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The Orbis Model for Training and Courseware Development

Overview

Orbis Technologies develops training solutions for products, services, and software applications as well as internal corporate education. This page provides an overview of the process for developing a training solution, which is largely the same whether the challenge is to educate end-users on a product or application, train a sales team on a new offering, provide on-the-job training for manufacturing line workers, or teach internal users how to use a new software application. There are several approaches that can be used to meet a specific training goal, including:

The most effective approach will be the one that balances the business requirements with the needs of the intended audience and delivery of the requisite concepts and information. For more information, please see our white paper “Selecting the Right Approach: Training Solutions that Deliver Results.”

For this discussion, we use the term “course” as a generic term to describe any of the various training solutions available, such as a complete eLearning curriculum or a set of training materials.

The Orbis Approach

The initial focus in developing a training solution is ensuring that we thoroughly understand our Client’s goals, challenges, and requirements to assure that the training or courseware being developed aligns with the business needs and objectives. This means understanding not only the information to be conveyed but also the intended audience, their work environment, and the budget and time that can be allocated to training.

Orbis follows a structured approach to training and courseware development projects by first identifying all learning objectives and capturing relevant source material and content. We then gain a thorough understanding of the needs, characteristics, and workplace environment of the audience. Only after this initial analysis has been performed can specific recommendations be made as to the approach and types of training materials that would be effective in meeting the defined goals and objectives.

Our responsibility is to create a dynamic learning experience for each participant that maximizes their opportunity to comprehend and retain the key learning objectives. In order to obtain the required information, we follow a comprehensive three-step process:

Step One: Analysis

During this step, Orbis analyzes the Client’s goals, requirements, and objectives and gains an understanding of the target audience and their work environment. We also will start the process of defining course objectives, topics, and lesson strategies.

Step Two: Design

Step two builds upon the needs analysis by further identifying specific details relating to the course. During this phase our team may meet with your subject matter experts (SMEs) to learn the fundamentals of your product, service, or application. This step provides us with the information needed to design a comprehensive course blueprint.

Step Three: Development & Evaluation

The last step of the process encompasses the content development of the course material, review cycles, and preparation for a course evaluation that can be conducted to provide further input once the course is delivered.

The Orbis Project Team

Depending on the size and scope of a training project, the Orbis project team will include professionals with the appropriate skills and areas of expertise:

Step One: Analysis

During the analysis phase, we have one or more detailed discussions with the appropriate Client personnel to gather specific information about the project. We discuss the impetus for the project along with specific needs, requirements, and challenges to be addressed, as well as gain an in-depth understanding of the target audience and the work environment. We also learn the expectations for delivering the training, including budget and timeframe. Throughout the process, we gather the relevant source material and content that will be needed to develop the training materials in the following ways:  

Project Analysis

During project analysis, we gather the “basics” of the training project. These basics include defining the overall course objectives, establishing preliminary learning objectives, and understanding the policies, process, product, software application, or service participants will be required to learn. The following are sample questions critical to establishing the foundation of the training course or program:

    1. What are the problems or key issues that need to be addressed through the training course or program?
    2. What is the background and experience of the target audience? What is the work environment?
    3. What training material is currently available?
    4. Have the course topics and/or objectives been defined?
    5. How much is documented and how much will need to come via interviews with subject matter or content experts?
    6. Will trainees have access to the product or application during the training?
    7. How many people need to be trained? Is the need likely to grow or change in the future?
    8. Will the course or training materials require updating? If so, how frequently?

Audience Analysis

During audience analysis, we further our understanding of the audience, what participants need to take away from the training, and the background they will bring to the course. The following offers a sample of the questions used in this type of assessment:

    1. Who are the course participants?
    2. What knowledge will a participant possess coming into the training?
    3. Will participants have the same or different levels of background knowledge?
    4. What are participants expected to know after completing the course?
    5. What types of learning constraints exist? Are there any limitations to accommodate when developing or delivering the training?

Timeline and Delivery Expectations

In the final component of our analysis, we address any timeframe constraints, identify the type of evaluation needed, and specify the course format required for delivery. The following offers a sample of questions used for this assessment:

    1. What is the timeline for project completion?
    2. Are there any relevant dates that should be considered, such as: what dependencies exist for the course implementation? For example, are there any sales or product release considerations?
    3. What post-training follow-up is required?
    4. Should course and/or training materials be available online, in softcopy, in hardcopy, or a combination of the formats?

Step Two: Design

The data collected during the analysis phase determines the specific approach for structuring and delivering the concepts and materials for the course. The design phase is focused on identifying the key concepts and the specific details about the relevant policies, processes, product, application, or service, for which we will conduct interviews with subject matter experts.

It also is during this phase that we will gather and identify much of the source materials including design documents, prototypes, applications, and reference content that will be used to develop the training course. Depending on the type of training required, the course design phase may involve the following steps:

  1. Develop a course blueprint that will provide the overall course strategy: learning objectives, instructional approach, course activities, and time estimates.
  2. Design the user interface and user experience by storyboarding the course to ensure that each section or module has the appropriate level of content.
  3. Create the design elements of the training materials: instructor and participant guide template design, slide templates, web-based modules, etc.
  4. Provide recommendations for course reference materials and supplemental documentation.
  5. Deliver drafts of the course blueprint and training material for the Client’s review and approval.

Step Three: Development & Evaluation

The final step is the development of the course content, training materials, and participant evaluations. During this process, the blueprint, storyboards, and/or outline serves as the guide to complete all lessons or modules, finalize course activities, and write the content for the training materials: course presentation, instructor and participant guides, and/or eLearning modules.

An important element of course development that can be overlooked involves the evaluation of the training course or program. This is a joint process for the Client and the course participants. Obtaining feedback from the participants can help determine whether or not learning objectives were met. The following are sample questions that can be used during the course evaluation:

  1. How clear were the primary learning objectives and expectations of the course?
  2. Was the course presented in a cohesive and logical format?
  3. What did you learn that you did not know prior to coming to this course?
  4. What will you do differently moving forward as a result of this course?
  5. Did the course fulfill your expectations? Do you have a better understanding of the product, service, or application you are required to use?

Conclusion

If you are considering training for your company policies and processes, product, service, or software application, it is important to understand the following:

At Orbis Technologies, we understand the value that training materials can offer to a company’s product, service, or software application. We successfully support the diverse training needs of companies such as Hill-Rom, Jacam Catalyst, Wells Fargo, and TransUnion. When you partner with Orbis, you can be confident your project will be completed on schedule and on budget, meeting or exceeding your expectations.


About Orbis Technologies

Orbis has been the trusted content partner of choice for companies and organizations such as American Express, the U.S. Federal Government, The Home Depot, Cisco Systems, UnitedHealthcare, eBay, Facebook, and many more.

When you engage Orbis, we take the time to listen and develop an in-depth understanding of your immediate needs and longer-term challenges. Then, leveraging the capabilities that make us unique, we will provide a best-in-class, client-focused solution designed to achieve your business goals.

Experienced in a host of authoring software and with a wide variety of industries, we specialize in delivering a blend of services for documenting products and processes, training development, translation and localization, and content management.

Whether you need a complete training program to augment a new product or service, or you require job aids for internal learning, Orbis has the experience and skills to deliver the results you are looking for.