September 13th, 2013 Instructional Design

There can be a variety of reasons why an organization needs to create training for their employees. Sometimes it is for standard processes (think orientation training), but other times it is to ultimately change the behavior of the workforce to better the company.

If you have never created training before, or are new to the field, your first stop is probably to do a Google search for a valid training design approach. As a warning, there are many out there, and they can sometimes be quite confusing and theoretical.

Luckily, there are some higher-level approaches you can take when creating employee training. The 5-step process below, originally identified by performance improvement company EJ4, provides a viable path for the trianing development process.

Remember, these process steps are meant to provide you with the framework for your particular situation. You should analyze each step and modify it accordingly to your unique situation.

5-Step Process

1. Identify the Problem – Before you create any training, you need to identify the problem you are trying to solve, and then provide an acceptable definition. If you don’t have a real problem that can be resolved, then a formal training approach is probably not needed.

2. Target the Training – It is often tempting to try to leverage past training materials for new training efforts – this is usually not a good idea. The most effective training is unique to the problem at hand. Target your training so that it directly address the problem you identified.

3. Timing is Everything – While creating your targeted courses, make sure you keep an eye on how added content affects course duration. The average attention span is in decline (12 seconds in the year 2000, today it is at 8 seconds). Keep this in mind when building out your lessons as well. If possible, include various levels of interaction through gamification.

4. Reinforce the Learning – In general, it has been reported that people forget 50-80% of what they have learned after just one day, and up to 98% after a month. To help combat this, create various refresher training courses via elearning so as to keep the training points fresh in the employees’ minds.

5. Facility Growth – The least effective training for solving problems is a “one-and-done” effort. Try to foster a culture of continuous learning so that you can retain the talent in your organization and keep everything running smoothly. You can do this through refresher training, gamification, rewards when training goals are met, etc.

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6 responses

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If 98% of all training is lost after only 1 month, what is the point of doing any training? It would be a complete waste of time and money. I’d like to see where that particular statement comes from.

Avatar Colin

Hi Colin-
Thanks for the note. This was from a study done by EJ4 (see link in original post) – they should be able to provide you with their source for this info.

Hi Colin,

I found myself on this page and read your comment. The question (and answer) bugged me so I did some research.

The EJ4 infographic can be found here –

If you look VERY closely at the bottom of the infographic for the sources, you will find this link –

Which appears to be where this statistic originates from. As you will see, there doesn’t appear to be anything on that page that demonstrates/explains how they arrived at that figure other than pulling it out of their….um…pocket.

I think the lesson here relates to statistics in general (particularly those used in persuasive sales situations and also those ‘passed around’ online) and the ‘Chinese whispers’ principle.

Hope this helps.

Hi Roger-
Thanks for sharing and for the thorough investigation!

I agree with your five steps particularly with the need to reinforce learning. But I’d add this to your first step: you say that if you don’t have a real problem, a formal training approach may not be needed. That’s true. But it is also true that you can have a real problem that cannot be solved with formal training. Plenty of performance concerns are grounded in issues around process, motivation and team dynamics. We should identify these and provide other solutions for them than formal courses.

it depends on the age of trainees to either forget after a certain period or not

Avatar Justin BYIRINGIRO

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