6 Easy Steps to Conducting Training Content/Post Project Reviews

– Chuck Jones

Last week we shared three New Year’s resolutions for learning and development professionals.  The first resolution was Review, Renew and Refresh.  In it we recommended that Learning and Development professionals resolve to complete a review of all available content and retire that which is outdated and no longer relevant.  Further, resolve to check for opportunities to renew and refresh existing content.  This week, we’ll take a look at a simple process to help you conduct your annual content check-up.

One of the best methods to utilize for your annual content review was initially established by the military.  At the conclusion of every military mission, the teams involved meet and review what happened in an “after-action review” (sometimes referred to as a post mortem).  The process starts with the original objectives for the mission and seeks to answer six questions.  For learning and development professionals, this same process can be used to examine current training content.  The six questions to ask about each training program are:

  1. What was our intended business impact?  Most training starts with the identification of a business need, sometimes through completion of a full needs analysis.  What was the original business need?  If reviewing service training, what impact on service scores was expected?  If reviewing sales training, what was the intended impact?  Increase in revenues?  Increase in bookings/closings?  As advocated by Covey, “start with the end in mind.”
  2. What actually happened?  After identifying the original business need the training was designed to address – what were the actual results?  Did customer satisfaction scores improve and if so, by how much?  Did revenues increase?  Did bookings or closing ratios improve?
  3. What worked?  In reviewing the training, determine what went well.  Were students pleased with the experience?  How would you rate the development process of the program?  How would you rate the cost of delivering the program?  Were the business results positive?
  4. What can be improved?  The flip side of # 3, where are areas to improve the training program.   Are costs too high?  Are business results lackluster?  Are students expressing dissatisfaction with the experience?  Are test scores indicating knowledge transfer is suboptimal?
  5. What did we learn?  Taking all of the insights you gained in steps one through four, what did you learn that could be useful to others? Based on your analysis, are there larger lessons to share with the organization?
  6. What should be done differently now?  Continue the course “as is” and monitor for improved results?  Refine the course so as to incorporate new insights?  Use the current content, but change the delivery channels (classroom to eLearning or a blended approach)?

The key to this process is to revisit the original thinking and intentions behind the training course and then identify what is working, what isn’t working, and create a roadmap for the future.