How Coaching Wants Evaluation Helps L&D Overcome Frequent Challenges
Become a trusted partner in your organization
Faced with mounting pressure to be more agile and responsive than ever – hello pandemic, I’m looking at you! – It is understandable that L&D teams are looking for ways to reduce or bypass the analysis process for training requirements altogether. But that’s a mistake.
As L&D professionals, we all face similar learning design challenges. We need to create solutions that:
- Meet business requirements and impact performance
- Provide learners with engaging, relevant, and meaningful experiences
- Are designed and developed within a defined set of constraints (time, scope and cost).
- Have sponsorship, buy-in, and executive support
These challenges apply regardless of whether we are developing an enterprise-wide solution that will be rolled out to tens of thousands of people or a targeted solution for a smaller team.
The playbook for needs analysis: How to make L&D a trustworthy partner in your company
Expand your eLearning solutions and achieve business goals. Uncover inside secrets to conduct a needs assessment and get a stakeholder buy-in.
But how can we affect the business and performance if we don’t know what the business needs or what results are to be achieved? How can we involve learners if we don’t know what they are addressing? How can we stick to a budget and schedule if we don’t fully understand what the solution looks like? And how can we get a lead buy-in if we don’t fully understand any of the above? The truth is, we cannot do any of these things without doing a needs assessment.
Let’s break down each challenge individually and show you how a needs assessment is an essential step in preparing you for success.
Learning Design Challenge 1: My solution must meet the company’s requirements and have a positive impact on performance
Solution to analyze training needs: conduct a stakeholder analysis
Think of the results of the stakeholder analysis as your north star. The knowledge and insights you capture here control everything that follows – not just in the remainder of the needs analysis, but also throughout the process of designing, developing, implementing and evaluating your learning solution. The stakeholder analysis shows you:
- What drove the business need and what is the problem you are trying to solve
- What are the desired results and what is the success like?
- Who is the target group and whether you need to consider the needs of other target groups now or later?
- What are the performance gaps and what should your learning goals be?
- What assessment strategy do you need to implement and how do you measure success?
Above all, the stakeholder analysis gives you the answer to the $ 10 million question: Will training solve the problem? And what, if anything, do you need to ensure success (business champions, change management strategies, updates to policies or procedures, changes in mindset, etc.)?
Sounds good! How do I do it?
Work with and consult with your stakeholders to find out what they are looking for. Make them fully involved in the process and keep them updated throughout the process. Chapter 1 of our new guide, The Needs Analysis Playbook, has the six stakeholder questions that will help you get the answers you need.
Learning Design Challenge 2: I need to create an engaging, relevant, and meaningful learning experience
Solution to analyze training needs: conduct a target group analysis
We live in a time when the customer experience (not the product) is king. What does this mean for L&D? We need to change our approach to designing learning solutions and focus on the entire learning experience rather than just the results.
With the best will in the world, stakeholders and managers will try to “help” you by telling you things like: I know these learners well; I’ve worked with them for years; or I know what they will react to. But the truth is: Nobody can tell you how the learners like to learn except the learners themselves.
While analyzing the learning audience, you will discover:
- What the learners already know and what they can do
- What factors enable them to perform and what obstacles prevent them from performing?
- When, where and how they like to learn; what motivates and engages them; and what could be a turnoff
Sounds good! How do I do it?
Go straight to the source. Meet with a representative sample audience and find out what you need to know to get the best experience possible. For a list of questions and techniques you can use to interview learners without actually interviewing them, see Chapter 2 of The Needs Analysis Playbook.
Learning Design Challenge 3: My solution must take into account the project constraints (time, scope and cost).
Training Needs Analysis Solution: Analyze Limitations
Constraints can be defined as anything that sets limits or limits to your learning solution. Limitations are usually discussed in terms of scope, time and cost.
Depending on how you have been tasked with working on your learning solution, there are two ways you can deal with constraints: You have a fixed budget and schedule for work or You are able to influence the restrictions. Each situation requires a slightly different mindset and approach to analysis, but is equally revealing.
When you work on a budget and scheduleWhen you map all of the constraints, you can quickly see if what you want to do is achievable. You can see what your big ticket items are and where you might need to reduce the effort – as well as what leeway you might need to play with.
If you are able to influence the scope, Time and cost of the project, however, must be approved by the stakeholders. Setting the restrictions can make this conversation easier.
Sounds good! How do I do it?
Plan the tasks (scope), time, and resources – think people, equipment, materials, and other costs – that you expect to need. You can use ADDIE as a framework here by defining what (and who) is required to design, develop, implement, and evaluate your solution. Visit the Needs Assessment Playbook, Chapter 3, for a deeper look at this important step.
Learning Design Challenge 4: I need stakeholder or leadership buy-in, sponsorship and support
Training Needs Analysis Solution: Generate a needs analysis report
You tricked the time. You asked the questions. Now it’s time to take a step back, take a deep breath, and prepare for the final step to the finish line as you create your needs analysis report.
Why create a report? If you want to be bought by stakeholders and you want L&D to be seen as a trusted partner, you need to speak their language. You need to show stakeholders that you listened to and understood their needs. That you care about the learning experience as much as you care about the results. That you understand the restrictions and have anticipated possible red flags. Most importantly, you need to show them how your referrals meet all of their needs.
The needs analysis report consolidates your position as a consultant by:
- Translate the work you’ve done as a Learner into a language that stakeholders understand
- Turning desires and needs into problems and solutions
- Show what success looks like, what it takes to get there, what the risks are and how to measure it
- Back up your recommendations with data and insights
Sounds good! How do I do it?
First, collect all the data and insights you’ve gathered and ask, so what? What does this information tell me about what the solution should be? And how does it fit the business needs?
Treat each piece of data until you have a clear picture of what your solution needs to take into account. Structure your report to take the reader on a journey: start with the business needs, then describe your approach to analysis before presenting your findings and recommendations. See Chapter 4 in the Needs Analysis Playbook for step-by-step instructions on how to analyze, synthesize, and report on data.
Do you need help with a needs analysis? Take a trip with us and download our eBook The Needs Analysis Playbook: How to Make L&D a Trusted Partner in Your Business. This essential guide takes you step-by-step through all four steps of the training needs analysis process (stakeholder analysis, learning audience analysis, constraints, and needs analysis report) and contains numerous tips and resources to help you succeed.
Our job is to help you achieve your goals and be successful. Involve us at any time, from analysis to customer-specific development (including e-learning, mobile, gamification and ILT) to evaluation.