Book Review: Robert Mager’s Goals Analysis


We just read Robert Mager’s Goals Analysis, one of six books in the classic “Mager’s Six Pack” series. In this article, we’ll give you a short book review. We have another article if you’d like to study his goals analysis method in more detail.

Before we begin, know that this is part of a series of articles looking at the books and ideas in Mager’s Six Pack. So far, we’ve also got articles on the following:

With that out of way, let’s get to this book review.

Need any help with your training program at work? Check out the e-learning courses from Convergence Training, our family of learning management systems, or just contact us.


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Using an LMS to Onboard New Hires More Effectively, Efficiently

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Onboarding new employees can be time consuming, difficult, and inefficient. And, for a number of reasons–it’s often ineffective. If you’ve done it before, you already know this.

You can onboard new employees more quickly, efficiently, and effectively by using a learning management system (LMS). An LMS is a software application that companies can use to import, create, assign, deliver, and track training. You can use an LMS to deliver all sorts of training. This can include training specific to various job roles, HR training, and safety training. And–yes–you can also use an LMS when onboarding new employees.


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How to Identify and Close Skill Gaps at Work

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Consider this scenario, if you will.

You’re a training manager. Or maybe you’re someone else who is involved in training–the head of operations, or in HR, or the safety manager.

You or someone else at work determines there’s a performance problem. More specifically, you think your employees may have a skill gap.

What’s the answer? Create and lead some training? Well, maybe. But maybe not.

It’s easy to jump to the conclusion that training’s the answer for everything. But there’s nothing worse than creating a training program for a problem that the training can’t solve. You’ve now spent a bunch of money and time creating and delivering the training, and you’ve still got the problem to boot.

The best way to avoid this scenario is to take a step back and analyze the performance problem first. If you learn more about the problem, you can then figure out what the best solution for it is. Maybe it WILL be training, but maybe it will be something else.


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Chunking Manufacturing Training: How to Help Your Employees Learn

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We just wrote an extended blog post that explains the benefits of “chunking” your training materials and gives tips of how to do it. Click hereto read the extended article on chunking for training.

Otherwise, if you’d like a high-level overview and then would like to see an example of chunking applied to manufacturing training, read on.

The Bird’s Eye View on Chunking Training Materials

  1. Chunking refers to taking training material (during the design phase), breaking them up into little “bite-sized” parts, and then organizing them in a way that makes the material easier for your employees to learn.
  2. Chunking is helpful because of how our brains work-in particular, the limits on our working memory to hold only about four bits of information at a time.
  3. Although learners who are novices or experts in a given topic can each only remember about four chunks at a time, experts can remember bigger chunks.
  4. You should arrange chunks within training materials in a way that makes it easier for your employees to understand and remember them. Some organizational methods include job sequence, dependent learning, cause and effect, and whole to parts, but there are more.
  5. Chunking training materials begins at a high level–the entire curriculum, for example–and then works its way down through modules, lessons, courses, and screens (or similar sub-divisions of your training materials).


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Goal Analysis: How to Analyze Goals (So You Can Meet Them)

Instructional Design Basics

People like you and I have goals: “I want to be a good parent” or “I want to be healthier.” Businesses have goals: “We want to be an industry thought leader” or “We want to be cutting edge” or “we want to be lean.” And trainers have training goals for their employee learners: “I want them to be motivated” or “I want them to want to do their jobs well.”

Of course, the point of having goals is that we want to meet them. But it can be hard to meet a goal if you don’t really know what that goal means. Consider our examples above. How does a person know if she’s a good parent or healthier? How does a business know when it’s an industry thought leader, cutting edge, or lean? And how do trainers know if employees are motivated or want to do their jobs well? These goals are abstractions instead of being concrete.

In this post, we’ll show you a method that will help you develop goals that are clearly stated, concrete performances. The reason for doing that is that it makes it easy to tell you’ve reached the goal. And that’s the goal of goals, right?

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Use e-Learning for Standard, Consistent Training Messages

We’re fans of “blended learning” solutions that make use of different types of training activities. This might include written documents, instructor-led training, on-the-job training (OJT), and more.

The idea is to pick the type of training activity that best suits each training need. For example, maybe you really need the real-time, spontaneous feedback that instructor-led training can provide for one training need. Or, maybe the hands-on practice in the real work environment with an experienced co-worker fits the bill for another training need.

When you’re choosing the right activity type, one thing to think about is “Does this allow me to deliver the same, consistent training message every time?” Something we hear again and again from new customers is that they struggle to deliver the same standard, consistent training message on a given topic to each worker, every time they hear the message.

You can see why this is important. For example, you may have a set of policies that you want to make all new employees aware of during their onboarding. Or, maybe you want each employee in the Production department to perform a particular procedure in the exact same way. Or, maybe you want to make sure the message in your yearly refresher training matches the message employees learned the first time they were trained.

Need some e-learning courses for your workplace? Check out our e-learning course libraries and our learning management systems (LMSs). Or, contact us for more information or to set up a demo.

And hey, why not download this free Guide to Effective Manufacturing Training or this Guide to Effective EHS Training while you’re here?


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Book Review: Robert Mager’s “Preparing Instructional Objectives”

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We just finished reading Robert Mager’s Preparing Instructional Objectives, the classic book on learning objectives that’s also part of the six-book collection, The Mager Six Pack. (Yes, we bought the whole six pack, and you’ll be seeing book reviews about all of them over time).

Here’s our review of the book. You may also be interested in our more in-depth article about Mager’s Performance-Based Learning Objectives, which is the subject of the book.

Mager’s interesting because he’s one of the classic names in the history of instructional design, and this book is interesting because his performance-based learning objectives were very influential in instructional design. Plus, although there have been some changes in thought about learning objectives over time, most notably perhaps about how one presents them to learners, Mager’s emphasis on performance is very much in line with learning theory today (especially the emphasis on training to develop job skills).


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How to Chunk Training Materials

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If you want to know how to create more effective training materials, you need to know how to chunk training materials. And YES, chunking is the accepted term in the field, even if it does sound a bit strange.

Chunking is the process of breaking down instructional materials into smaller, “bite-sized” pieces and then arranging them in a sequence that makes it easier for your learners to learn the material.

In this post, we’ll:

  • Explain the four steps necessary for a person to remember something
  • Explain why limits of the working memory cause us to use chunking
  • Explain what chunking is
  • Give tips for chunk length for novice and expert learners
  • Give tips for organizing the chunks in your training materials
  • Provide some sources and useful resources for chunking

But, before we do all that, we’re going to take a step back and explain why you should care about this.


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Better Safety Training with an LMS and Online Safety Training Courses

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I work with a lot of busy safety managers who are trying to improve their safety training programs. They’re typically looking for ways to use their time more efficiently while creating better training programs that have a real effect on their employees’ behaviors.

They hope they can reach these goals by using one of our learning management systems (LMSs) , or some of our 3D-animated online safety training courses, or both. And it’s true, they can.

Using an LMS and e-learning courses can save you time and also let you provide better safety training. But how? Well, some of the way are probably pretty obvious to you, and others may be things you haven’t thought of. Let’s break it down and consider some reasons.

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How to Develop Technical Training (Tips from Dr. Ruth Colvin Clark)

developing technical training book imageWe help a lot of our customers develop technical training for their workers–primarily for jobs in manufacturing and industry.

And in addition, we also lead a lot of technical training to teach customers to use one or more of our learning management systems.

And so we wanted to check out this book by the very well-known and highly credible Dr. Ruth Colvin Clark: Developing Technical Training: A Structured Approach for Developing Classroom and Computer-Based Instructional Materials.

We like her books for many reasons, but two of the most important are that they tend to be comprehensive and they are backed with research to determine if training techniques are effective or not.

We recommend you read this book if you’re interested in developing some technical training materials. But, if you’d like to get an idea of what the book’s about, we’ve written an overview below.


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Create Your Own Safety Training With Articulate Studio

(Since writing this post, we also used it as a basis for webinar. You can view a demonstration of the steps written below by watching our How to Create Custom Safety Training webinar, or simply read on if you prefer reading.)

For many companies with safety training needs, off-the-shelf e-learning courses like the ones we make here at Convergence Training are a great option. They provide affordable access to quality training on common safety topics. However, every work environment is different, with unique health and safety hazards, and one-size-fits-all training can’t meet 100% of your EHS needs 100% of the time.

If you rely on a learning management system to help you deliver your training, it can help to have some experience creating your own e-learning courses. There are some really simple tools out there that let you create your own, complete with interactivity and quizzes, to help you fill in any gaps in your EHS training library.

In this post, we’ll show you how you can create safety training with an e-learning authoring tool called Articulate Studio. When we’re done, you will have made an e-learning course that teaches crane operators to identify crane hand signals. The course will include a simple interactive slide show and a quiz. And then you can apply the process to create safety training materials of your own on any topic you wish.


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Better Mining Safety Training Visuals for New Miners: Using Visuals to Increase Learning

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Want your newly hired miners to really remember their training? Need to train a worker to perform a new task, such as operating a dozer, and later know how to perform that task in the field? Want to find a way to speed-up that process of remembering and learning?

If so, this post is for you, my friend.

Getting a newly hired miner up to speed on all of the critical aspects of mining and mining safety is a tough job. If you’re a safety manager in charge of safety training at a mine site, you already know this.

But what should you do about it? One of the smartest things you can do is to use training methods that are PROVEN to work better with learners who are new to the content area. In this case, that means new to safety issues related to working at your mine, and/or related to working a specific task at your mine site.

We’ll be writing a series of articles explaining different techniques for getting these “novice learners” up to speed in the coming weeks. In this post, we’ll look at one of the most effective: using visuals in your mining training.

And hey, don’t forget to download the Free Guide to MSHA Training Requirements at the bottom of this article. 


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