Harness Your Team’s Knowledge Before Building A Training Program

Harness Your Team’s Knowledge Before Building A Training Program
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Summary: Thinking about working with a professional development vendor? Here are a few things to keep in mind before taking the leap.

Building A Training Program? What Steps To Follow

Once you’ve made the decision to work with a professional development vendor, it’s not as easy as handing over a wish list and hoping for the best. The vendor’s team needs to become experts on the content you’re hoping to teach, and that’s an educational process in and of itself. Like any professional relationship, there is a whole slew of problems that you can prevent with a little bit of careful planning.

Gather Your Training Content

Before kicking off a project with a vendor, your main priority should be getting relevant content together—gather it up, organize it into clear chunks, and estimate the amount of time it will take your vendor to fully absorb the information. You can make that step easier by enlisting Subject Matter Experts (SME) to help vet the content and provide assistance. It can be a tricky process, so remember to be patient as the vendor will undoubtedly have conversations and questions about how to proceed best with the incipient training program.

When it comes to working with a training vendor, a good place to start is by taking stock of the content. As an expert in your field, it’s easy to see your content as straightforward, but remember that you’re presenting new information to an audience that is unfamiliar with your areas of expertise. Your first step should be to organize your content into clear-cut chunks that explain who your audience is, what they need to know, and how this knowledge will be beneficial.

Organize Your Training Content

Once the content is evenly divided, you can work with the vendor to separate it into sections of related information. Your vendor will be well-versed in training methodology and will be able to connect the dots from there. This type of content arrangement is based on the similarity of characteristics. This technique is handy when all the information that is being organized is equal (there is no specific sequence). Grouping content into categories helps reduce screen clutter by bringing together similar content. During the organization process, you might find that there are content gaps that need to be closed before moving on to a project with the vendor. At AllenComm, our team quickly and effectively identifies these content gaps and then uses that information to build a customized learning solution to meet your team’s unique needs.

Prioritize Your Training Content

With an understanding of your assets and liabilities in place, the next step is to prioritize your content. While there is no bad information when it comes to teaching your workforce, you’ll want to be considerate of your users. They’re likely contending with limited timeframes and increased cognitive load, which means that some information will need to end up on the cutting room floor. In addition to ensuring that your learners will receive the content that is most relevant to them, prioritizing content will give the vendor a plan for shaping the project’s fundamental steps.

Part of this prioritization process is considering the volume of provided learning content, and how long the vendor will need to process everything. According to George Miller's Information Process Theory, a learner's attention span and short-term memory are limited to processing information in chunks. That's why adherents of this theory suggest splitting up content into small, manageable sections, rather than simply producing never-ending chains of content [1].

The Value Of Your Subject Matter Expert

Throughout the process of assembling and delivering this content to a vendor, an in-house Subject Matter Expert (SME) will be crucial. For best results, SMEs must have a clear idea of what’s expected of them before the project begins. They must also be certain of the shared goals and objectives of the eLearning course. This is why it’s essential to have a discussion with them in advance to let them know their job responsibilities, and how they fit into the eLearning development team. It’s also wise to talk about deadlines and milestones so that they can be aware of when each step of the process must be completed. A well-prepared SME can provide notes, comments, and guidelines to give the content some essential context, thereby providing the vendor with an easier path to understanding the envisioned training program [2].

There’s no exact science to collaborating with a vendor to build a training solution that’s right for you, but any endeavor benefits from a bit of preparation. Partnering with a training vendor is a journey, complete with detours, potholes, and unexpected shortcuts. With a clear conceptual definition and some preliminary organization, clients and vendors can work together to achieve some great results. In the wise words of Samuel Johnson, great works are not performed by strength, but by perseverance.


[1] 5 Smart Ways to Organize Your Content for eLearning

[2] 6 Tips To Help Your Subject Matter Expert Create Effective eLearning Content


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