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Auburn Technical Assistance Center (ATAC)

Better Training Materials-Insights from the ASQ LSS Conference

As I mentioned in my last post, our group just returned from the 2011 ASQ Lean & Six Sigma Conference. For the next few blog posts, I’ll give you a summary of some of the interesting presentations I heard.

The second presentation offered guidance on developing good training material, particularly for Six Sigma classes. Dr. Jack West, former ASQ president, reminded the group that the purpose of training is to close the gap between current behaviors and desired behaviors. Effective training material is especially critical when engaging adult learners. He suggested the following progression for developing materials:

  1. Set desired outcomes and goals- these should start with a verb
  2. Determine where the target material fits into your overall training strategy.
  3. Identify the level of mastery required – Bloom’s Taxonomy-see figure below.
  4. Create the material to appeal to various learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic)
  5. Create examples
  6. Reinforce the examples with practical exercises

Dr. West also presented the concept of Whole-Part-Whole.

Whole- Set the context for the training- why, what, & how

Part- Develop skills, behaviors, and tools

Whole- Summarize , focusing on what and why.

Adults compose the vast majority of our audience in business settings, requiring special teaching methods to engage their interest and desire to learn. Dr. West’s presentation offered a structured approach for developing training materials. What do you think about his suggestions?


Figure retrieved 3/16/11 from:


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Comment by Robert (Bob) Petruska on March 21, 2011 at 6:26pm

Hi. I like the suggestions. I might suggest tying the training into a real business need, and then asking the team to take this on using the new mindsets and tools that were taught. That way you can measure results in terms of business impact. We use the Kirkpatrick modelto evaluate our training, and no one can argue with improved business results.

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." Confucius

Comment by Hank Czarnecki on March 17, 2011 at 7:20am
Like the fact that it follows the Plan Do - Did Jack have any suggestions on how to check that the objectives were met and to adjust?


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