How to Develop a Training Program - Part One

By Deborah Thompson posted 11-25-2015 16:51



You have been tasked with developing a new training program for your firm. Sounds simple…..but, where do you start? After I accepted a position as a Training Manager, I quickly realized my firm did not have a formalized training program. With over 2,000 employees nationwide and more than published applications, the firm desperately needed to develop and implement a program that would motivate the employees to learn how to properly operate the technology tools they had available. Additionally, I needed to sustain this new culture of learning and validate the value of a standardized training program. To say I had my work cut out for me was an understatement. This project was a huge undertaking and quite the adventure! In the end, I was able to complete the initiative with a process that helped me develop a solid foundation for my program that I can build and grow.

So, how did I accomplish my goal? Research is always crucial to the development of a new project. After studying materials from various training and instructional design authorities, I determined a great method for creating a training program was to utilize the ADDIE instructional design model. This instructional design process represents a guideline for building effective training tools in five phases. A comprehensive training program will typically involve using some variation of this process, and while I do not proclaim to be an expert on the subject, I can say that the process worked very well for me in building what is now my firm’s Customer Care Learning Center.

This 3-part Blog mini-series will explain the ADDIE model and detail the five stages. This commentary will by no means replace your own research and development process, but will provide essential concepts that can be used as a springboard for your own ideas. 




The first phase of the process, involves the initial analysis and assessment of the learning needs and objectives for your program. You must identify your target audience and understand the existing knowledge and skillset of your learners to help determine the program’s desired learning outcomes. The analysis phase is a crucial first step to help form clear objectives and define goals for your program. During this phase, you seek the following information: What do the learners need to know to accomplish job-related tasks, what existing knowledge do they already have and what are the obstacles or potential roadblocks that might impede the program?

To identify this information, you may conduct a Training Needs Assessment and Workflow Evaluation that would identify target learners, assess existing skills and knowledge, identify job-related tasks and evaluate workflows. This assessment can be performed using several different methods, like surveys, questionnaires, interviews or evaluate workflow scenarios. Determining the most appropriate evaluation method for your firm’s environment is vital to the success of the analysis. The wrong approach for the assessment could affect your results, so choose wisely!

Needs Assessment/Workflow Evaluation Tips:

  • Participant Analysis:
    • What are the audiences? Determine the breakdown of groups by expertise and experience.
    • What do they each need to learn to be able to achieve desired performance?        
  • Determine Desired Performance:
    • At the end of training, what do learners want to be able to do?
    • What motivates the learner and what is important to them?
  • Consider the Environment:
    • What might be the response to training?
    • Select appropriate strategies to communicate and gain support for the program.
    • Make recommendations to aid decision-making.
  • Set measurable goals:
    • Determine what observable changes in behavior or in business metrics will indicate that training was a success.
    • How can you analyze and interpret data to apply learning analytics?

Ultimately, an assessment should determine the needs and desired results for the program to help identify the goals and objectives. Be sure that you develop an objective that will support and align with the firm’s goals to gain stakeholder buy-in. You must also decide how to create a culture of learning to help the firm understand the value of training. Lastly, it is important to define the logistics for creating the program – timeline, budget, available resources and possible roadblocks – to prepare for the next phase.