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Focusing Your Training Programs

February 25, 2011

I’m rooting for “The Kings Speech” to sweep the Oscars this Sunday. If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the gist: there’s a guy (Colin Firth) who needs to make a really important speech, but he stutters. He’s seen a lot of specialists with no success and he’s ready to give up. Then he meets a new therapist (Geoffrey Rush) who uses unorthodox methods… I won’t spoil the ending for you, but it’s a true story based on King George the VI at the time when Hitler was threatening to invade England. Not only does this movie have a great message about perseverance, courage and believing in yourself, but it’s an example of working towards a very specific goal with gazelle-like intensity and staying focused on what matters most.

How can we bring that same intensity to our training programs? By identifying the strategic objectives of the firm, setting SMART goals, and providing focused learning opportunities to meet those goals.

Recently I had the privilege of working with one of our clients on their Word 2010 assessment initiative using Profisciencē Partner’s SkillSite Plus™ program, which integrates skills assessment (SkillSite) with Profisciencē’s Learning Management System, UniversitySite™. Their objective: to provide a career path program to their users to enable them to be the best at what they do. Their goal: all staff to be proficient in the Word 2010 core competencies identified by the firm. This included topics on styles, numbering, tables, pagination, document formatting and reference tools.

Profisciencē Partners collaborated with the client and the vendor of the numbering application to customize the assessment to match the firm’s unique environment and best practices. Using both our CLASS™ and CLASSe™ materials and the UniversitySite™ LMS component of SkillSite Plus™, we then engineered a training program designed to prepare the users for the assessment, organizing it by skill category and focusing the content on the core-competencies identified using prelearning, hands-on training, independent exercises and job-aids. By bringing focus to the training program, we were able to take 11 one-hour CLASS™ courses and streamline the content into six 30-45 minute segments with time left to incorporate independent exercises into each course to reinforced training.

One of the new elements that we’ve added to our CLASS™ for 2010 materials is a Learning Plan Worksheet (“LPW”) for each module. They’ve been such a huge success in our Rollout Kits that we wanted to incorporate them into our CLASS™ program. Each LPW contains a suggested learning plan for attorneys, professional assistants, paralegals and staff, along with timings for each exercise to assist training teams with providing focused learning opportunities within the time constraints so common in law firms today. Whether we’re talking about assessments, rollouts, or on-going education, focus is a key element in preparing learners for the adoption of new technologies.

To create a more focused learning experience on a given topic, try this: for your next training class, identify two CLASSe™ Briefs the users can review prior to coming to class, and two topics they could review on their own as post-training. See the difference it makes in providing a more meaningful, timely and enriched learning experience.

One of our objectives here at Traveling Coaches is to help firms and training teams reach their goals. I hope I’ve provided you with some ideas on ways you can focus your training program to achieve greater success. See you at the Oscars!

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