In Part 1, you learned what to ask about learners and how what you found out could impact your design and delivery choices.
In Part 2, you learned what to ask about learners’ work performance to define the performance gap.
In Part 3, you learn what to ask about the project, itself.
What, if any, materials exist that I can leverage to develop the training?
Existing materials can help shorten your development time. It is almost always faster to pull information from existing materials than it is to gather it by interviewing subject matter experts.
If materials exist, you also don’t have to deal with the scheduling delays that can result from busy subject matter experts trying to squeeze meetings with you into their already packed days.
How many subject matter experts will I need to interview?
This is not a case of the more, the merrier. More subject matter experts can increase your development time because you will have more interviews to do and more possible scheduling delays to contend with.
More subject matter experts can also mean more warring subject matter experts. You may need to spend time moderating disagreements between subject matter experts over what constitutes accurate information.
I have found 2 to 3 to be the perfect number of subject matter experts with which to work. If I am working with more than that, I add time to the project schedule.
What delivery methods are available?
A delivery method is exactly what it sounds like, a means to deliver the training. Common delivery methods include instructor-led, e-learning courses, e-books, webinars, quick reference guides, and posters.
Not every company is set up to deliver training via every channel. For example, we have some clients who do not have a learning management system (LMS). This means that they do not currently offer training via e-learning.
What is the timeline for the project?
The time between the project’s start and end date is the time you have to develop training materials. When you subtract time needed for subject matter expert reviews, you may be surprised by how little time is left. This amount of time left determines what is actually possible to develop.
For example, a month start to finish may only leave you with approximately 2 weeks of development time. Trying to develop a highly interactive, branching e-learning course in this amount of time is overly ambitious. A simple webinar with a cleanly formatted, well-organized PowerPoint deck is more feasible.
It is also a good idea to find out if there are any events that will mean subject matter experts are unavailable for part of your development time. National sales meetings, offsite retreats, product launches are all examples of priorities that might pull subject matter experts out of your orbit.
What is the budget?
Like timeline, the project’s budget determines what is feasible to develop.
A $50,000 budget with an adequate schedule buys a whole lot of instructional design and development. A $3,000 budget with the same schedule, buys a whole lot less.
For example, you could be talking about an interactive e-learning course versus a simple quick reference guide.
It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to complete this triage needs assessment of the training project, itself. So, there really is no excuse for skipping a training needs assessment.