How do you best ensure your learners get what they need out of a course? This is a question raised in a comment on my last blog post and there is some great information out there on how to ensure learning is relevant, focused and actionable. Cathy Moore’s mantra – focus on what people need to do, not what they need to know is a good starting point when it comes to addressing real needs http://blog.cathy-moore.com/ but before you start to plot actions or outcomes against business goals there is another key question that often gets overlooked.
Is there a need for a learning intervention at all?
This question should form a key part of any Learning Needs Analysis but all too often the focus is on delivering a learning solution when learning is not always the best (or only) way to address the need. There is also pressure to spend a minimal amount of time on the analysis stage with businesses needing to respond quickly to change.
For example cultural issues or working restrictions may have a significant impact on a learner’s ability to perform tasks in the “right way”. Take the example of call centre staff targeted on the number of calls they process rather than the number of sales they achieve – delivering a learning intervention on effective sales techniques is unlikely to achieve more sales unless the business issues are addressed.
So what do you do when your analysis uncovers needs that you cannot address through a learning intervention? Ignore them? – Definitely not! If you only focus on part of the solution the business goals are less likely to be met and the learning is more likely to fail. So speak up and don't let your learning solution take the blame for not delivering the results.