Looking for the Right Training

The training plan should include:

  1. Analysis of the Training Scope based on a needs assessment
  2. Statement of the desired outcome(s)
  3. Listing of Instructional Strategies
  4. Program Validation Methodology

Each of these areas is supported by various elements in order to provide the trainer with the necessary information to create a successful dangerous goods training program.


1. ANALYSIS OF THE TRAINING SCOPE

This part of the documented training plan has two main components: Training Needs Analysis and Task Analysis.


Training Needs Analysis

This is a thorough study of an organization, its goals, objectives and culture to determine how training can help the organization become more effective and efficient while meeting its regulatory obligations. A training needs analysis highlights any gaps between existing abilities and required abilities and focuses the training to ensure it has the right content at the right time for the right audience. A training needs analysis defines the:


  • Who
  • What
  • Why
  • Where
  • When

Task Analysis

A task analysis is a written sequential listing of all the steps necessary to perform a specific task or job function. A completed task analysis provides the details that must be covered in the training program.


The value of a task analysis is it:


  • Ensures the trainer has a complete understanding of the trainees’ responsibilities within the organization so that the training covers all critical issues
  • Identifies the equipment and supplies required on the job and any environmental constraints that need to be addressed in the training
  • Becomes the performance checklist for recognizing successful completion of the training.

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2. STATEMENT OF THE DESIRED OUTCOME(S)

Performance Objectives
Performance objectives are the backbone of the training plan. These are brief, clear statements of what the trainee should be able to do as a result of the training.

The performance objectives may be:

  • Cognitive Objectives (skills and knowledge);
  • Psychomotor Objectives (fine and/or gross motor skills); and/or
  • Affective Objectives (attitudes, feeling, beliefs, values and/or emotions).

The key to developing the objectives is to use the information gathered through the training needs analysis and task analysis to ensure the objectives reflect the identified training needs.

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3. LISTING OF INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES

Learning Styles
A trainer must have an understanding of various ways adults learn and recognize there are multiple ways to train most concepts. A thorough training needs analysis will help identify important aspects such as educational and cultural differences. It may also help identify generational and gender variations. However, the trainer must recognize that many of the variations in learning styles are individual, and therefore, a variety of instructional strategies and media need to be incorporated into the training plan.

Instructional Media
Instructional media includes both traditional media, such as slides and DVDs, as well as newer types of media, such as computer-generated media. A trainer is challenged to select the media appropriate to the training plan as well as the different learning styles. The use of appropriate media enhances presentations and increases retention of information by the trainee. Each type of media has advantages and disadvantages and must be evaluated to ensure that what is used supports the course objectives most effectively.

Instructional Strategies
The training plan identifies the performance objectives and must also identify the best instructional strategy or strategies to convey the objectives. Each strategy has its advantages and disadvantages and can be used effectively if selected appropriately. Because of the complexity and nuances involved in dangerous goods training, it is often appropriate to use different strategies for different sections of the training program.

Some common types of instructional strategies are:

  • Lecture
  • Guided Discussion
  • Demonstration Practice
  • Role Play
  • Participant Discovery
  • Individualized Instruction

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4. PROGRAM VALIDATION METHODOLOGY

A training program must add value to an organization to justify the expense of training. Determining the criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of the program should be part of the program design and included in the training plan. Program validation is an ongoing process with several objectives.

  • To confirm the value of the training program
  • To identify ways to improve or revise the program
  • To serve as a basis for developing a new vision of what the program can become in the future

Testing Techniques
Tests are used for documenting that employees have mastered important skills. Tests must be appropriate for the course objectives and designed to measure the attendee’s attainment of those objectives. This can include pre-tests, post-tests, ungraded tests and exercises given throughout the course to help the trainer check for understanding. The training plan should identify the means for measuring attainment of each objective. The goal is to make sure that the participant has mastered the important skills.

Documentation
Course documentation is crucial to ensure the training is conducted for specific topics, given to specific participants and offered at specific frequencies that may be set by the various modal requirements and competent authorities.

The training plan must clearly identify the course documentation that is required to meet these obligations.

Continual Overall Program Validation While validating a single course through testing and documentation is important, the overall training program needs continual validation to ensure it is meeting the needs of the company and the trainees as well as staying abreast of the regulatory changes. Training programs are not static but must be adapted to the changing environment. To ensure the overall training program is providing value the validation process must include:

  • An established quality assurance function
  • Ongoing results analysis through trending test results and performing follow-up studies to determine the bottom-line impact on the organization
  • Evaluation of the course design/training plan in relation to the performance objectives
  • Evaluation of training staff and delivery of the program

Training program design is never finished and the training plan must recognize this and include a validation component to ensure the program continues to provide value.

When looking for training, it is important to ask about the trainer’s subject matter knowledge and expertise, but it is just as important to ask for the training plan to ensure the course will meet your company’s needs. The training program should be more than meeting regulatory requirements. It must also be designed to ensure your employees learn the competencies they need to be safe and productive in their duties.

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