Monthly Archives: June 2011

12 Questions to Use When Defining the Performance Gap

Trainers in our 4MAT instructional design courses often share that they get requests for content, rather than outcomes. Before you begin to determine what content should be included in an instructional design, there are two things you need to know: what is the outcome you are tasked with generating and what shift in learner behavior will produce it.

Analyzing the issue with key stakeholders, you can mutually define the desired outcomes of the training course you are tasked with designing. A stakeholder may be the manager or leader which requests training, a senior level executive who assesses the value of the training or any influencer who evaluates budgeting for your area of accountability. The right questions will guide the needs analysis conversation and lead to the identification of the performance gap and the four critical outcomes which will help you bridge this gap. Gaining a mutual definition of success for your training program will guide development.

Performance gap refers to the difference between the desired level of performance and the actual level of performance which currently exists. When processing the training request from a stakeholder, the following questions will help guide the conversation to define the gap.

Desired performance:

  • What is the desired result of this training program?
  • How will you measure the success of the program? Is there a metric you are currently using to assess this area of performance?
  • If you were to fast forward 30 days from the completion of this course, what new behaviors would you observe that would lead you to believe the training was successful?
  • Do you have any team members who are already performing at this level? Can you share their results?

Current performance:

  • How would you describe the current level of performance?
  • What measurement are you using to assess performance now?

Analyzing causes:

  • What do you see as the source of the issue?
  • Can you identify performers who are achieving desired results?
  • How do high performers think differently? Act differently?
  • What actions have you already taken to address the performance gap?
  • How do managers support and/or coach the behaviors?
  • How are performers acknowledged or rewarded for the desired performance behavior?

These 12 questions represent a sample of the first set of questions used to guide the needs analysis process.

FAQ: “If I want to learn more about leading needs analysis and defining learning outcomes, which 4MAT course do you recommend?”

The Leading Training Needs Analysis to Define Results:  Focused Learning Outcomes Online Course is offered in an online and live format. Click here for more information: live or online.