Training 101 – What we can learn about training from the Little Rascals

thZU0PW7HSA little lengthy but probably worth the read in the long run if you have been tasked with developing a “training event” by a well meaning person with absolutely no training development experience.

Just a primer for how to develop training (from an old training professional). Training can be deceptively simple. I am often reminded of an episode of the Little Rascals when I was a kid. They needed money and were sitting around scratching their heads for a solution. Suddenly Alfalfa stands up and says, “Hey, I have an idea… let’s put on a show” The show goes on in an amateurish kind of way with pieces of the set falling down around the hapless actors and the spotted dog running away with some of the props at a critical moment. Only the miracle of a generous movie director makes the thing work in the end.

The lesson from the Rascals is as old as time itself: if you fail to plan, you should plan to fail (unless you have a generous director)

My experience in industry is that we approach training much the same way as the Rascals approached putting on the show (again, without having a generous movie director to save us in the end).

Rule of thumb: Allow enough time for the training to be constructed. According to most industry professionals, new training can have a 32 – 1 development ratio (hours) and existing training modified for a new purpose typically requires a 16-1 ratio. That means for every hour of classroom time either 32 or 16 hours should be committed to having a successful outcome.

Even as lacking as some of the canned corporate training is, I would be willing to bet that training specialists spent an equivalent amount of time developing what they have in their library. As someone who developed training for a living, I can assure you of this.

Where does the time go?

Most training professionals use something similar to the ADDIE process which is a spiral of PDCA activities.

Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation are the five steps to excellent learning outcomes.

Analysis: Creating lists and analyzing the real needs.

  • You Plan by understanding the who, what , where, when , why and how (5W and H).
  • You Do by seeing a short list of potential solutions,
  • You Check by circling back to your target audience or their sponsors and validating your assumptions,
  • You Adjust by tailoring the training to the perceived needs. A good training specialist will have tools they use to accomplish all of these steps and then the final PDCA includes a quality gate signed off by a Master Trainer

Design: Design the best method for solving the problem or gap identified in the analysis. Using the information (needs) provided during the assessment,

  • The designer Plans the design of the course. This includes creating targeted learning objectives, learning material, supporting material, classroom needs, instructor qualifications, and measurements for success.
  • They DO by actually creating the materials and preparing all support structures.
  • They Check by having a beta trial to test for effectiveness. The design phase also include future assessment activities.
  • They Adjust as needed and prepare the package for the quality gate sign off by the Master Trainer.

Development: Once the design has been approved, the materials are then developed.

  • The developer Plans  the 5W and H for the actual material development .
  • Then the developer Does ensure that all of the materials are correctly prepared and standardized.
  • The Check in this case is with the Designer and end user to check for completeness.
  • The Adjust is to make any corrections before the initial roll out once agian via the Master Trainer.

Implementation: There must be a well thought out method for implementing and delivering the training
Plan that includes input from the analysis phase. again this would include an implementation 5W and H. In the analysis phase, generic potential participants and providers are identified. In this phase, actual participants and logistics to ensure their participation are mapped out. Instructional assignments are then made and support structures put in place. If anything is not ready for this phase, document why and keep moving (an A4 problem solving will be done in the Evaluation phase).

  • The Do is simple. Role out the training.
  • The Check by using immediate feedback tools (level one evaluations) and any other evaluations recommended in the design phase.
  • Implementers Adjust between ever delivery and be ready to pull the ANDON if you have a train wreck on your hands. Even the best designs fail from time to time for a number of reasons.


  • The Plan includes evaluation check points,
  • The Do includes execution of the evaluations.
  • Check means a predetermined measurements for success or need for Adjust.

Of course, the argument is that all of this looks great but you need resources. I couldn’t agree more. But in the meantime, its always good to know that there is an actual design of learning. Its also a great way to understand why so much of industry training that doesn’t use the model fails to meet the objectives.


Mister Mac

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