How to Create a Successful Technical Learning Program from Scratch

May 29, 2019 in Training Tips and Insights Articles

Written by Julie Halbersberg


How to Create a Successful Technical Learning Program from Scratch

Creating a technical learning program can be time consuming and resource-intensive. Defining learning objectives, designing training materials, and gathering attendee feedback are just a few of the must-have's. Here is a quick, 10-step guide to help get your new program up and running successfully.

10 Steps to a Technical Learning Program

  1. Establish learning goals.

    Schedule meetings with your subject matter experts, managers, and a handful of employees to identify current challenges, knowledge gaps, and roadblocks. Are you moving to a new version of SQL? Migrating to a different language? Seeking better analytics from your data? Moving applications or infrastructure to the cloud? Identify the most important learning needs based on your team conversations. List the high-level training objectives. Use customer feedback to help narrow down the focus and prioritize learning, where appropriate. If you have a company app, you can use the app store to review the most recent comments from real users.

  2. Define the target audience.

    Discuss current and future job role definitions, expectations, and overall goals. Use the initial training objectives and manager feedback to match up different positions with desired employee skill sets. Survey potential attendees to discover preferred learning styles and formats among various audiences. Will your developers need to be able to code with JavaScript in their day to day work, or will an overview of the language suffice? Various audiences require vastly different learning plans.

  3. Submit a budget for approval.

    Research pricing for the training you need. Ask colleagues, friends, and your extended network how much they paid for similar training in the past. Use our Budgeting Plan template (xls) to submit a budget request with your manager or the relevant person on your team for approval. Plan ahead and submit as early as possible, while keeping in mind your company's fiscal calendar. Approvals can take time, especially in larger organizations.

  4. Select a trainer or training partner/vendor.

    Based on the area(s) of expertise you prioritize, ask to see whether you might have anyone with the relevant training experience internally. If you decide to deliver training with an employee, make sure they have the bandwidth to develop the class materials and teach them. Alternatively, research and contact a training vendor to request potential training options, references, and pricing. Interview the training firm's trainer over a call to evaluate whether her or his expertise meets your needs. Use our In-house vs. Outsourced Training Solutions Guide (PDF) to determine the best path for your current training journey. Depending on your internal company processes, you may need to start with formal pricing submittal before a training budget can be approved.

  5. Design a learning program.

    Develop a detailed course outline covering the training overview, course objectives, and specific topics. Design learning modules to match your course outline. Depending on the size and structure of your team, a manager, instructional designer, subject matter expert, trainer, and/or content developer may be involved in the program design process.

  6. Build training materials.

    Create the content for your training, beginning with a rough draft and polishing off the content by reviewing for errors and areas for improvement. These may include slides, hands-on lab exercises, training guides, printed hand-outs, cheat sheets, and other materials that you feel will add value to the learning experience of your employees. Define and share the technical and logistical classroom setup, such as software or virtual environments to install or configure before class.

  7. Organize class logistics.

    Confirm the training schedule, including specific dates and class hours. Check to see that there are no holidays, special events, or employee vacations on the desired dates before you proceed with final date confirmation. Make sure that you have a training or conference room reserved ahead of time; many corporate offices have limited availability and require advanced room booking. The classroom should be equipped with a reliable internet connection, a monitor or projector and screen, as well as a whiteboard or flip chart and markers. Determine whether you will offer refreshments and a catered lunch (which can help prevent attendees from returning late from lunch). Once you have all of the logistical details solidified, communicate them with the training attendees, while sharing the main POC's contact information with trainees for any questions.

  8. Deliver the training.

    Arrange for your trainer to arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled start time. Ensure that the classroom is fully ready for the attendees. An organized and clean environment along with a comfortable room temperature should be set. Start the training with quick introductions of the trainer and attendees. Review training logistics as needed, such as the bathroom location and break times.

    Incorporate frequent check-ins to allow for questions. Deliver training that is engaging and interactive by incorporating stories, analogies, hands-on exercises, live coding demos, and group discussions. Most people learn better by doing - not by just listening or watching (Learning Pyramid).

  9. Track and measure learning results.

    At the end of the training, provide students with a link to an online or printed evaluation survey (doc). Conduct post-training interviews with multiple attendees to gather additional verbal feedback that may not come up on the written surveys. Ask for ideas and suggestions for future training. Summarize the training feedback and list key takeaways via our One-page Training Evaluation Report (doc) or our Training Infographic template (PDF).

  10. Reflect and improve future deliveries.

    Review the combined training feedback from current and previous training with your management team. Use Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and any other metrics you deem important to your training goals. Gauge demand for future learning by comparing registration with actual attendance, as well as any class waitlists. Revisit your learning goals, course outline, and materials and make changes and updates based on the specific feedback you have received so far.

Written by Julie Halbersberg

Julie Halbersberg

As Head of Client Success and Emerging Talent at Accelebrate, Julie works to optimize systems, design processes, and recruit the very best people for the job at hand. Julie is always seeking new ways to learn, connect, and grow.
  



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