How to Perform a Task Analysis for Job Training

Task Analysis ImageIn an earlier post focusing on identifying job roles and job tasks, we mentioned the importance of creating (1) a list of the job roles at your site and (2) a list of the job tasks that people in each of those job roles have to be able to perform in order to hold their job.

In this post, we’re going to start with the assumption that you’ve created that list of tasks, and we’ll show you how to perform a task analysis for each task on the list. The idea is that you’ll “break down” each task into the smaller steps or sub-tasks that a person would have to perform to finish the task.

The point in doing this is that once you’ve identified the steps or sub-tasks that make up a job task, you’ll know exactly what you need to teach employees who will have to perform the task properly on the job. You would then create learning objectives, assessments, and the actual training materials.

This is an “instructional design” basic. To see how the task analysis fits into the general flow of training development, you may want to check out 8 Steps to Great Training article and/or download the guide to writing learning objectives at the bottom of this article.

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Business Goals, KPIs, and Job Training

Business Goals, KPIs, and Training ImageJob training shouldn’t be designed or delivered in a vacuum. And you probably know that.

We’ve written a LOT about how training should be delivered with the learners in mind (the employees, that is). And that’s definitely true and important.

But in this article, we’re going to look at training from a different angle: the connection between training and the business itself–in particular, the goals of a business. And we’ll do that by looking at business goals, key performance indicators (KPIs), and job training.

Sometimes, trainers forgot to consider this and forget to build it into their training, development, delivery, and evaluation process.

So hopefully this will be a good review and reminder.

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Identifying Job Roles & Job Tasks for Training

Job Roles and Job Tasks ImageBecause we got our start in training workers at paper manufacturing facilities, and because that’s still a core part of our customer base (even if we’ve expanded quite a bit beyond that), we’ve been writing some blog posts recently specifically geared toward training at paper manufacturing facilities.

If you’re not a paper manufacturer, it’s OK–what you’ll read below is true for any job training. So don’t let that introduction scare you away.

What we’re going to cover below are a few things to make sure your training is doing what it’s supposed to do–preparing workers to do what they have to do on the job.

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5 Steps of Creating Training–Tips from Cognitive Psychology

5 Steps of Creating Training ImageProbably the most famous “steps of training” guidance is the one created by the instructional theorist Robert Gagne. Gagne’s ideas are justly well-regarded and we’ve already written an article about Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction. So feel free to click that link you just passed up if you’re curious.

But in their 2003 book Writing Training Materials that Work: How to Train Anyone to Do Anything, Wellesley R. Foshay, Kenneth H. Silber, and Michael B. Stelnicki present their own, more updated steps. What makes these steps especially interesting (and I believe useful) is that they’re grounded in the field of cognitive psychology, the study of how people learn, including things like attention, thinking, memory, and problem-solving.

In this article, we’ll give you an overview of the steps, as you’d guess. And we’ll also present some additional ideas from the book. Of course, we encourage you to buy and read the book on your own, too.

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Applying Lean Value Stream Mapping to Corporate Training

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Lean Value Stream Mapping and Training Image
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People familiar with lean manufacturing probably know the concept of value stream mapping.

Value stream mapping is the process of mapping, diagramming, or otherwise analyzing your current production state and a desired, more efficient future state. The point is to map the current state, search for and identify any inefficiencies that cause waste and don’t add value, and then map a new, more efficient process. And then, of course, to make changes to move toward that more efficient desired process.

Sounds simple enough, and it is. The key things to remember are that value stream mapping (1) is focused on the lean idea of making sure production steps are always intended to provide value to the customer and (2) removing all production steps that don’t provide value to the customer or that aren’t otherwise necessary.

Trainers can learn a lot from their lean friends and from these concepts underlying value stream mapping. For one, trainers should always focus on providing value to their customers. It’s sometimes easy to forget this and sometimes easy to forget who the customer(s) is/are, so we’ll get back to this shortly. The second thing trainers can learn from lean value stream mapping is the importance of taking things out of training materials if they don’t provide benefit to the “customers.” Again, we’ll get back to this point.

When you finish up this article, feel free to download the FREE “5 PRINCIPLES OF LEAN MANUFACTURING” INFOGRAPHIC we’ve put at the bottom for you.

You might also want to check out our online courses for teaching employees about lean manufacturing.

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How to Format Training Materials To Make Learning Easier

How to Format Training Materials ImageA lot of workforce training materials are written. This is true if it’s something your workers will actually read. And it’s true of scripts that are used for e-learning training courses as well.

We’ve written earlier about style issues for your written training materials–click here to read more about that. That article includes some simple tips, such as writing at an appropriate reading level, using conversational words, and so on. Later, you may also be interested in reading this interview with Anna Sabramowicz about using storytelling and scenarios in training.

But in this article, we’re going to show you how to format training materials using simple techniques like headers, bullets, and tables to make your training materials more effective. This will apply to materials such as Word documents and PDFs that your employees read but also to PowerPoint presentations and e-learning courses they view on a monitor or screen.

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Effective Paper Manufacturing Training Programs: Better Training Through “Chunking”

Chunking Paper Manufacturing Training Image

Want some great tips for creating effective paper manufacturing training materials? We just wrote an extended blog post explaining the benefits of “chunking” your training materials and giving tips of how to do it.

Click here to read the extended article on chunking.

Otherwise, if you’d like a high-level overview of chunking and then would like to see how chunking can make your paper manufacturing training materials more effective, read on below. We’ve condensed the main parts and provided some examples specific to the paper manufacturing industry and paper manufacturing training for you.

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Testing Employees After Training: Best Practices for Workforce Training Assessment

Workforce Training Evaluation Image

Companies put a LOT of money, time, and hard work into training their employees. New employee onboarding, job role training, succession training, compliance training–you get the picture.

In many or most cases, that training includes some element of testing. People in learning and development often refer to this testing as “assessment” or “level 2 evaluation” (to learn why, read our article on the Kirkpatrick 4-level Evaluation Model). We’re going to try to use the word “test” as much as possible in this article, though we’ll fall back on assessment from time to time.

The problem many trainers face is that after putting so much work into planning and creating the training materials, it can be easy to give short-shrift to the test part. And that can be a BIG problem because you don’t really know if your employees are learning what they have to learn if you’re not testing in one way or another. So you may be providing training that’s not effective for some, many, or all of your employees and never know it. And that’s why we’re going to focus on tests in this post–testing employees after training. Hope you find some stuff interesting and helpful.

You’ll find that this information includes a lot of high-level, more general information about testing. As a result, you may also find yourself interested in the following, more specific articles too:

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Selecting Different Types of Training for Different Types of Learning

Different Types of Training Image

If you’re a trainer or design instructional material, your job is to train people.

But what exactly are you training them? What kinds of things? If your initial answer is “stuff for work,” we can dive down a little deeper on that. The benefit of doing so is that once we realize that we train people on different kinds of “stuff for work” (or to speak a little more formally, we train people to help them with different types of learning), you can get a little more efficient and use different training techniques for each of those different types of learning that you want your employees to master.

That’s what we’re going to cover in this blog post. So if that sounds spot-on, continue reading. If you’re not quite sure how you feel about it, keep reading nonetheless, if you can spare the time. You just might find some tips to make the training programs at your workplace more effective and efficient.

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Book Review: Robert Mager’s “Developing Attitude Toward Learning”

We just read Robert Mager’s book Developing Attitude Toward Learning, one of six books in the classic “Mager Six Pack” series.

In this article, we’ll give you a short book review. We have another, longer article if you’d like to study in more detail his ideas about creating enthusiastic trainees who want to put their new knowledge and skills into practice at work.

Mager’s interesting because he’s one of the big names in the history of instructional design. Plus, he’s a mighty funny writer who’s worth an hour or two of your time.

Convergence Training is a training solutions provider. We offer off-the-shelf e-learning courses, several learning management systems (LMSs), custom training solutions, and more. Contact us for full-length course previews, to schedule an LMS demo, or just to ask a few questions.

Since you’re here, why not download one of our free guides as well:

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How to Create Graphics for eLearning: Matching Graphics to Content

How to Match Graphics to Content for Learning Image

We recently wrote an article with 25 tips graphics and visuals for training materials.

That post was so popular that we thought we’d dig deep again for another article on graphics and learning.

The source for the tips in this article is the book Graphics for Learning: Proven Guidelines for Planning, Designing, and Evaluating Visuals in Training Materials by Dr. Ruth Colvin Clark and Chopeta Lyons.

We hope you like this article, and we recommend you go buy the book, it’s got a million great ideas in it for making better use of graphics and other forms of visuals to improve your training.

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Motivating Learners: Tips from Robert Mager’s Book “Developing Attitude Toward Learning”

motivating learners imageWe all want to motivate our learners. Motivating learners during the training so they’ll have a better chance to learn is important, obviously. And it’s also important to motivate learners AFTER the training so they’ll be more positively disposed toward the topic in general and more likely to apply the training at work.

But how exactly does a good trainer motivate learners? One good place to look for tips is in the book Developing Attitude Toward Learning by the noted human performance improvement/learning theorist Robert Mager.

In this article, we’ll pass on some of the tips from Mager’s book. Of course, we recommend you buy the book and read it yourself. In fact, we recommend that you buy and read the entire “Mager Six Pack.” We’ve included more about Mager and the Six Pack at the bottom of this article. (more…)

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