In part one of this impact story, we meet Pam who happened to take a peek at the live Qualified Trainer’s Workshop session only to discover some serious departures from the agreed upon content from her vendor. We also meet Robert, a direct report of Pam, who’s not really encouraged about re-designing their Qualified Trainer Workshop course ….
Will the real objective please stand up?
The PC noticed the change in Robert’s level of participation. So she asked a few more clarifying questions. “Robert, is the goal of the course to produce better OJT checklists or is it to ensure that all QTs deliver the OJT Methodology consistently?” she asked. Before Robert could respond, Pam responded with “consistent OJT methodology”. Robert unenthusiastically chimed in. Sensing that was not going to be his answer, the PC requested that they refer to the rankings worksheet.
“We ranked ‘Development of OJT Checklists’ quite high and are devoting a serious % of classroom time to achieve this performance objective,” the PC reported. “Is this not as important as the OJT methodology?” she continued. “Yes, of course”, they both responded.
“So let me ask the next question, are all QTs going to be required to generate OJT checklists as well?” Robert lowered his voice and explained his no response.
“So while OJT checklists rank high as a consequence for the organization, is it appropriate to use this much classroom time for something most of them will not be required to complete AFTER the course is over?” inquired the PC.
“But it’s good for them to understand how they are generated and if asked to write one, they’ll know how to do it”, responded Robert very rapidly and with heightened energy.
At this point Pam took the lead and asked the next question. “Robert, why are we not requiring the QTs to write at least one OJT checklist?”
“Oh gosh, their managers will not give them the time and when they rush these, I have to send them all back!” he moaned.
“So, why don’t we have a conversation with the managers?” questioned Pam.
“Been there, done that and it never works! Why can’t we just tell them how to do it in the workshop?” Robert whined.
Pam sighed and waited for Robert to continue. He eventually acquiesced and agreed to contact a few of the managers to confirm QT responsibilities and the manager’s expectations for their QTs post-workshop. Much to his surprise, the discussions went well. So Robert provided them with an update on the timeline for the course delivery and asked for their advanced endorsement for the workshop.
At the next meeting, Robert shared how successful the managers meetings went and that he hosted several more than he originally anticipated. With the managers support for the revised course, the outline of the new course was finalized. The duration went from 3 full days to 1.5 days with the OJT checklists and the qualifying demonstrations taking on a heighted importance as the final outcomes of the workshop.
End Results – Cut Course Content by 50% with better post workshop results!
Pam was estatic. “I can’t believe we could develop a better course in less time and have QTs more prepared to deliver OJT than I ever imagined, especially after I fired my first guy. And the course evaluations reflect very happy campers”, she added during their debriefing call. Robert was truly amazed with the change in energy for the demonstrations and was delighted overall with how the new design came together. “I’m already looking forward to the next round”, he exclaimed.
Momentum Continues to Grow
The workshop follow up three months later revealed even more positive indicators of change. Robert reported back to the team, that the number of first time OJT checklist returns were significantly down; only a handful were now being returned for complete re-writes. And for those needing minor tweaks, either he could fix them himself or have the SME fix them easily after a brief discussion. Since all employees were up to date with training requirements, no new OJT sessions were scheduled but Pam and Robert were anticipating a ramp up again later in the year.
Lesson Learned / Insights
While Robert is the Training Supervisor, he had never been formally trained in instructional design. For years, this gap was mitigated by either outside vendors or internally developed materials using Power Point and a few good books on design. Robert held on to the notion that if he included content in the course, the participants would “learn and use it” when they returned to their jobs. For him, as long as the course met the learning objectives, his training was successful. This was their metric for years.
But the PC carefully guided him and Pam to stretch past learning objectives and to focus the design on helping the QTs to successfully use the tools and checklists after the workshop. She helped them recall that “the end in mind” was to align with the overall business goals and the corporate quality objective.
In order for Pam and Robert to be successful, they had to “fall out of love” with their own content. This meant being disciplined to not add “they need to know this too” content and focus on the content that ranked high enough to warrant classroom face time. It also required additional exercises and practice time be added to the course clock to ensure techniques were properly reinforced. In the end, all were rewarded for their hard work.
“[Learning objectives] help drive the results of projects, clarify expectations, secure commitment and make for a much more effective program or project.” “If business results are desired, a program or project should have application, impact, and, in some cases ROI objectives.”  Seeking agreement with stakeholders on the performance objectives prior to project launch is the key mechanism to ensure transfer and impact on business goals occurs.
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HPIS Consulting, Inc. is a quality systems training and performance improvement consulting firm specializing in linking learning to strategically transfer back on the job that improves departmental performance.
- Vivian Bringslimark, President of HPIS Consulting, Inc.
 Phillips, JP, & Phillips, PP. (2008). Beyond learning objectives: Developing measurable objectives that impact the bottom line. Alexandria: ASTD, p. 16.
(c) HPIS Consulting, Inc.