Computer Training - Is Your Computer Training Program a Money Sink?

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Computer and soft-skills training seems to fall into the nebulous, foggy category of a "necessary" but "unmeasurable" need. At a basic level, it's obvious that employees can't do their jobs well if they don't know what they are doing! Yet so many times businesses spring beaucoup bucks for training, and end up scratching their heads wondering if the investment was worth it. After all, how do you know?

In this article we are going to explore three methodologies for you to use to help you determine if your training program is as effective as it could be, and if not, how to tweak it so that it meets your objectives. But let's begin at the end.

1. Begin with the End in Mind

The first mistake businesses make is to forget why they are holding training sessions in the first place. You need more than a vague, "upgrade skill-sets" goal in order to get maximum results for minimum expenditure. What's necessary is a set of clearly defined goals that tie directly into business objectives. In other words, you need to let your business goals drive your training goals.

How can you tie them together?

It's easy. Once you have determined your business goals and needs, you ask, what do my employees need to know to accomplish these objectives? This will quite literally flesh out your training outline all by itself. You would be amazed at how many businesses skip this step, insisting and hoping that putting their employees through a generic training program will yield needed results. Doesn't work that way.

Why not?

Because employees and trainers are not geared towards meeting your goals; they have their own agendas. Imagine telling a group of people to go look for "something," in a "northerly" direction.
What a silly instruction that would be! Can you imagine what they might come up with? Oh, they'll come up with something all right, but it won't be what you had in mind!

Now imagine telling them, "go look in that building on the 3rd floor for any clothing or food staples that are still salvageable."

These are specific, easy-to-follow instructions that will help target your peoples' efforts. It's the exact same way with computer and soft-skills training. Having clearly defined objectives, and communicating those objectives to both trainers and participants in advance, helps to focus your people and will net you much better results. Not to mention, you will not be throwing away all that money on generic, useless training.

So take the extra time to specify exactly which topics you need covered in your training sessions, and why, and this will go a long way towards helping you achieve your training and business objectives.

2. Pre/Post Testing

Another simple, powerful, and effective tool is to use pre-class and post-class tests to determine employees' net gains and the overall effectiveness of the training. This probably sounds like a big hassle...but it doesn't have to be! Your training provider should be able to set up pre/post tests for you (we offer pre/post testing for any of our courses, at no charge--just ask!).

Pre/post testing will allow you to objectively measure student's progress in the course, and give you a better idea if your training efforts were successful. Check out HostedTest.com or ClassMarker.com, or other similar sites for great prices and easy administration of testing via the Net.

3. Post-Class Surveys

Additionally, you can (and should!) do surveys following the class to determine students' impressions and overall feedback for the course. After all, you are holding the training sessions to better their skill-sets, and unless you were in the classroom with them, you need their feedback to know what really went on.

A great way to accomplish this is to use a service called surveymonkey. If you do only a few trainings a year they offer a free service, or for bulk trainings there is a nominal charge. The neat thing about it is they offer the service entirely through email, with a great looking interface as well as reporting features. It makes for a painless, handy and convenient way to obtain metrics from your training sessions, on the cheap.

Summary

Now that you know some of the techniques you can use to make your training sessions more powerful, you can use them to save money and increase the effectiveness of your employees. We covered:
* Begin with the End in Mind, or Customized Topics
* Pre/Post Testing
* Post-Class Surveys

So make the most of your training dollars. The best computer and soft-skills training really does enhance your bottom line, if you are smart in how you implement it.

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Michael J Phillips has 1 articles online

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Computer Training - Is Your Computer Training Program a Money Sink?

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This article was published on 2010/03/31