Do you know what “scrap” learning is? It’s what you get when you enlist your team in unnecessary or ineffective training. Maybe you yourself have spent a day or two online or in classrooms rehashing something you already know, learning topics you don’t need to know, or just staring blankly at a screen that makes no sense at all.
Never, ever going to use that unit on license server maintenance? Assessments help optimize your 3D CAD training dollars.
It’s not unusual. According to the Association of Talent Development (ATD):
Ouch! Numbers like those hurt. Especially when you consider that companies spend around $1,208 per employee on training efforts each year!
[Learn more about training assessments for your engineering team. Download the free topic sheet, How to Know What You Don’t Know]
The reason so many people end up in unnecessary training is that they’re pushed into classes without much thought about their experience or skill level.
Here’s how it happens. Say want everybody on your team to understand top-down modeling and simulation. So it makes sense to sign everyone up for a class on those specific. But consider the composition of a real-world team: A recent graduate, a skilled engineer new to your company, a support engineer who only uses the system occasionally. While it’s reasonable to want them all to be skilled at the same things, it might not be efficient to send them to exactly the same training to reach that goal.
The members of this fictional example team will likely benefit from different types and depths of training. To get the most return on investment from your training dollars, you want to pinpoint who needs training (and what type of training they need).
Enter the needs assessment. Needs assessments are tests or processes for unearthing "gaps" between current conditions and desired conditions or "wants.” With a needs assessment, you can determine:
As such, assessments help you make sure that everyone gets the training they need—and your investment in training pays the greatest dividend.
A good manager always measures outcomes, and assessments can help you there too. Using the same tools you used to set up your training initiatives, you can look for progress after team members get back to work. Use these tools to quickly see whether team members actually learned the desired skill/topic/process.
Plus, assessment results can even be used for future planning. For example, based on assessment results you might decide that the next time you send an employee to training, you will cut lessons in skeleton models and add in more training on finite element analysis, where you expect stronger impact.
Example of a “Skill Question” for an assessment of Creo Parametric knowledge.
Let’s face it. The last thing you want as a team leader is to send your talent away for a week of training and then have them return with great new skills—that don’t help address your problem.
By kicking off your next initiative with an assessment, and following that up with coursework based on the results, you make sure your team comes back with some fresh new skills. Then, you can re-assess in time, and make sure they retained what they learned.