Build a Top Notch Training Program… The Systematic Way

Training and StudentsYour customers and potential customers are looking all over the web for information – and training. They want to learn what you, and your business, know how to do. Of course, there are hundreds of people that offer some e-course, webinar, e-book or coaching program that purports to teach what folks want to know. There is, however a distressing reality. Very few people come away from these supposed learning experiences knowing how to, and actually doing, what the course attempted to teach. I’ll bet you have done that yourself… taken a course and not followed up and implemented what you learned.

Here is a fascinating fact. Knowing how do to something does NOT mean you know how to teach others to do it. You may even be an expert… but knowing how to design a web site does not mean you can teach others how to do it as well as you do. So what to do? You would like to help others learn the craft or trade you know well, maybe even earn some extra money for yourself or your business, but you aren’t really sure how to make sure your students continue to succeed after they finish your course. Well, good teachers will always tell you, you need to take a systematic approach to creating your teaching program. You need the step by step path to your students’ success.

Yes, there is a process you can follow that will make your training programs the ones people learn from. And when people learn something useful from you, they will keep coming back to you for more training, or become the customers you are looking for.

What is this Systematic Way to Create a Successful Learning Program?

There are really just a few simple steps at the core of all top-notch training programs. Instructional design professionals call it the ADDIE model:

  • Analyze
  • Design
  • Develop
  • Implement
  • Evaluate

Step 1: Analyze

As with any program you undertake marketing your business, this is the first and most critical step. (see my related story: Marketing for a Business: First, Think and Plan!, shows the importance of the analysis step.)

You need to know what your audience doesn’t know – and what they do know. Find out:

  • Find out what do they already know
  • Define what do they need to succeed?
  • Analyze what successful people in this area are already doing
  • Define the gap between what your learners know and what they need to succeed
    Hint: Find this out by talking to someone else who is already succeeding and find out what they are doing right.

This analysis will naturally lead you to the learning objectives for your course. Your prospective students will want to know what they will actually be able to DO after the course – knowing is NOT DOING!

Training for Flower ArrangingFor example, for your floral business, you may want to help people with simple flower arrangement ideas for flowers from their home garden – they’ll come to you for your professional arrangements for more advanced needs. You know from your own experience that one of the basic skills involves substituting a direct link to a pin with an affiliate link. Here are both good and bad examples for that objective:

A useless learning objective:

“Participants will know how to create simple floral arrangements.”

A better learning objective:

“Participants will be able to create simple floral arrangements.”

The best learning objective:

“Participants will actually create a simple arrangement.”

See how the power of the idea grows? First one, they just know… but can’t really do. Second one, they may be able to do, but still haven’t actually done it. In the best example, your audience ACTUALLY DOES an arrangement. They complete the course with a hands-on skill they have done, and can easily do again – and again. You give them that skill, you are the hero – and they’ll be back for more. That’s the objective of your training, to get people back for more.

Step 2: Design

Your learning objectives drive the design of your training. Now is the time to determine what will actually deliver on the objectives.

So ask questions like these:

  • What is the best method for meeting the objectives?
    Hint: You may WANT to do a webinar, but is that REALLY the best way?
  • What basic knowledge must attendees have before they can accomplish your learning objectives?
    Hint: You may actually need to survey your attendees before you start designing so you make sure they finish with all the knowledge they need.
  • What will people actually DO to achieve the objective?
    Hint: Hands on training is ALWAYS the most effective.
  • What tools can be included in the course to ensure attendees can continue to do what you teach them to do?
    Hint: Even if they only have their own written action plan, you have been a success – but physical items are more memorable, and offer branding opportunities.

Let your creativity shine! Think outside the usual webinars, workbooks, or videos. – Teaching photography, go on a field trip. Teaching auto mechanics, do it in an actual garage where attendees will get their hands dirty.

Step 3: Develop – Implement – Analyze

Now it’s time to bring it all to life. Your strong analysis and training design leave you ready to DO IT! Build the tools and materials your students will need. Register them, and start teaching.

The last step, of course, is survey your attendees, measure, analyze, adjust, and repeat. As I said in my three part article, “If You Didn’t Measure It, You Didn’t Do It!” (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) you must take the time to measure your results, compare them with your goals, and adjust to improve.

If you’ve done a good job defining your training objectives and the program, it is possible that you could outsource creating the materials, and even the actual teaching. But, most likely, you will want to handle it on your own for a while to make sure it is actually achieving your goals before you hand it off to others.

And, after your survey, you may want to send follow-up emails. If, in a month or two, you find your attendees still practicing what they learned, you were a success. Your attendees will appreciate the contact, but more important, this is an opportunity to offer follow up courses or coupons for future purchases – remember, you now have a legitimate relationship with your attendees, and a legitimate reason to stay in touch… use it. Build autoresponder series with an email company such as AWeber to follow up and offer your continued support, and keep the information and offers flowing.

Systematically building your training program, both online and in person, will lead to informed customers who will be back for more – and will continue to support your business, especially if you keep use the training as the basis for continued contact.

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