What is Training Requirements Determination?

Very often, in business and government settings, the response to challenging situations is "We need a course in that!"  Often, that sentiment is correct, but sometimes it is not; a better solution might be to reengineer a process so products/services better fits the users' needs.  At others times, it might be to restructure the organization to change the mix of staff when certain talents are no longer neede, or new talents are needed.  But sometimes, new or better training is a key part of a desired soltuion.  The Human Performance Improvement (HPT) model recommended by the International Society for Performance Improvement begins with two major types of analysis:  Performance Analysis (what is the need or the opportunity) and Causal Analysis (why can staff as currently configured do what is needed?)  Training Requirements Determination addresses both of these issues.  Within the Performance Analysis arena, there are two competing factors:  "What is the desired workforce performance?" and "What is the current state of workforce performance?"  Analyzing the gap between these two leads directly into the Causal Analysis, where the determination of exactly what intervention will most likely "fix the problem." 

At times, the answers seem intuitive: "Build a course on that!"  At other times, the answer is not so clear-cut.  Training Requirements Determination usually begins with determining the current state of the workforce's performance in a given area and folds in the desires of stakeholders on what that workforce should be doing.  Depending on the level of analysis needed, Training Requirements Determination can be limited to "what should be trained," or extended through "what competency level should the trainees achieve" and "which method(s) should be used in delivering the training?"  Training Requirements Determination is distinguised from Training Evaluation; evaluation implies measuring specific change of the trainee(s) from Kirkpactrick's Level I (learner's subjective reaction) to Level II (change in learner's knowledge/behavioral repetoir) to Level III (change in learner's performance on the job) to Level IV (return on organization's investment from all learners).

Training Requirements Determination is an essential step in first assessing whether training is an appropriate intervention to achieve the desired state; and if so, which congitive or behavioral competencies should be improved and what are the best methods for delivering that training.

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