Are you identifying your learners’ training needs?

by Brett Henebery28 Mar 2017
The 2017 Workplace Learning Report found that the average shelf life of skills is less than five years.

As the employment landscape undergoes major changes, this clearly has significant ramifications for training in the workplace.

“The concept of a career is being shaken to its core. Employees now enjoy the prospect of 60-year careers. Yet at the same time, the half-life of skills is rapidly falling,” the report states.

“These new realities are forcing companies to rethink how they manage careers and deliver always-on learning and development (L&D) opportunities.”

According to the report, the number one way that L&D professionals currently train their learners is through instructor-led classes, followed by peer-to-peer coaching and e-learning.

However, each individual learner is different, and as such they are likely to have different training needs. Recent reports show that just three-in-five L&D professionals understand the crucial questions that they need to ask of their learning providers.

Educator, professional speaker, and top LinkedIn Learning Author, Professor Todd Dewett, says too many training dollars are misspent because they “do not address the right skills at the right time”.

“We often apply off-the-shelf information instead of thoughtful knowledge. Transitioning to a learning consultant begins with mastering the art of listening,” he said.

Dr Britt Andreatta advises L&D professionals to master the art of identifying training needs. Below, she suggests three ways that organisations can achieve this aim.

Establish a two-way relationship
Make it clear that the partnership is vital, and that both parties have valuable insight and information that will shape the success of the outcome. Use data that is learner and business focused to help show value and build credibility.

Ask lots of questions
Learn everything you can about the challenges that need to be addressed. Identify not only what the current state is, but focus in on what the ideal state looks like.

Design and deliver a solution that creates the needed results
This requires using agile design principles to pilot first drafts, seeking critical feedback from both partners and participants, and iterating until the data show that the results were achieved.

Related stories:
Don’t neglect your mature-age workers training needs
What you should be asking your learning provider