Tools such as National Occupational Standards (NOS) support organisations defining learning and development – the NOS define the standards of performance required to meet organisational objectives and also specify the skills and knowledge required to work to these standards. They therefore help to ensure that learning and development is clearly linked to organisational performance and provide a complete curriculum of the knowledge and skills staff need to work effectively.
Having said that, once the most appropriate Standards have been identified, the learning programme still has to be developed and delivered.
Steps to take:
Step 1 Specify the learning outcomes
Use the National Occupational Standards to help you specify the results you want from the learning activities.
For example, at the end of the learning programme, learners might need to be competent to ‘Provide information to clients’ as defined in unit LA5 of the Legal Advice Standards.
At the end of their learning, learners need to provide opportunities for them to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills they require and apply these under supervision until they are competent in this area.
At the end of a theory learning, learners will need to know how to help clients express themselves, how to identify their information requirements, the range of information available, different formats for presenting information to clients, how to check clients’ understanding of the information and how to deal with any problems that may arise.
At the end of the practical learning, learners will have had the opportunity to develop their skills in questioning, active listening, presenting information, checking understanding, summarising, reviewing and reflecting.
After a period of supervised practice, learners will have developed their competence in providing information to clients and they will consistently perform in line with the statements of effective performance in the unit.
Core to scoping out training is to specify what success will look like – this MUST be in place early.
Step 2 Design the programme
Design the training or development programme to meet the learning outcomes required, taking into account learners’ abilities and styles, and the resources available.
There might be a number of different learning or development activities required to meet the learning outcomes in full.
For example, a programme could involve the following:
Background reading on the area
Classroom sessions to ensure learners develop the necessary knowledge and skills
Simulated activities to help learners practise their skills and develop their confidence
Practice in real conditions under the guidance and supervision of a competent professional
Group work with other learners to discuss and learn from experiences
Assessment of competence against the National Occupational Standards through observation, a personal report and additional evidence
Partnership training with colleagues from other agencies
Step 3 Identify the most suitable training delivery service and delivery logistics – for example:
Coaching – who provides the most cost effective coaching training for your staff?
E-learning – who is going to develop and deliver the programme? How will staff access the training material? When will they do this?
Step 4 Quality assure the training materials and delivery logistics to ensure you are not setting yourself for failure.
Ideally roll the training out with a small number of trusted staff to iron out inevitable glitches
Step 5 Rollout
Once you are comfortable that the training is focussing on the right things and will be delivered in the most appropriate format, then initiate a wider rollout.