Over the years, systematic models for instructional design and development have been worked out that, if properly applied, will achieve definite results. Many such models exist, but they all have certain features in common.
1. Each step in training or instructional design should be systematically linked to other steps.
2. As a first step, training and development professionals should always analyze human performance problems or improvement opportunities to distinguish those that lend themselves to training solutions from those that do not.
Training will solve only problems resulting from an individual’s lack of knowledge, skill, or appropriate attitude; training will not solve problems stemming from poor management practices such as lack of adequate planning, lack of communication regarding job performance standards or work expectations, lack of feedback, or lack of supervision.
As a second step, training and development professionals should analyze who will receive training, what working conditions will exist when learners try to apply on their jobs what they learned, and how work expectations will be measured to provide the basis for judging work performance.
Third, training and development professionals should assess training needs to clarify gaps between what performers should know, do, or feel and what they already know, do, or feel. From this gap, training and development professionals should take the fourth step: clarifying instructional objectives to articulate exactly what learners should know, do, or feel when they complete training.
The fifth step is establishing measurement criteria by which to assess success in training and sequencing instructional objectives for presentation to learners. Sixth, training and development professionals should decide whether to make, buy, or buy and modify instructional materials to achieve the instructional objectives. The seventh step is testing the instructional materials to ensure that they work and revising them to make them more effective with the targeted learners.
The eighth step is delivering the training to learners. The ninth and last step is evaluating results and feeding the results back into step 1.
Unfortunately, training and development professionals do not always follow these steps. Some or all are often omitted, sometimes because training and development professionals have not been trained themselves on effective approaches to designing and delivering instruction. (Many trainers are promoted from within, and their immediate organizational superiors are unaware that they should receive instruction on training.) Sometimes training and development professionals are told to deliver training in such short time spans that they have no time to carry out instructional design rigorously and systematically, thus sacrificing effectiveness for speed; sometimes they are judged by participant reactions only or by visible activities, such as number of students who attend training classes, rather than by more effective, deliberative measures of how well results are achieved.
Whatever the causes, training is frequently designed and delivered in ways that do not match what is known about effective approaches to training. Few organizations conduct systematic evaluation of training results.
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