steps-388914_640I’ve noticed that many companies are interested in designing a curriculum for a specific role.

Generally, two situations drive the need to design a curriculum:

  • A company is hiring a lot of new people into a specific role – too many for the “Go sit with Sally” approach to training to work.
  • The employees in a specific role do not share foundational knowledge and skills. Rather, their levels of expertise vary widely.

I’ve designed curriculums for a variety of positions including sales representatives, merchandise planners, insurance adjusters, and coffee roasters. The good news is that the process is always the same.

Here are the 12 steps to design a curriculum.

  1. Gather a group of 8 to 12 people who are currently doing the job. These people should be top performers and they should be the ones actually doing the work. Managing the work doesn’t count.
  2. Guide the group in brainstorming the mission of the job. The mission of the job is a single sentence that defines the reason the job exists.
  3. Guide the group in brainstorming 8 to 12 key areas of responsibility. All job tasks fit under these key areas of responsibility. Write each area of responsibility on an 8½” by 11” piece of paper. Then tape the pages in a vertical column on the wall.
  4. Guide the group in brainstorming 6+ tasks for each area of responsibility. Make sure that each task begins with an action verb and describes a discrete, observable action. Write each task on an 8½” by 11” piece of paper. Tape the pages to the wall in a horizontal row beside the related area of responsibility to create a massive job analysis chart.
  5. Guide the group in refining their work. Review the responsibility and tasks to make sure they make sense. Reword as needed. Also, make sure that each task only appears once in the chart.
  6. Organize the tasks in each area of responsibility. Organization can be based on priority, recommended sequence of completion, or when in his or her tenure an employee would be expected to do the task.
  7. Type the job analysis chart and send it to the participants and their managers for further refinement and validation. Next, you’ll need to organize the information into proposed training courses.
  8. Identify any foundational knowledge an employee coming into the job should have. For example, recycling sales representatives need to know how to grade paper and insurance adjusters need to know Department of Insurance regulations. These topics form the baseline classes in your curriculum plan.
  9. Identify specific job processes. A job process can be a single task or several tasks that you’ve grouped together. For example, a specific job process for insurance adjusters is to assess liability. Assessing liability is made up of several tasks including: interviewing the insured and any witnesses, taking pictures of the accident scene, reviewing damage to the vehicles, reading and interpreting the police report, etc. Each job process is a training course.
  10. Name each course to reflect the proposed objective. (e.g., Introduction to Assessing Liability, Paper Grading 101, etc.)
  11. Sequence the courses.
  12. Create a curriculum map. The map shows the order learners would move through the curriculum from start to finish.

Voila! You’re done.

Need help designing a curriculum? Let me know. I’m here to help!