The main purpose of an assessment or analysis is to perform a systematic exploration of the way things are and the way they should be. This difference is called The Performance Gap.
The analysis phase is the building block of a training program. The basis for who must be trained, what must be trained, when training will occur, and where the training will take place are accomplished in this phase. The product of this phase is the foundation for all subsequent development activities. Some of the required products of this phase, such as Job Lists or Task Inventories may have already been produced by other departments within the organization. A literature research should be the first step in any analysis to prevent redundant work from being performed.
The analysis phase is often called a Front-End Analysis. That is, although you might perform analysis in the design and development phase, this "front end" of the ISD process is where the main problem identification is performed. It includes the following:
Overview of System or process to gain understanding (if needed)
Compile Task Inventory (if needed)
Job List (if needed)
Job Description (if needed)
Task Inventory (if needed)
Analyze tasks for performance problems (task analysis) or perform needs analysis
Select tasks for training (tasks that have non-training related performance problems should be solved by using other solutions)
Build performance measures
Select instructional setting
Estimate Cost (if needed)
Notice that some of the steps include the note "(if needed)". The first one, Overview of System, does not have to be performed if the training activity is already in close contact with the client. Many training departments work with other departments on a day-to-day basis, so they are already quite familiar with their clients. While other training departments are organized quite different and only come in contact with clients on an as-needed basis. Your familiarity with the clients will determine the scope of System Overview that will need to be performed.
Depending upon the requirements of the project, Compile Task Inventory, Job List, Job Description, and Task Inventory may not have to be performed. These are normally only performed once in an organization and then updated on an as needed basis. Performing them every time a client needs training would be a waste of time and money. But, when you are tackling performance problems, the pertinent parts should be reviewed so that you know what the job and task requirements are, and then updated so that anyone who follow you will have valid material to work with.
Training activities are budgeted in a wide variety of ways, so the degree of "Estimating Training Cost" will depend upon the organization you are working for. Generally speaking, the closer you are to your clients, the less you have to estimate. For example, a small Training & Development detachment located within a manufacturing facility might only have to justify its time and capital expenditures, while a training vendor might have to give a full development estimate before a training program is approved.
Motorola calculates that for every $1 spent on training, there is a $30 productivity gain within three years - Ronald Henkoff, "Companies That Train Best," Fortune (March 22,1993).
A study by the National Center on the Educational Quality of the Workforce at the University of Pennsylvania found that a dollar invested by a company in education was more than twice as effective in boosting the firm's productivity as a dollar invested in new machinery - Washington Post (December 29, 1996).
Analyze the System
The purpose of this activity is to aid in the decision making process by defining all the elements, issues, facts, and features taking place in the client's system or process. The information gathered in this step provides a basic background for training developers, consultants, contractors, etc. Training programs have failed in the past and will continue to fail because the training activity did not understand the needs or wants of its clients. This step allows the training activity to understand the technical, non-technical, political, social, and cultural aspects of the client's system.
Don't be alarmed by the term "Analyze the System". This is not a full scale systems analysis. It is just an information gathering technique to provide a solid background for anyone involved in the training process.
This phase also allows the client to understand the training activity and its purpose. Clients often view outside activities as meddlers who interrupt their daily flow of work. These clients are often on the defensive and hide their true feelings and facts. During this initial phase you must bring the clients in on the training development activities and make them a part of the solution. It is universally advised that the clients of a proposed system be extensively involved in the construction of any new project. Besides introducing the clients and the training activity to each other, other benefits include that the clients will accept and benefit from a system that they themselves helped to define. Also, nobody knows the system's requirements better than the people who own it.
The SME (Subject Matter Experts) who are sent to help with a new project are often the ones who have developed Band-Aids that keep the system running. This is not a put down, but rather a compliment. For without them the entire system would have collapsed into absolute chaos. These people often become frustrated with the pace of the analysis process, not understanding why development of the project cannot begin immediately. They often jump ahead to design and development. Ensure you capture such suggestions in the form of design notes attached to the analysis documents for later consideration. This allows team members to feel their inputs are considered important and will not be forgotten.
You should also understand the scope of the system or process. The scope of a system is the system's boundaries. For example, you are analyzing a production department. You notice that it takes many supplies to keep it operating, such as raw material to make the product, cleaning supplies, maintenance supplies, etc. Don't get led off into studying the inventory control department. They are probably two entirely different systems or processes. Stay within one process at a time until you thoroughly understand it. A process is a planned series of actions that advances a material or procedure from one stage of completion to the next. The beginning of a process starts with a trigger that causes a specific action to be taken by a person, another process, or work group. The ending occurs when the results get passed on to another person, process, or work group.
Knowing the basics of a system enables you to better understand the tasks that lay ahead. Although you are interested in the system as a whole, so that you may understand its purpose and goals, the main emphasis of this initial research should be on the people within the system. You need to learn as much about the proposed learners (target population) as possible. The target population data is essential and most useful when making decisions about the proposed learning program. You must understand the people issues! This is the biggest variable in a training program...and one of the hardest parts of a training program to account for. Statisticians can tell you every fact you want to know about the "average" person...but I dare you to find a real live average person. Listed below are some of the aspects you should be looking for:
Anticipated number of learners
Location of learners
Education and experience of the learners
Background of learners
Experience in present or related jobs
Job performance requirements versus present skill levels
Language or cultural differences of learners
Motivation of learners.
Physical or mental characteristics of learners
Specific interests or biases of learners.
Some of the basic requirements to obtain are listed in Appendix B - System Overview. No matter what instrument you use, it must contain enough information for someone not familiar with the system to get a basic understanding of it by providing "the big picture" of the system and most importantly, the people who work within it.
Invite the client manager and supervisors to lunch or meet on a regular basis. Guide them into them discussing their problems and frustrations. Managers do have time for short encounters, and most of them actually like the opportunity to discuss their issues. However, they do not have the time or resources to tackle a training needs analysis project. That is the trainer's job.
During the meeting, do not mention training or methods for solving performance problems. Your job is to guide, listen, and interpret. Once the lunch or meeting is over, reflect on what was said and use that information in your analysis. When it is time to brief them on your initial analysis project, show how the training department can help with some of their problems.
Compile Task Inventory
If you are doing a full scale analysis, then you might be asked to compile a Job list, Job Descriptions, and Task Inventory for each job. These three assignments are not normally performed every time you research a performance problem. But they are essential to anyone involved in HRD, management, or performance as they set the standards for how a job is to be performed.
If the job and task inventories have already been compiled, then you should review and update them before moving on to the task analysis or needs analysis.
A job list is a compilation of all job titles associated with the system. Jobs are collection of tasks and responsibilities. A job is generally associated with the worker's title. Secretary, welder, and bookkeeper are jobs. A job consists of responsibilities, duties, and tasks that are defined and can be accomplished, measured, and rated. It is used as an employment tool for classifying work and for selecting employees.
An example of a job list is shown in Appendix B - Department Job List. This document is used for compiling all the jobs within a department or system. Its purpose is to ensure that all the jobs belonging to a system have been identified and accounted for. Again, the Human Resource Department has probably already compiled this document. If so, you should ensure it is up to date, and that you understand all the jobs listed within it.
A job description is then obtained by performing a job analysis. This is the process of breaking down the complexity of a person's job into logical parts. It identifies the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to perform the job correctly. It is often concerned with the subjective elements of a job...that is, expectations and attitudes.
When writing the Job Description, try to create a picture of the job that shows what will be expected of anyone fulfilling the position. Also, prepare a job description for each position. That is, you might have two sales positions, but some tasks may be different or are included in one position but not the other.
An example of a job description form is given in Appendix B - Job Description.
A Task Inventory is compiled for each job in a department or system. A task is a function the jobholder performs, such as typing a letter, spot-welding a crack, or posting accounts into a ledger. A task is a well defined unit of work. It stands by itself. It is a logical and necessary action in the performance of a job or duty. It has an identifiable start and end point and results in a measurable accomplishment or product. It takes Skills, Knowledge, and Attitudes (SKA) to perform a task. Some jobs may only have a couple of tasks associated with them, while others will have dozens of tasks.
The following are characteristics of tasks:
A task has a definite beginning and end.
Tasks are performed in relatively short periods of time. They are usually measured in minutes or hours.
Tasks are observable. By observing the performance of a jobholder, a definite determination can be made that the task has been performed.
Each task is independent of other actions. Tasks are not dependent on components of a procedure. A task is performed by an individual for its own sake.
A task statement is a statement of a highly specific action. It always has a verb and an object. It may have qualifiers, such as "measure distances with a tape measure". A task statement should not be confused with an objective which has conditions and standards.
"Adjust gears on a 10 speed bicycle" is a task statement. "Given a broken 10 speed bicycle and a tool kit, adjust gears. Bicycle must be operable." is an objective. "Practice good safety habits" is NOT a task statement...it cannot be measured. "Supervise personnel" is not a task statement. Use an action word to indicate what the jobholder performs, such as "Plans daily work schedule".
The task inventory consists of all the tasks that a jobholder requires to perform the job to standards. Each and every task performed by the job incumbent must be listed on the task inventory. It provides vital information about the skills, knowledge, and abilities required to perform a job. This information is valuable for developing employee selection procedures and training programs. For hiring, it informs the selection committee and applicant of what the job entails. For training purposes, it tells the developer what the job requires. It is also valuable for setting standards in performance appraisals and evaluating jobs to determine the correct pay level. Again, this document may already have been created. You should ensure that it truly represents the tasks being performed by the job holder, and that all the tasks are listed.
When writing the task, start each task with a verb, indicate how it is performed, and state the objective. For example: "Loads crates using a forklift." One way of getting a comprehensive list is to have the employees prepare their own list, starting with the most important tasks. Then, compare these lists with yours. Finally, discuss any differences with the employees, and make changes where appropriate. This helps to ensure that you have accounted for all tasks and that they are accurate. It also gets them involved in the analysis activity.
Appendix B - Task Inventory is an example of a task inventory form.
Task or needs analysis should be performed whenever there are new processes or equipment, when job performance is below standards, or when requests for changes to current training or for new training are received. An analysis helps ensure that training is the appropriate solution.
See tasks for more information
At this point you should fairly well understand the system or process you are researching. You should know the purpose of the system, the people within the system, and the main goals they are trying to achieve. You should also know the jobs and the associated tasks the system requires.
You and the clients are now ready to select the tasks to be trained. The information gathered in the systems overview, i.e., surveys, interviews, etc., will aid in your decision making process. Two processes are used in the identification of areas to be trained - Task Analysis and Needs Analysis.
A Task Analysis sequences and describes observable, measurable behaviors involved in the performance of a task or job. It involves the systematic process of identifying specific tasks to be trained, and a detailed analysis of each of those tasks in terms of frequency, difficulty and importance.
When deciding which tasks to train, two guiding factors must be used -- effective and efficient. Seek the best program within acceptable costs while meeting the learning intents. Often it helps to select tasks for training by dividing them into three groups:
Those that are to be included in a formal learning program.
Those that are to be included in On-the-Job-Training (OJT).
Those for which no formal or OJT is needed (i.e., job performance aids or self study packets).
When selecting tasks to be trained consider the following factors:
Is the training mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act?
Could a job performance aid or self study packet be used in place of formal training?
Can people be hired that have already been trained?
Is training needed to ensure their behavior does not compromise the company's legal position, i.e., Equal Employment Opportunity, labor relations laws, or state laws?
What will happen if we do not train this task?
What will be the benefits if we do train this task?
If we don't train it, how will the employee learn it?
How will this training help to achieve our goals?
Below are questions to ask when performing a Task Analysis:
How difficult or complex is the task?
What behaviors are used in the performance of the job?
How frequently is the task performed?
How critical is the task to the performance of the job?
To what degree is the task performed individually, or is part of a set of collective tasks?
If a subset of a set of collective tasks, what is the relationship between the various tasks?
What is the consequence if the task is performed incorrectly or is not performed at all?
To what extent can the task be trained on the job?
What level of task proficiency is expected following training?
How critical is the task?
What information is needed to perform the task? What is the source of information?
What are the performance requirements?
Does execution of the task require coordination between other personnel or with other tasks?
Are the demands (perceptual, cognitive, psychomotor or physical) imposed by the task excessive?
How often is the task performed during a specified time-frame (i.e., daily, weekly, monthly, yearly)?
How much time is needed to perform this task?
What prerequisite skills, knowledge, and abilities are required to perform the task?
What is the current criteria for acceptable performance? What is the desired criteria?
What behaviors distinguish good performers from poor performers?
What behaviors are critical to the performance of the task?
Answered By: minty359 - 6/3/2007