The speed of change in today’s business world is blistering. Product offers, marketing strategy, corporate structure and company policies evolve rapidly in the fluid, hyper-connected world of 2017. Training is integral to helping teams adapt to this wide spectrum of change, but organizations often have to figure out how to build a training program with limited prep time.
This means trainers need to be agile. But agility is not just about working quickly It’s about being adaptable and being ready with a reliable plan in place for when a sudden training need emerges.
Do you only have a month to develop a training program? Tough, but not impossible. Employ this agile five-part schedule, and you will be able to smoothly create an impactful training experience for your staff.
Related reading: Launch an Online Training Center in 30 Days or Less
Days 1-2: Develop training goals
When time is short, you need to be resolutely focused on your learning objectives, so the first step is to define them. Sometimes the objectives will be given to you, and sometimes you’ll have to find them yourself. In the latter case, the fastest approach is to work backward from where you want your staff to be at the end of training.
Let’s say a new regulation has just passed. You want your team to be able to learn what they need to meet compliance benchmarks. But how do they get there? What processes will have to change, who will carry the burden of meeting the new requirements and how will non-compliance professionals be affected?
In the process of researching these basic practical questions, you will discover what your staff needs to learn. Refine your findings down to a bullet-point list of learning objectives and you will have the foundation you need to build your training program.
Days 3-6: Assess the audience
While the time constraints may tempt you to move right to the planning phase, it’s important to remember that training is only effective when it’s designed for the trainees. With the “What” established, now you have to spend some time thinking about the “Who.”
Numerous personal factors impact training development for a specific audience. Aside from the learning objectives, these include ideal learning styles, previous knowledge of the subject, the learning environment and strategies for retention and application.
That may seem like a lot to accomplish in such a short time, but it’s achievable. Pull your employees aside individually for quick five-minute powwows or email them a quick survey to gauge their learning background.
Also, take note of your team’s location and schedules. Is this a dispersed team comprised of some or all remote workers? Are there schedule clashes that prevent the team from being trained simultaneously?
It’s unlikely your whole team will be able to come together for a group training session under such short notice — but with today’s options for on-demand and online training, this should be an opportunity rather than a problem.
Days 7-16: Build training plan
A key part of knowing how to build a training program in a month is recognizing the importance of a plan. Now it’s time to take the learning objectives and your audience assessment and use them to create a training plan that meets everyone’s needs.
The specifics of your plan will be contingent on the nature of the project; there are many ways to write a plan and many different aspects you can include. Broadly speaking, however, the plan should explain:
- What the training will be
- Who will receive the training
- What timetable will be used
- What materials will be required
- Who will administer/supervise the training
- How competency will be tested
As you design the plan, break down your agenda as thoroughly and specifically as possible. If your training will be segmented into different tracks for different areas of your team, highlight the differences between those tracks.
This is the time to get into the nitty-gritty details. Instead of just listing the session times, outline the material each session will cover — and what benefit your trainees will get from it.
Even if you don’t have ten days to plan — even if you only have one — you should be able to jot down rough responses to each of those points. Planning not only gives your training much-needed structure, but it forces you to think in a tactical way that will increase your impact.
Related reading: Prepare for an LMS Implementation With This Project Plan
Days 17-26: Develop training program content
With a plan established, you now need training tools. Since most of your training will likely happen online, the most time-consuming aspect of this phase — and the reason 10 days have been allocated in this schedule — is developing the online courses your staff will use.
To develop training content quickly, you need to choose your learning management system (LMS) and course authoring tools carefully. Features such as video integration, quizzes, and analytics are important for online training and should be intuitive and easy to use. If they’re not embedded into the platform and accessible to even non-experts, the content creation process becomes too laborious.
If you’re going to be training your entire staff on the same topic, one feature that will be particularly important to look for in your authoring software is reusable content and templates. When designing multiple versions of a course for each of your different departments, this will allow you to repeat material without starting from scratch on each new course, saving considerable time.
If there are any extra materials you need to order, such as worksheets, self-study books or videos, this is the time to do so.
Related reading: Create Online Courses That Engage With These 7 Tips
Days 27-30: Finalize, test and launch
Before you pull the proverbial trigger, spend the last few days doing a final overview. Proof your plan one more time, make any last-minute tweaks and touch base with your team members to make sure everyone is on the same page with implementation.
You should also perform a final quality check of the courses you’ve created. The best way to do that is to take them yourself and search for bugs or gaps in the material. Once you feel reasonably confident in your work, release your training program.
Knowing how to build a training program swiftly will serve you again
A final piece of advice: You’re bound to be in a similar situation in the future, so use this as a learning experience. Review your process after the training is done to identify mistakes and learn ways to correct them if they crop up again. Change may happen fast, but with a willingness to learn, you can keep up.