The Business of Learning

What’s Your Definition of Training Perfection?

In an ideal world, a ‘perfect’ training program would result in near 100 percent adoption of skills learned. It would be effective, scalable, repeatable and (most importantly) cost-efficient. Achieving perfection, however, is easier said than done.

At Raytheon Professional Services (RPS), we follow the Raytheon Six Sigma process which entails six steps that guide projects to a successful completion. When applied to training, these six steps enable organizations and individuals to operate more efficiently and make fewer mistakes, while reducing costs and increasing overall impact. Let’s take a look at the six steps and how each pertain to training program development –

  1. Visualize. Identify the business need, skills gap or problem that needs addressing. Set benchmarks to measure against to show growth or improvement throughout the process. To be successful, you need to understand what success looks like at each stage of the training program.  Here are a few questions you can ask yourself as you get started – Who is the target audience? What skills do I want them to learn as part of this training program? How will acquiring those skills impact their job performance?
  2. Commit. Dedicate a person or team to oversee the program from design through implementation.
  3. Prioritize. Identify the people, tools and processes needed to implement change. Eliminate wasteful or unnecessary steps or processes. For instance, can one person teach several aspects of a training program or are multiple trainers needed? Can a three-day training seminar be condensed into two days or offered online?
  4. Characterize. This step involves optimizing your existing processes – focus on those that work best and determine how you can scale or repeat them. As mentioned earlier, downplay or eliminate processes that aren’t effective.
  5. Improve. Based on the previous steps, and how the training was received by those involved (learning leaders, learners and program developers), implement new processes and incorporate best practices learned along the way.
  6. Achieve. Celebrate the team’s successes when goals are met. Ask them to share their feedback: what worked, what didn’t, and what they would change moving forward.

Applying Six Sigma to training program development can significantly improve results and training outcomes. These six steps can help your organization focus the most time, energy and money on the program aspects that have the biggest impact on the end result. You may also use Six Sigma to help you minimize variation and standardize your program in many areas when appropriate, positively impacting efficiency and overall impact. With a clear understanding of what your training program needs to achieve, how you are going to do it, and what success looks like, you’re off to a great start.

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