3 Keys to Effective Training

Scott Stephens on Jan 27, 2017 12:00:00 PM


Imagine going in for a visit with an eye doctor, who before he performed any tests or assessments, handed you a pair of glasses and said, “Here, this is what you need.”

That would be rather surprising and presumptive, wouldn’t it?

Right or wrong we see this kind of short-cut analysis and prescriptive problem solving in many workplaces today.  Sometimes we may have seen that approach applied to training solutions as well. 

But we all realize the one-size-fits-all, cookie cutter approach is rarely effective, especially with small businesses and growth-oriented companies.   Every organization is unique and each team likely has different strengths and weaknesses.

Finding good training solutions for your business can be challenging but applying some simple criteria in your selection process will help maximize your ROI.  Our experience shows that the best training happens when it is applicable, relevant, flexible and engaging.  It comes down to what you need and how it gets delivered.

Keeping the selection criteria simple, here are three ingredients we suggest considering when looking for a training program that will effectively support your team.

Applicability and Relevance

Training that doesn’t provide the skills preparation you need only wastes your time and money.  The best approach for employers going-in is to first properly identify what training they need that will create the outcome they want to see from their employees.  If you already know that then you are ahead of the curve.  If, however, like many employers, you are unsure of what you need and what may be available, then it’s vital to find someone who can guide you and collaborate on what a program delivers.  Experienced trainers can help you assess your needs and then focus on the specific skills training you need to have addressed.

There are many great training programs and businesses being promoted today.  Careful consideration is vital as you look at not only the quality of the training, but also the specificity that it can be delivered.  The best way to ensure a training program will meet your needs is to work closely with the company who will be delivering the training, something not readily available via a shopping cart. 


Identify the timeline you need and look for a program that will accommodate that important requirement.  If you’re looking for training that begins and ends within a specific period or needs to be delivered in a daily or weekly schedule, then any training that is offered differently won’t be effective for you.  Sometimes you may have to negotiate a training timeline, but for fixed programs that cannot meet your schedule or structure you need to consider if any delay in training will impact the ability of your team to do its work.   

From your company’s perspective understanding when your people who need the training will be available and when they can be scheduled without impacting their work is essential to your planning and search for the right programs.  Finding programs that can accommodate your needs the best will help optimize your ROI. 


Learning happens for many reasons but at the simplest level, there is a need that must be met.  We know that the best learning outcomes occur when students can be fully engaged. 

Training programs that use a variety of techniques and focus on student engagement trend toward building positive learning environments, helping students become active partners in their classes.   Our best teachers are not only experienced in the subject they are teaching but they understand how to relate to their students. They know how to simplify complex subjects, create new awareness, and challenge thinking.  They help students move from an awareness to the application of new skills they have gained. 

Staying competitive in any industry is crucial to growth and sustained success.  Companies that invest in persistent training strategies will increase their opportunities to meet daily operational and long-term strategic objectives.  Finding strong training programs that are applicable, relevant, timely and engaging is an investment that will help your company improve the quality of its employees and provide many dividends over the long term.

The Continuing Education and Workforce Training division of ISU’s College of Technology is a regional leader in providing training opportunities in southeastern Idaho.  We take great pride in supporting our community and helping local employers meet their training needs.  If you need a training program and your priorities include cost-effectiveness, training quality, and employee development, then we encourage you to explore our established offerings as well as our custom training developments here. 


Leave a comment