Whatsamatta U: 8 Components of Successful Training Courses

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Whatsamatta U: 8 Components of Successful Training Courses

I’ve recently been refreshing some internal training content for our Avanceon University and I wanted to share some items that we have found to be key in developing adult learning courses, whether the intended audience is our own staff or our customers. These eight design points help organize an effective training course and provide a framework for how to train and evaluate individuals.
 
1. Overall Training Objective – What is the training’s singular purpose? As an example, let’s talk about an overall training objective of providing controls engineers with basic System Platform troubleshooting tools.
 
2. Target Audience – Who is the training targeting? What is their background and experience level? For our example, this might be engineers who have not yet or just recently started with Wonderware.
 
3. Pre-requisites – What would attendees need to already know before attending this training? In my case, I would have wanted them to go through the prior training class, which is an Introduction into System Platform class.
 
4. Training Elements – What are the individual skills, tasks or activities that you want participants to learn? Make sure you break down the items as discretely as you can so that you have a more comprehensive offering and evaluation. There may be just a few or there may be a whole bunch. For this training example, I have a number of training elements. For the following questions, we can focus on the element of utilizing Object Viewer for detailed script execution information.
 
5. Objective Statements – Turn each training element into an objective statement. Objective statements are structured as follows: People (A), given (B), will do (C) to a level of (D) proficiency. For our example here, we might say Junior Wonderware Engineer, given an issue with a script, will utilize Object Viewer to ascertain the execution details of the script including, but not limited to, number of times executed, last date/time executed, average execution elapsed time, last execution elapsed time, number of times executed in error and did the last execution result in an error.
 
6. Resources – What item(s) does the attendee need in order to learn and demonstrate a given training element? These are typically things that need to be prepared in advance and given to the attendee during the training of that element. For my example training element, I would need a galaxy setup running a script that had a known error that I could point the engineer to troubleshoot.
 
7. Performance Indicators – How will you evaluate the attendee and know that they have mastered this specific element to the given proficiency? This might be demonstration, a written test or some other method. You should have an answer key, rubric or other scoring method to determine success on a given element. Here I would maybe create an answer key that would have what was wrong with the existing script and at least one acceptable correction to fix the issue.
 
8. References – What information needs to be provided for the attendee to accomplish a given element? This is especially important if you are creating self-paced training, but also if additional references might be helpful in developing a further understanding of an element beyond what is discussed by the instructor. For this example I might refer to specific sections in a training manual, user’s manual and/or deployment guide pertaining specifically to how to call up Object Viewer and what properties exist for scripts.
 
Have you found these to be important factors? What have you found is key to your training? Drop us a note and let us know. And don’t forget to tune in next time for another exciting adventure entitled either “Ar-‘Test’-ed Development” or “Classes with Curly”.

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