The 3 Core Objectives of Training

The 3 Objectives

Whenever I deliver a training program I have 3 main goals that I focus on and seek to achieve. The first goal is making participants happy during the training sessions and having them enjoy the training sessions to the max. The second is to make participants benefit greatly from the training as it comes to an end and make them aware that they have greatly benefited from the training. The third goal is to have participants keep growing and developing further even after the training program is over.

Awareness

Although the three goals are tied to one another yet still some training programs may fail to achieve all 3 at the same time thus reducing the effectiveness and impact of the training. Let’s say that after the completion of a training program participants have benefited a lot from it but are just unaware that they have actually benefited. In such a case they will probably provide poor feedback about the training when filling in the evaluation forms. They might discover later on that they have actually benefited immensely from the training after seeing a great positive shift in themselves but that could be long after the training program comes to an end.

Also being aware that one has benefited from the training increases that persons’s motivation and happiness thus impacting the other two factors of success of a training program which are happiness/enjoyment and long term improvement. It is therefore essential that a trainer not only focus on making participants benefit from the training program but also make sure they are aware of the value of the training they have just received and the extent to which they have benefited.

Enjoyment

As for enjoying the training sessions themselves this has a direct impact as well on the other two factors. A participant who is enjoying the training would benefit from it most both instantly and on the long run. Of course it is not enough to make the training enjoyable for people who can have a great deal of fun without this having any real positive impact on them if the activities they are carrying out during the training had not been designed specifically with particular training goals in mind. Enjoyable training is more effective and it also makes the trainer himself feel good about the training as he sees participants active and happy.

Long Term

As for the third and final goal I seek to achieve in training programs I deliver it is the long term impact of the training. Although this cannot be measured during the training and would require months to pass by in order to measure it yet an experienced trainer can sense it during the training itself. By planting the seeds of positive change in the hearts and minds of participants a trainer may be able to ‘see’ with his mind’s eye how they will grow and flourish on their own in the future even long after the training program is over.

Conclusion

A highly successful training program should make sure participants are happy and enjoying the training, are benefiting from it and are aware of that and have the seeds of positive change planted in them so that they can keep growing and flourishing in the future. Failing to achieve any of these three goals leads to a training program of poor quality.

What other equally important general goals should a competent trainer keep in mind when designing and delivering a training program?

Developing Training Objectives

Training needs analysis (TNA) is a formal method for gathering the training needs of employees at a company in order to design a training program for them to cater for such needs.

Identify Problems

A similar, yet less formal, approach to designing training programs for the corporate and non-corporate worlds is to start by identifying a problem that people are greatly suffering from then attempt to design a training program that would help in solving such problem. The beauty of such approach is that it guards against creating and delivering a training course that is not needed by people and does not actually have any practical benefit for them in real life save only perhaps for their enjoyment as they have fun during the time of the training program.

After identifying a strong problem that people are suffering from, on an individual level, on the company level or on the community, level the training program designer then sets about to list a number of training objectives for the training program that would help in remedying the identified problems. The set of training objectives can be listed under the following three categories: knowledge; skills and behavior.

Knowledge

Most traditional training courses have been focusing more heavily on knowledge objectives. Such programs intend to cram as much information as possible about the subject matter in the minds of attendees and aims at having them memorize such information and ultimately understand it.

Skills

More advanced training programs shift the focus from knowledge objectives to skills objectives. The main focus of the training program thus becomes to equip trainees with the necessary skills to perform various activities in the real world. Minimal focus may be given to the amount of information transferred directly in such a training program. Such highly interactive and practical training courses overcome the problems faced by knowledge focused programs which produce a trainee that has a lot of knowledge yet lacks the abilities of putting such knowledge into practice in the real world.

Behavior

A trainee who has gained specific skills may still suffer from the lack of desire to actually apply such gained skills. Here comes the role of the third and final element in the 3 groups of training objectives which is behavior. Some like to call it attitude rather than behavior. Some even go a step further and refer to the third element as beliefs. The reasoning behind this being that beliefs directly influence behavior. Behavior and beliefs can be considered as actually two sides of the same coin. Training programs that focus on shifting beliefs and influencing behavior are the most effective and long lasting. They can make enormous change in a trainee in a very short period of time.

Conclusion

No matter what the focus of a training program is be it on knowledge, skills or behavior, objectives of an effective training program should be based on the actual needs of the people and should help solve a real problem that people are actually suffering from.

Which courses do you think will benefit more form a knowledge-centered training program rather than one centered on changing attitude or developing skills?