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How to do a training needs analysis

The L&D department is situated in the ‘support’ zone of any company so naturally, when asked for a certain learning intervention, it responds positively. Yet there are instances when problems can’t be fixed with training, where there are existing modules that can very well do the job or when something altogether new needs to be created. In order to positively identify the most appropriate course of action, a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) has to be conducted.

  1. Things to do before conducting a TNA

    • Get job performance information
      Identify the required performance levels and the actual performance levels.
    • Conduct a performance analysis
      Identify performance gaps and most importantly what is causing them.
    • Conduct a cost-benefit analysis
      Quantify the value of improved performance and give an estimate of ROI.
    • Communicate the decision
      Make recommendations for a training proposal or an alternative solution.

  2. Doing a TNA for existing training content

    • Make a comprehensive inventory
      Even if it’s clear that more recent programs are still very useful, they should be the subject of scrutiny just as all the others.
    • Determine what still has value and what needs to go
      Answer questions like "What was the original need that the module was designed for?" or "Why is it still being offered?"
    • Decide what stays and what goes
      Any recommendation should be done with the consensus of responsible managers and a clear proposal about where the resources will be reallocated.
    • Adapt and transform
      The instructional material and media, the content, the marketing strategy or the assessments can be refreshed and reused in future training programs.

  3. Doing a TNA for future training content

    • Get the necessary information
      Take a look at current trends and recent innovations within the industry, online or not. Check the company’s annual reports, the declared business plans and brand strategy. Dig for facts about what the competition is planning.
    • Get the relevant opinions
      Hear what the main stakeholders have to say to questions like "What future innovations, products or services will require training support?" or "What knowledge sets or skills will employee require to move the organization forward?"
    • Get the priorities straight
      Think out plans to address the issues that surfaced as important by means of learning and development, base any recommendations on what types of training should be deployed on these findings, and make a plan for the costs.
    • Prepare for the future
      Running a general TNA when there isn’t one particular burning area gives L&D specialists time to be thorough and look at the big picture rather than figuring out how to quickly patch-up something.


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