Training, Course Development, and Business Analysis
The process of learning is more complicated than most may believe. It's not just standing up in front of a classroom and talking. It involves assessing the class participants, presenting information in a way that allows for maximum understanding given their backgrounds, and then evaluating how much they have learned. Once you have the training portion down, what about the material you are teaching? Course development is a complicated process that requires a lot of analysis, design, development, and implementation. Then you need to evaluate the effectiveness of the course. Take that concept a little further, you can analyze any process or job, and recommend improvements. Therefore, a good instructor, trainer, and course developer could be an excellent business analysis.
This site is dedicated to outlining how that process can work, as well as the training that I have completed that led me to this conclusion. For a more in-depth portfolio following this method can be viewed here.
When you attend a training course, you may think there isn't much to it. There you see your instructor, standing in front of the class, greeting everyone with a smile. The instructor greets you all, and goes through an introduction that outlines their credentials. The instructor than has each of you introduce yourself. Not much seems to be happening at this point, but here is what a good instructor is doing.
- Smiling starts the course off on a high note. It sets the tone of the course, which is positive and therefore conducive to learning.
- The introduction is not meant for boasting, but for outlining their ability to teach the topic at hand. You may also have an instructor that provides contact information for questions after class for additional clarification.
- Having the participants in the class introduce themselves, often by explaining what they hope to get out of the class, may seem like it takes a lot of time. In reality, it's a quick assessment of every participant, so the instructor knows their "baseline" knowledge, making it easier to judge how to increase their knowledge in the course of the class.
The instructor presents the training material, and are responsible for the classroom presentation. But the material that's presented needs to be targeted to the learner's needs. If it's not developed properly, targeted to the right skills, or provide marked, measurable tools for success, then there is no point in training. Course development follows the ADDIE method of development:
- Analysis: Analysis is the bedrock of good development. A good course developer starts a project by determining what needs to be learned. In any situation, a need for training is determined by poor performance somewhere. Analysis, looking at a job, a task, a subtask, and the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for the desired boost in performance. In order for it to be done right, the analysis will start with
- Outlining the jobs necessary to complete the process.
- Outlining the tasks necessary to complete the job. Tasks are high-level procedures that combine to complete a job.
- Outlining the subtasks necessary to complete the task. The subtasks break down your task, making the task easier to complete. Often it may seem obvious, but for someone who is not familiar with the task, it may be missed, creating a situation where productivity is lost, and errors occur.
- Outlining the skills, knowledge, and attitudes (SKA) necessary to complete the subtasks. Subtasks are procedures, but the SKA represent the measurable steps necessary to complete that procedure.
- Design: The Design phase takes the analysis results and outlines a course based on the planned delivery method. With a classroom delivery, detail can be left to the instructor. With an online delivery method, then as much detail as possible needs to be included, as the topics cannot be tailored to the learner.
- Development: Now the course is being developed, with course lectures, materials, and media being created for the course.
- Implementation: Implementation takes the course live. This is the moment of truth, and gives the designer and instructor a clear picture of how successful the course has been.
- Evaluation: Most of the evaluation may seem to be done during the Implementation phase of course development, but really at all phases the course should be evaluated for potential effectiveness.
A good content developer knows how to analyze a business to determine what training is needed, if there is training needed, and if not training, than that steps need to be taken to increase productivity. This, essentially, is what a business analyst would perform. There are a lot of methods in business analysis, from the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) to Six Sigma, but they are all geared to the same end: improving results.