There are many complicated tools for analysing training needs.
Happily, however, most of us will probably not need to get too involved in exhaustive analysis.
(The truth is, once you start, it is very difficult to know where to stop, and what initially may seem like a fairly clear and simple exercise can become very complex and involved.)
However a useful little rule of thumb is to measure your training against 3 simple words,
based on Boydell and Leary's 3 'I's - which are: 'Implementing, Improving, and Innovating'.
Taking into account the level and expectation of the students and the needs of the organisation, which of those 'I's most closely fits the level at which you should pitch your training?
So for example, you are running a training session on Staff Appraisals:
based on the participants in the room and the current company situation, are you:
Situation: There is no effective appraisal system, so the training is focused on establishing one.
Relationship: It is likely that the trainer will do most of the leading in this session.
Attitude: The trainer's ideas are the 'most significant' ideas.
Situation: There is an appraisal system, but it needs an overhaul.
Relationship: The trainer will need to involve the students in discussion to find out where the perceived limitations are and how best to improve the situation.
Attitude: The students' ideas are now an important part of the solution.
Situation: There may or may not be an appraisal system but we need to come up with something new and original.
Relationship: In this case the trainer may need to step back and become a facilitator, allowing the students the freedom to explore and be creative.
Attitude: Everyone's ideas are equally valuable - however whacky!
This type of assessment could even work as a guide in my own field of Public Speaking.
The students a have little experience and confidence, in which case the trainer will need to provide most of the tips and ideas.
(IÂ¹ - Implementing)
The students are competent speakers, but need advice and guidance on improving, but will expect recognition that they have their own ideas, strategies and experiences to build on.
The students are experienced and comfortable in public, know the basics and are now looking for that little something extra to develop their presentations into something striking and memorable.
The 3 'I's are a simple way to help establish a suitable starting context for training.
This article was written by Michael Ronayne, director at the College of Public Speaking and four-time UK National Public Speaking Champion.
To discover more of Michael's top training techniques, check out his professionally accredited Train the Trainer course here