BlogLearning & Development

Training Program Design: Keys to Success

Continu Team
One Platform for All Learning

Explore the essentials of designing an effective training program, from understanding needs to evaluating outcomes, ensuring impactful learning experiences.

Develop a Training Manual That Works

Training design involves planning a program to meet learning objectives, including structure, content, delivery, and assessments. It considers learner needs, organizational goals, and instructional best practices to create effective, engaging training that boosts skills and knowledge.

Everyone knows employee development is necessary, but few companies actually put effort into training program design that really delivers results. According to Inc., while U.S. companies are spending more than $70 billion a year on training, the average employee only spends about one percent of their time on training and development in their workweek. So there’s a big disconnect when it comes to training program design and delivering results.

So if you’re in charge of company training, what are the keys to success when designing a program for your employees?

Questions to ask when designing training programs for employees

Whether you have a learning program in place or are switching to a new system, there are a few key questions to ask yourself before you begin the training program design process.

1. What are my company goals?

Where do you see the company three to five years out? What are your current and future company goals? For example, if you see adding employees to a certain department or launching a new product over the next year, all these goals will shape your training program design. By focusing on key goals, you can tailor a learning program to match.

2. What do you want your employees to learn?

Although this is a simple question, the answer is often complex and requires some thought. In today’s world, flexibility is important to everyone. While this gives employees more freedom, it affects how employees learn. For example, if you have employees who work from home part-time, they will need training sessions that can easily be started at home and finished when in the office.

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3. What is the role of the course administrators?

Training program design is important in creation, but it has to be a system that works for all parties involved. This is true when it comes to who will be administering your courses. Whether you use a corporate Intranet or a better learning management system option, everyone from a team leader to a manager to an in-class instructor needs to be on board with the training program design and what role they will play in administering the training. Plus, the navigation and structure needs to translate easily so that once training is taking place, the process runs seamlessly with minimal questions from the employees.

4. How will employees learn?

Everyone has their own method to learn and some learning styles lend themselves to certain types of training more than others. Before implementing a training program design, think about the various employees who will be taking the training. What are the different personalities involved? What skills need to be taught? Laying out the learning structure first will create a roadmap for design.

5. How will the training be accessed?

We touched on this briefly, but if you are currently using an Intranet to house your training and considering an overhaul of your training program, it’s best to use a learning management system. That way outdated courses and training manuals will be replaced with the latest versions. Plus training can be tracked and analyzed to further tweak the program. And finally, you’ll have access to external support staff when problems or questions arise. Utilizing this help will keep training moving forward and will create fewer bottlenecks that will slow down the process.

Using feedback from managers and employees to improve training program design

After you’ve determined the direction for your training program design, you’ll want to survey employees and managers. It’s important to know what the training needs are of team leaders and what employees are looking to get out of training. If you have an existing training program in place, make sure to ask open-ended questions about the effectiveness of this platform. There are several ways to gain this feedback.

New hire surveys

When you onboard employees, you want them to feel they have made the right decision choosing you as an employer. Training and development are key reasons many people choose a new job in the first place. So during the onboarding process, provide new hires with a survey on training. Find out what they are looking to learn and what new skills they hope to gain. This will help tailor your training program design.

Manager surveys

By surveying or having a roundtable discussion with team leaders, you can learn what each department’s goals are and how these tie into the overall company goals. Also, find out what training they feel was lacking before and what they see as improvement with a training program design

Employee feedback

You may get some feedback from managers as to how their team members feel about training and development, but it’s best to formulate anonymous employee surveys as well. That way employees are free to speak openly about what’s working in training and what’s not. You’ll also want to ask how employees learn best. For example, do they prefer a classroom, onsite, or a blended learning environment? And what style works best for retaining information? Do they prefer gamification, roundtable discussions, bite-sized learning, or some other form of training?

Choosing a training environment for your program design

After you’ve done your research into what training is needed to meet the goals and objectives set by the company and the various departments, you’ll need to decide what type of training will work best. Will you have in-person training, online training or a blended learning program?

In-person training advantages

  • Social interaction during training sessions
  • The ability to get immediate answers to questions
  • Hands-on training is easier in a physical setting
  • Fewer chances for multitasking and decreased focus
  • Flexibility and personalization of each training session

Online training advantages

  • Generally more cost-effective
  • Options to incorporate bite-sized and self-paced learning (which are becoming increasingly necessary in the modern workplace)
  • Higher completion rates
  • Ability to re-access materials which leads to increased retention

Blended learning advantages

  • Better costs
  • Flexibility in which method to use
  • Teaching options
  • Focuses on employees
  • Improves soft skills

Types of training to choose from

Once you have your training environment set, it’s time to think about how your employees will best retain what’s being taught. As we touched on earlier, while one employee learns best in bite-sized training sessions another may learn best using gamification in training. Here are three training methods to consider.

Peer-to-peer learning

Peer-to-peer learning is exactly like it sounds. It’s simply employees learning from one another. This can be accomplished during training in several ways. For example, you can host learning lunches where a topic is discussed within a team or department in an informal way. Or you could have an online chat room within your training module which allows employees to ask each other questions. No matter how you initiate peer-to-peer learning, it’s a valuable tool that also empowers the employees to be the teachers.


Simulations reinforce what was learned and help with changing employee habits. In order to begin, you first want to teach employees key skills in whatever format you want. Then, you want to set up a simulation highlighting these key skills along with any pre-existing knowledge your employees may have. This will help tie new skills with what they are already using.

Story mapping

Story Mapping was invented by Jeff Patton. He has been using this technique to design software products for several years now.  Basically, story maps look at a product or feature from a user perspective. This same technique can be useful in training program design. You want your employees to always think in terms of how your product or service is used by your customers and using story mapping during training will ensure this happens.

Using Continu for training program design

Once you have an outline for your training program design, it’s time to put it into action. If you don’t currently use a learning management system, it’s a good idea to get one. By having this provider, they can help you organize your training and get you up and running quickly and efficiently. Plus, if you need help with certain training modules, they can suggest templates to use.

And more importantly, you’ll have built-in customer service if you or your employees run into issues during training. This will free you up to focus on refining your training strategy.

Continu provides trainers and L&D professionals with all the tools they need to design effective training programs, with features such as:

  • Learning tracks to structure programs
  • Powerful eLearning authoring tools
  • Import third-party or SCORM content
  • Upload training videos and mixed media
  • Add gamification elements to training
  • Collect data through feedback loops and assessments
  • Track and measure employee training progress

Continu is a modern LMS with powerful training program design features for enterprise organizations. Create entire training programs and measure progress all within a single platform. Book a demo today!

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About the Author
Continu Team responsible for Continu's content.
Continu Team
One Platform for All Learning

Continu is the #1 modern learning platform built to help companies scale and consolidate learning. From training customers to employees, Continu is the only platform you need for all learning.

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