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Glossary of Training Terms

March 06, 2008

A knowledge, skill, ability, or trait which is needed to succeed at a particular task or job.

Competency Model
A list of critical knowledge, skills, abilities, and traits needed to succeed in a job, job family, or organization. Competency models can be used to select, develop, evaluate, and reward performers. Some competency models focus on baseline (minimal level) skills needed while others identify target competencies needed for the highest level (mastery) of performance. Competency models often identify competencies which must be selected for (because they are innate or hard to train) and those which may be developed or learned through training or coaching.

Computer-Based Training
Training that is delivered via a computer as opposed to an instructor or paper-based format. CBT programs typically incorporate a mix of text, graphics, animation and interactive exercises. CBT is often used as an all-encompassing “umbrella” Term to represent any training delivered by computer, including multimedia training and Internet/Intranet. Other Terms that are often used interchangeably with CBT are Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI), Interactive Training, On-Line Training, and Technology-Based Training (TBT).

Design of Training/Learning Intervention
The process of determining the purpose, objectives, structure, format, and instructional methods for a training program or learning intervention, such as coaching, OJT, and so forth.

Design Specifications (Design Specs)
A written document summarizing the design blue print for a training program or learning intervention which helps to guide the design team in developing program materials. Design specs usually include the following sections:

-Background or context for development of the program: business reason for offering a program at this time, history of the problem to be resolved, sponsorship, key issues, etc.

-Target audience: description of people to be trained, including job titles, numbers, location, and other characteristics that would affect the program design.

-Purpose: A clear statement of what the program is intended to do generally

-Learning Objectives: what trainees will be able to know or do as a result of the program

-Requirements & Constraints: conditions which must be adhered to by the designer, e.g. time frames, budget, methods to include or exclude, systems constraints, characteristics of the materials

Developmental Need
A gap between an individual’s current skill/knowledge/ability level and the level required for effective performance success in the future.

Development of Training/Learning Intervention
The development phase follows the design phase. It includes creation of any tangible materials involved in a training program, job aid, or intervention. Development results in creation of the finished products needed to deliver training, e.g. trainer’s (instructor’s) leader’s guide, trainee (participant) workbook, hand outs, flip charts, CBT storyboard (script), video tape, etc. Development does not include arranging for program logistics, such as booking rooms, determining meals, arranging for travel, etc.

Document of Understanding (DOU)
A written document which describes the background, purpose, benefits, scope, deliverables, assumptions, resource requirements, time frames, and change management procedure for a given project. It includes a “sign-off” section which should be signed and dated by the sponsor, business partners, project manager, and other key project resources once the project parameters have been finalized.

Electronic Performance Support System (EPSS)
Systems that provide employees with the information, advice, and learning experiences they need to get up to speed as quickly as possible and with the minimum support from other people. EPSS solutions include:

-On-line Help/Reference/Job Aids

-Best Practices/Expert Advice

-Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

-Task support (procedures, policies, examples)

The process of helping a group to accomplish its goals by encouraging and leading discussion, tracking ideas and progress, synthesizing ideas, and keeping the group on course by balancing preplanned goals with spontaneously occurring needs. Facilitation assists a group in discovering its own insights, learning, and needs.

Learning Objective
Statement that identifies what learners need to learn, i.e., know and do (abilities, skills, behaviors) as a result of a learning intervention. Generally, learning objectives are phrased in this format: “As a result of completing X training, participants will be able to…”

Needs Assessment
The process of identifying, prioritizing and documenting gaps between performance goals/standards and actual performance for a target population. It also includes deTermining likely causes of gaps in performance. A needs assessment may uncover training needs as well as other types of needs, e.g. need for positive consequences, feedback, clear performance standards, etc. A training needs assessment focuses on uncovering and documenting training needs.

Needs Assessment Methods
A variety of methods used to assess gaps between goals and actual performance. Needs assessment methods can include questionnaires/surveys, interviews with individuals or groups, advisory groups, analysis of organizational documents, and observation of work situations, and so forth. Generally more than one method is used during an assessment to provide a broad picture and build support for the conclusions.

Performance Consultant
A role which is responsible for identifying and addressing the performance needs of people in an organization. The performance consultant determines performance gaps and the reasons for these gaps. He or she then provides services that assist in changing or improving performance. Interventions may or may not include training as well as other human resource related solutions that impact performance.

Request for Proposal (RFP)
A consistent document submitted to one or more vendors (consultants) which requests that the vendors send a proposal to address a specific problem. The RFP usually includes a standard cover letter which briefly describes the situation and request and several attachments which provide more detailed information:

-Design specifications which describe the program(s) to be designed or developed

-UNUM background documents, e.g. summary of research describing the problem to be solved. For new vendors includes general company documents such as UNUM’s vision and values, the 98 goals, recent annual reports, etc.

-Description of the vendor selection process and requirements: what must be included in the proposal, time frames for a decision, steps in decision making, etc.

-Vendor selection criteria (optional): RFPs may describe characteristics needed by vendors in order to help unqualified vendors to self-select out of the process.

Status Report
A summary document which describes progress relating to accomplishment of a goals within the target time frame. Status reports may be in a standardized format or may be free form. They often include the following:

-key accomplishments

-problems in meeting goals (resource problems, external changes which impact the project, early warning signs of potential problems)

-whether or not deadlines will be met, including changes in the schedule

-variance from budget and any revisions to the budget.

Planned learning to develop needed skills, knowledge, ability to improve performance in one’s current job.

Training Evaluation Levels 1 – 4
According to Kirkpatrick, the effectiveness of a training intervention can be evaluated at four different levels.

-Level 1 = reaction/ satisfaction with the program. Did the trainees like the program? Generally assessed by “smile sheets” or program evaluation forms completed at the end of training.

-Level 2 = learning. Did the trainees obtain new knowledge, skills, or behaviors as a result of the training. Generally assessed through some form of test.

-Level 3 = application of learning on the job. Did the trainees apply their new knowledge/skill on the job? Assessment must occur after the training is complete and the trainee is in their work environment.

-Level 4 = results. How did the training intervention impact actual business results (both quantitative and qualitative)?

Training Evaluation Level 5 (ROI):
Jack Phillips measures training evaluation at Level 5 = return on investment (ROI) which compares the benefits (financial and other) of the training intervention compared with the cost of the intervention.

Training Needs Analysis
A process to determine what people need to learn and how training may help. The result of the analysis is a training needs report which identifies prioritized training/learning needs and interventions needed to reduce key performance gaps.

An external supplier who provides a product or service for a fee.

Web-based Training (WBT)
Sometimes referred to as Internet- or Intranet-based training, Web-based training (WBT) is a popular term for instruction that is delivered over the Internet or a company’s intranet. The Web-based training program is accessed through a Web browser, such as Netscape or Internet Explorer.

In addition to the instructional component, WBT technology supports collaborative learning through on-line chat rooms, forums, Bulletin boards, etc.

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