I have, and it sucked! But guess what, it was my fault because I didn’t ask any questions. It was my job to ask, and I didn’t so that mistake was on me.
Training Needs Analysis
Now, wouldn’t it just be amazing if every training you created was perfect? I know this is just a dream but you can get closer to perfect by completing a Training Needs Analysis. Download a free copy of the Training Needs Analysis template here.
When you get a new training project, simply follow these 3-steps and get improved results!
- Ask the Business Owner for More Information.
- Schedule a Scoping Meeting.
- Host the Scoping Meeting and Complete the Training Needs Analysis Template.
In the following sections, I will cover what you should do during each of these three steps to help you supercharge your trainings.
Step 1: Ask the Business Owner for More Information
After painfully learning that it was a mistake to assume or guess what went into a training, I became more methodical in my analysis. Today, I complete the Training Needs Analysis template with nearly every training I create. I even complete the process for trainings I personally want and build.
When building courses for others, I ask them (i.e. the business owners) questions about the training. Business owners are usually the people who request the training or the department that needs the training.
For some strange reason, many of us fear asking questions. That fear seems to be more powerful when we are speaking to a VP or Chief something or another. We have this unrealistic idea that we should know all the answers. So wrong! That is what the Subject Matter Experts are for. We come, as experts in instructional design, with questions and they, as SMEs, provide the answers.
Asking questions is a basic component of analysis and of understanding goals and needs. If we don’t ask, we don’t know.
So, what questions should you ask?
When a training request comes in or when you are assigned a training, send your business owner (i.e. requestor) these questions to complete.
- What is the training topic/title?
- In 2-3 sentences, how would describe the training?
- Which key performance indicators/business objectives does this training support?
- Is there a desired course length?
- Who are the Subject Matter Experts?
- What are the success metrics for the training?
You may be wondering why these questions and why ask them before the Scoping meeting? The answers to these questions can help you with 3 very important activities.
First, these answers can help you prioritize the training. If there is an immediate business need for the training, it might get moved to the front of the line to be worked on.
Second, these questions can help you determine about how long it might take you to build the training.
And, third, asking these questions and expecting answers, let’s your business owner know that building good training is a collaborative process.
What do you do when the business owner won’t answer the questions in advance?
If you have a business owner who is too busy or just plain difficult and won’t answer the questions, it’s okay. Gather as much information as you can and move on to step 2 with whatever information you have.
Step 2: Schedule a Scoping Meeting
I always recommend instructional designers begin a training project with a Scoping meeting. You will invite the business owners, Subject Matter Experts, and anyone else who will be involved with the training to the meeting. This might be leadership, your analytics team, developers, or end-users.
The Scoping meeting, often called the Kick Off meeting, is the time to ask questions and clarify roles and responsibilities.
Could you imagine if an IT team was asked to create a Training app and started building it? How would they build an app satisfying the customer if the team never asked what should be in the app? They wouldn’t be able to unless they got really lucky.
The same is true for us as instructional designers. Without an insane amount of luck, we can’t build trainings meeting our business owner’s expectations without knowing what they expect. The good news is that it takes very little time and work to understand wants, needs, and goals.
In your invite, you can explain the ground rules of the meeting, the goals of the meeting, and any pre-work that needs to be completed as well as provide the information collected in Step 1.
Step 3: Host the Scoping Meeting and Complete the Training Needs Analysis
Every instructional designer does things a little different and that’s okay. Some have meetings and ask questions. Others use sticky notes to brainstorm content. And, some do nothing and just get to work. I use a Training Needs Analysis template.
What is important is that you are completing an analysis. How you do it doesn’t matter as long as you are doing it.
Running the Scoping meeting
A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of going through a Ferrazzi Greenlight program about building organizational culture. The program was founded by Keith Ferrazzi, who authored Never Eat Alone. In the program, we were taught some basic principles for fostering collaboration. I have incorporated some of the basic yet powerful tenets of that program into my Scoping meetings.
At the start of every Scoping meeting, I thank everyone for participating, go over the agenda, state the goal of the meeting is to complete the Training Needs Analysis, and review the ground rules I have for the meeting. Then, I ask for everyone’s agreement on the ground rules, goal, and the agenda.
I also ask for a volunteer or two to help us keep on task and stick to the agenda. In the Ferrazzi Greenlight program, we referred to these individuals as Yodas. I then explain the volunteer’s role and that the volunteer has been empowered to bring us back to the agenda any time a member of the group takes us off on a tangent. You won’t believe how powerful this is in managing the Scoping meeting or any meeting for that matter.
As you can imagine, different people have different perspectives on what is important to include in a training. Keeping the conversation on the Training Needs Analysis and empowering people to keep the group focused is very effective.
Completing Step 3 of the Training Needs Analysis template
After going over the expectations of the meeting, it’s time to dig in and get more information. You can get more information by going through each of the bullet points listed below and asking clarifying questions as you go.
If someone gives you vague answers or pushes off an answer, I give you permission to lean in. Leaning in means you ask questions until you have the information you need.
People don’t love more questions. They don’t love being put on the spot or getting specific enough to be held accountable. Sometimes you have to push them outside their comfort zone to get to the real answers.
As an instructional designer, you own getting the information. Digging deeper and leaning in may push you out of your comfort zone, too. The good news is that this discomfort does not last forever. Just push and lean in politely.
Here are the questions you will cover.
- Who is the audience for this training? (use personas if you have them)
- What should the learner be able to do following the training?
- Who is the Subject Matter Expert (SME)?
- How will we evaluate the desired results have been accomplished?
- Which delivery method will be used?
- If F2F, who will be the facilitator?
- Will a facilitator’s guide be needed?
- Is voice or onscreen talent needed? If yes, who?
- Which tools are needed?
- Will there be an end of course assessment?
- Are there any existing trainings or resources that should be reviewed?
- Are there any specific visuals that should be included?
- Can I get a commitment from the person signing off to complete all reviews with in 2 business days?
- How many reviews will we have? Agree upon the number of planned reviews – set expectations and write them down
After the Scoping Meeting
Soon after the scoping meeting is completed, it is a good idea to send out an email recap. You will want to include the completed Training Needs Analysis template with all of the information you have collected. This is another opportunity for you to ensure everyone is aligned on the goals and content of the training.
Going through this process and completing the Training Needs Analysis template can improve your trainings. Simply getting together with key stakeholders at the start of a training project to discuss the needs of the training increases communication, facilitates information gathering, creates alignment and fosters collaboration.
Does any of this sound bad to you? No, I don’t think so either. It’s all positive.
Now, that you have an overview of the Training Needs Analysis, try it out. Once you do, jump over to The Hangout, a group for instructional design lovers at all levers. Share how it went with me and the Hangout community! I would love to hear from you and learn how well your Training Needs Analysis went.
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The Testimonials are In:
Working with Shanwtay and Katie at the Instructional Design Company was a dream come true. Their creativity, expertise, and professionalism throughout the entire process was beyond top notch. I engaged them to help turn my first book into a training course, and I could not be happier with how the final product turned out. If you have an instructional design project and you’re considering which company to work with, you can stop your search and thank me later. They are truly the best in the business.
I joined the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program because I struggled to find jobs in instructional design beyond the development phase. I’ve done a couple of training programs with lots of random projects, but I was overwhelmed, not connecting the dots, and not good at structuring my writing to hit learning objectives. I was looking for motivation and direction at beginning a better Instructional Designer.
After taking the Instructional Design & Tech Certificate program and joining my fantastic team for support, I found the structure and approach to be what I need to take my next steps, evening improving my skills in the development stage.
Teacher, Future Instructional Designer
I love how this course let’s you work at your own pace. I got great tips and learned many things. The ongoing support for multiple people and groups is what I love the best. You are never alone in this process. I have been able to adjust my resume and began creating a portfolio of work I’ve completed to add when applying for jobs. I use many of the PowerPoint skills in my lessons and trainings. I would highly recommend this for anyone wanting to become an instructional designer.
Teacher, Future Instructional Designer
I have searched for the last few years to find some suitable career change where I wouldn’t have to earn another degree and where I could use the talents and skills I already have as a teacher. When I came across the Instructional Design Accelerator course, I loved the fact that Shawntay was a former teacher and could relate to a teacher’s need to transition from the classroom. This was what sold the course for me. Her experiences are invaluable especially when translating teacher duties to instructional designer duties. I would (and have) recommended this program to other teachers I know who are looking to transition out of the classroom. I do appreciate ALL of her feedback on my projects!
L&D Project Manager
The Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator certificate program is one of the most comprehensive ID programs out there for beginners. If you’re looking to grow your schools in ID and development then I highly recommend this program. Not only will this program give you an overview of theory, but you will receive a thorough walkthrough of how to apply what you have learned. Although I had already secured a position in Learning & Development when I bought this course, it helped me to move up into a new position as a Learning & Development Project Manager!
Future Instructional Designer
If you have any interest in ID, sign up for this program NOW! Shawntay and her team are top notch! The course content exceeded my expectations in a big way and the encouragement and support continues to be so valuable. You will not feel alone going through this course, you will learn so much, you’ll have many cheerleaders, and you will have fun!
Future Instructional Designer
I am really enjoying this program! It’s prerfect for someone who is thinking about a career shift to Instructional Design and does not have a lot of experience. This is my first real introduction to Instructional Design and it’s been the perfect beginner course to help me get my feet wet. The modules are broken down well and it’s great to go at your own pace and at your own time. The modules themselves are very comprehensive and you learn a lot from all of them. I really like how each one build upon each other and you’re working towards the bigger project of designing your first training course from scratch. I’m learning so much from going through this course! I was provided great feedback from Katie and Shawntay through the process via Trello Boards, comments on the Google documents, and Facebook group. This course has been well worth the time and effort and I appreciate the fact that I will always have the resources available to me after I complete the training (just in case I’m not quite ready to transition yet).
Future Instructional Designer
I can’t say enough great things about the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program! The length of the program is perfect; it doesn’t feel rushed and there’s just the right amount of structure to give you the accountability you need. There are so many opportunities to get live answers to any questions you have related to the course content or anything ID-related! This program gave me the support and structure I needed to both feel affirmed in the relevant skills I already had coming in and to fill in the gaps I had as a career-changer going into ID. Shawntay, Katie, and all the coaches are super helpful and supportive. I now feel confident that I have the tools and access to resources I need to apply for ID jobs without wondering if there’s something I’m “missing” in the preparation process. I’d highly recommend this program to anyone wanting to transition into ID or who just wants to brush up on their skills in the field.
Krista Johnson Awomoyi
Freelance Instructional Designer
I’d highly recommend the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program. I’m blown away by how much I learned in just 12 weeks. I had ID experience prior to taking this course and was just looking to get a better understanding of applying adult learning principles. This course well exceeded my expectations! Not only did I gain a clear understanding of adult learning principles, I was also able to apply those principles by creating assets for your portfolio using PowerPoint, Adobe Premiere Pro and Storyline. The hands on support that we received was top notch.
This program is one of the most robust yet fulfilling L&D programs I’ve seen. I learned so much about the industry and about the limitlessness of my own capabilities. I am so appreciative of Shawntay and all of the trainers who took part in the program. They went above and beyond with not only guiding, but communicating live and working one on one or in small groups. If you are on the fence, I say take the leap and you will not regret it! There’s so much to learn, not only from the trainers, but also the learners in your group. Everyone comes in with their own skills and can be additional support and guidance for you. Thank you for creating this program!
Instructional Designer Training Facilitator
Shawntay is an amazing individual. She is very knowledgeable in all aspects of ID and eLearning. She is also very compassionate and loves to help and see everyone around her grow and prosper. Shawntay has been a great mentor to me and she has helped me mature as an instructional designer and eLearning developer. She has provided me with opportunities when others have overlooked me. I am very grateful to have met and built a lifelong relationship with Shawntay.
I recently got hired into my first instructional design / training position and Shawntay was one of the first people to congratulate me!
Freelance Instructional Designer
My teacher-to-instructional-designer journey began two years ago when I left my teaching comfort zone and started my first freelance ID job. Now, I’m stepping out of the classroom and taking my freelance work full-time, so I’m thrilled to be joining the Tech Accelerator program. Adding technologies like Articulate 360 and Adobe Premiere Pro to my qualifications will help me take my courses to the next level and attract more clients!
Teacher Transitioning into Instructional Design
I am genuinely grateful for this course. I wanted a real-world perspective and feel like I got it. I’m teaching now, but nearing retirement age but can see myself working as an instructional designer well into my retirement years. My other goal is to take as many courses in statistics as possible in hopes of bringing some mathematical precision to the ROI question. Like you say, getting accurate metrics to measure ROI can be a challenge, but I intend to work on that part. That’s unimportant right now, what is important is the fact that I feel like this course was well worth every penny I spent and I would to it again in a heartbeat. I have too much going on right now, but as soon as I get some time freed up I intend to take your course in project management.
Turns Your Written Thoughts Into a Masterpiece!
Shawntay Skjoldager can turn your written thoughts into a masterpiece. She is great to work with and the most organized person I know!
President and CEO, The Creative Entreprenuer
Shawntay has been incredible!
Shawntay has been incredible and her team is responsive and effective in translating my training programs into professional presentations. Don’t hesitate to contact her for your project.
Beth B. De Lima, MBA, SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP
President and Principal of HRM Consulting, Inc.
IDC is My Secret Weapon to Soar Above My Competition!
The IDC team has been my secret and special weapon of success. They have delivered above and beyond with every single project out in front of them. They have met and beat timelines. They have been Uber responsive every step of the way. I keep them on speed dial and have and continue to recommend them to friends and clients. If you are in need of instructional design and plenty more, this is THE ALL-STAR team that will more than deliver and help make you and your project soar above the competition.
LT. COL. Jason O. Harris
U.S. Air Force Officer, Special Operations Pilot, U.S.A.F. Academy Instructor, Motivational Speaker
A Tremendous Asset to the Project Team!
Working with Shawntay and the Instructional Design Company has allowed our university to meet the growing demands of our programs. Shawntay’s expertise allowed for the course development to be completed on time and met all of the university requirements. Shawntay’s project management skills were phenomenal and allowed my team to work on other areas while she completed this project for us. Her work is of high quality and her professionalism and willingness to help made her a tremendous asset to the project team.
Academic Quality Assurance Specialist, Abilene Christian University
Creative & Highly Talented!
Shawntay is a creative and highly talented instructional designer. She brought a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and leadership that enabled her to own the design and creation of a full scale facilitator curriculum and train-the-trainer program. It was a pleasure to partner with Shawntay, her project management and communication skills ensured the project was on time and on budget.
Breaks Down Mammoth Projects
“Shawntay is quick study and carefully synthesizes information for presentations that are clear, concise and captivating. Her personality draws the audience in and her content mastery is excellent. A team player and organizer, Shawntay has the ability to break down mammoth projects, keep everybody on time and on task.”
Author, Speaker, Strengths Coach
“I have had many opportunities to work with Shawntay—mainly in the support of implementing new eLearning initiatives. I have been very impressed by her ability to quickly learn how to use rapid eLearning development tools and effectively use them to create multiple courses within a short timeframe. Shawntay’s enthusiastic nature, attention to detail, and dedication to her work make her a pleasure to work with and a great asset to both Texas A&M University-Commerce and the broader training community within the Texas A&M University System.”
Director of Learning Strategy, Caveo Learning
Top Notch Professional
Working with Shawntay has been an immense pleasure. She is atop notch professional who brings enthusiasm and extensiveexpertise to professional curriculum development and execution. Her knowledge of tried and true techniques to maximize the effectiveness of presentations is invaluable.
Nancy Drapeau, PRC
Vice President of Research, CEIR - Center for Exhibition Industry Research
Fortunate to Find Shawntay!
“I was fortunate to find Shawntay when our organization was looking to expand and update our educational offerings. Shawntay proved herself to be an educational and personal development expert who immediately made an impact with our clients throughout Europe. Everyone who came into contact with Shawntay was immediately impressed by her level of expertise and willingness to share her knowledge with those around her. I would not hesitate to recommend Shawntay to anyone looking for an education subject matter expert.”
Director of Qualifications and NSD Services, Mary Kay Inc.
Short Turn Around. On Time. Under Budget!
“We hired Shawntay to develop a training facilitator’s guide and PowerPoint slide deck for an operations manual heavy with technical content. The project was made more challenging by a very short turn around, 5 business days, and the fact that the operations manual wasn’t complete and was being updated simultaneously with the facilitator’s guide and slide deck. Despite these challenges, Shawntay delivered as promised. On time and under budget.”
Dave Beeman, CPP
Vice President, Andy Frain Services
Need an Expert Who Consistently Delivers?
“Working with Shawntay you will immediately notice her professional presence and poise, but over time her tenacious pursuit of excellence and her skills in instructional development and adult learning will really impress you. I worked with her at Mary Kay, and was able to experience firsthand her great rapport with regional partners in Europe, understanding their unique sales force training needs. In addition, Shawntay consistently exhibited grace under pressure, made executive decisions to move business forward. If you are looking for an expert who consistently delivers and goes the extra mile to get things done, contact Shawntay!”
Marketing Director, Academic Partnerships
Quality Products & Solutions!
“I had had the pleasure of knowing and working with Shawntay on more than a few occasions. I found her to be a very good business partner and very committed to delivering a quality product or solution in a timely manner. I have always had a positive experience in partnering with Shawntay and would recommend that you consider leveraging her talent.”
Judy Owen, CPC
Transformational Leadership Coach
“Invest in yourself and take your skills to the next NEXT level!”
Get yourself signed up for Shawntay Skjoldager’s Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program today and be on your way to success! Within the first week of taking her course, you will experience growth! Be sure to plug into her Facebook Q&A sessions for personalized help, too. This is THE course to take if you are new to instructional design or have landed on the training team and need help getting started.
Managing Partner, PHiG
“Her enthusiasm for adult learning is contagious!”
Shawntay has exceptional knowledge and experience with all aspects of creating and implementing effective, performance based training for adults. She is exceptional at needs analysis – identifying target audiences and collaborating with business owners to keep training focused on business needs. And she is great to work with – always providing great support to get projects done on-time and on-target. She is always on the look-out for new and more effective ways to engage learners. Her enthusiasm for adult learning is contagious!
eLearning Developer/Instructional Designer, Vivos Therapeutics
I have known and worked with Shawntay as a education program director and use the expertise of ShawntayMichelle for the development of my presentations. The service has always been “spot on” with professionalism, care and attention. Shawntay’s recommendations to my ideas make me look good to my clients.
Al Lomas CMP, CEM, CMM, CFE
Owner, Certified Consulting Services
“Shawntay Skjoldager reached in and made my training life so much easier!”
I am new to the training design and development world and I was SO excited to get in there, but I really lacked the real-world knowledge that would set me apart from my peers. And, then Shawntay Skjoldager walked into my life with an outstretched hand and a seemingly endless list of ways to knock every training out of the park. From the Training Analysis Form to the Tay Tay tips, this course made my life so much easier and even ironed out the review process that I had been struggling with for months.
Take time to invest in your own learning and make sure to put Shawntay Michelle at the top of your personal development list!
Training Specialist, LegalShieldCourses