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A - Z of a Successful Freelance IT Trainer: T is for Training Needs Analysis

One of the major keys to successful stress-less freelance IT training is effective training needs analysis (TNA).

Whenever I look at when a training delivery assignment/project has not gone smoothly, and anything that could have gone wrong has done, I have found that little or no TNA had been completed.

The issue is that are so many parties who are involved in the training project, who are all invested, but for different reasons, and thus have different agendas.

You have the:
  • Individual tasked with resourcering the trainer, whose task it is to get the best training deal of the century, but do not know enough of the software.

  • Manager, who wants everything yesterday, and is pressurising the underling to raise their performance

  • Delegate, who thinks they know what they know, but does not really know what they do not know.

  • Training organisation sales person, who wants to sell as much as possible at the highest price as possible, regardless of whether the course actually meets the needs of the end client or not,  and

  • Trainer who has to deliver the training assignment, where everything has been discussed and finalised, and the minimum information about the requirement is given.
Training Needs Analysis, is simply the process of identifying the skills gap between currently skills and/or knowledge and the required skills and/or knowledge of individuals within the organisation, and should be done way before the training is delivered.

Some of the most important things to be included within the TNA document is:
  • Why is the training needed?
  • What skills need updating?
  • Who needs training?
  • When are the new skills needed/
  • Where will the training be delivered/
  • How will the knowledge/skills be transferred?

Why is TNA not done?

It comes down to time and money

I have found, especially for the ad-hoc training assignments, very few training organisations engage in TNA,  and it is only when one turns up to deliver the course that it is clearly apparent that delegates are on the wrong course or level of course.

Sometimes one maybe lucky and get a little hint by the client as one is about to enter the classroom, and there is a whisper “Just deliver what the customer asks you to deliver, the course outline is just really a rough outline of the course content…..”

And then one as the training profession is expected to weave one's magic to deliver a course to exceed the expectation of the client, with no clear goal or objectives for the training.

As thrilling as delivering training by the seat of one’s pants seems, personally I do not like such surprises and rather both the client and I know why this training is being delivered and what the outcomes will be.

I would like to hear your comments, experience, opinions and thoughts about this subject, please drop me a line or two below:


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