Developing Professional Trainers for Fortune 500 Companies since 1969

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ESF Total Training System ...

A Process Approach to Solving
Complex Human Resource Needs ...

Overview of the Training Cycle


Use the Training Cycle to Plan, Run & Evaluate Your Training Department

Educational Systems for the Future®, founded in 1969 by Drs. Peter and Mary Esseff, has since that time, developed the Total Training System depicted in the Training Cycle graphic below. Within the Training Cycle ESF has identified three phases needed to produce a professional training department as well as individual professional trainers.

These three phases are outlined in ESF's Management of Training (MOT) Course which runs through and links all three phases. MOT is designed to take the Training Manager through a Training Cycle that involves three major training responsibilities: Plan, Run and Evaluate. These are outlined in Step 1 which describes the Management of Training course (see below).

Four Basic ESF Processes Within ESF's Training Cycle

Included within and part of the Training Cycle are four basic ESF Processes formalized in ESF's Total Training System. These include:

These processes have been revised and updated over the years and have been expanded to include a full curriculum of instructional materials leading to qualifications as a Professional Trainer, hence the term ProTrainer.

Total Training System

Total Training System

Training Cycle: Plan, Run, Evaluate

Step 1: Use Management of Training Processes Throughout Cycle

Training Cycle: Plan, Run, Evaluate

The first step in the Total Training System is more like an umbrella that covers all aspects of the Training Cycle. ESF's Management of Training Course includes various steps that involve the Training Manager.

This training program is designed to take the Training Manager through the entire Training Cycle that involves the Manager's three major training responsibilities, Plan, Run and Evaluate as outlined below.

Within each phase are areas that are covered more specifically and comprehensively in individual ESF courses:

Training Cycle: Plan
  • Perform a Training Needs Analysis (See Step 2 below)
  • Find the Right Training Programs and Gain Organizational Support
  • Design, Develop, and Validate training programs (See Step 3: IDLS: Design Training Programs below)
  • Project your Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Develop a Training Plan
  • Prepare a Training Budget
  • Forecast training needs for unit's Five-Year Business Plan

Training Cycle: Run
  • Facilitate Communications
  • Schedule facilities, equipment, programs, and people
  • Keep Records and Reports
  • Hire and Support Staff
  • Arrange Meetings, Correspondence, and Publicity
  • Conduct Interactive Classes (See Step 4: Interactive Teaching Skills program below)
  • Coach Learners during Interactive Skills Labs (See Step 4: Conducting Skills Labs program below)
  • Interact with All Learners, even those who may present classroom challenges (See Step 4: Working with Challenging Learners program below)

Training Cycle: Evaluate
  • Develop instruments to Collect Evaluation Data
  • Assess Program Effectiveness
  • Evaluate Training results in light of Training Needs Analysis
  • Calculate Return On Investment (ROI)
  • Provide input for new Training Needs Analysis

Step 2: Conduct a Training Needs Analysis

Analyze Symptoms, Causes and Solutions to Determine
Cost-Effective Solutions to Performance and R.E.S.-related Problems

ReasonThe second step in the Total Training System process that we always recommend to a client is to conduct a Needs Analysis. This is a proactive, rather than reactive, approach since you look at all problems, rather than simply developing a training program to react to what appears to be a training problem, but might be caused by one or more non-training problems.

Training Needs Analysis is the process of analyzing symptoms and causes in order to provide a solution mix to performance problems based on a cost/benefit analysis of the solutions.

  • Performance Problems relate to the absence of a desired outcome, i.e., a discrepancy between the "should" and the "actual".

    To identify the Performance Problem, ask:
  • What is missing that you expect to achieve?
  • Symptoms are observable indicators of performance problems.

    To identify the Symptoms of a Performance Problem, ask:
  • What can you observe that indicates the performance problem?
  • A Cause explains why a symptom exists. Various possible causes are analyzed in order to determine the root cause, i.e., why the symptom exists.

    Causes are EITHER a lack of training or, a lack of Resources, Environment and Systems (RES).

    A lack of training is determined by the absence of the specific knowledge skills, physical skills, and attitudinal skills needed to perform specific job tasks.

    Training Causes:

    • To identify a lack of training as a possible Cause of the observed Symptoms, ask:
    • Does a lack of training explain the observed symptoms?
    • To identify possible Training Solutions for each of the Training Causes, ask:
    • What changes in training can you make to correct the symptoms?

    Non-Training Causes:

    Non-Training Causes
    • To identify a lack of Resources, Environment, and Systems (RES) as possible Causes of the observed Symptoms, ask:
    • Does a lack of RES explain the observed symptoms?
    • To identify possible RES Solutions for each of the RES Causes, ask:
    • What changes in RES can you make to correct the causes?

To delve deeper into a lack of Resources, Environment, and Systems as possible causes, RES can be grouped into five categories:

  • Physical Resources
  • Internal Environment
  • External Environment
  • Reward Systems
  • Organizational Systems

Possible Causes

Possible Causes Can Relate to Inadequate Resources, Environment, and/or Systems

  • Symptoms and Causes:
    • To Verify Symptoms and Causes, ask:
    • How can I verify the Symptoms and Causes?
  • Solutions, Costs and Benefits:

    Solutions are methods of correcting the symptoms by eliminating causes.
  • To identify Costs and Benefits of each proposed Solution, ask:
  • What are the costs for each solution?
  • What are the benefits in relationship to the costs?
  • Solution Mix:

    A Solution Mix is a combination of training and non-training solutions.
Solution Mix
  • To select the best Solution Mix ask:
  • What is the best combination of training and non-training solutions?
  • To implement the best Solution Mix, ask:
  • What methods and persons are needed to implement the proposed solution mix?
Cost Benefit Solution: Dollar in  Hand
  • Cost/Benefit Analysis:

    A Cost/Benefit Analysis can be completed for both training and non-training solutions.

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Step 3: Use IDLS to Design Training Programs

Use IDLS Process to Develop Competency-based Training Programs

The third step in the Total Training System process includes various steps that involve developing competency-based training programs as outlined in ESF's IDLS Course. Since its origin, ESF has used the term "Guaranteed Learning" as a company standard.

Guaranteed Learning
Guaranteed Learning: ESF's Unique Validation Standard

ESF's unique Validation Standard consists of testing and revising its materials until 100% of the learners can retain 90% or better of the Knowledge Skills and 100% of the Performance Skills.

ESF can make this pledge because of the foundation of learning it builds from the Knowledge Skills Hierarchy that enables a learner to move from basic Recall/Recognition knowledge skills to Problem Solving Performance Skills.

This process ultimately lays the foundation for many well-developed craftsmen to jump from Problem Solving to the ultimate performance, Creativity.

Knowledge and Performance Skills Learning Hierarchy

During the past three decades, ESF has derived a proprietary approach to training. ESF begins its unique process by asking several questions:

  • What do I want the learner to do/perform on the job?
  • How well do I want the learner to perform on the job?
  • How do I create training materials to allow the learner to perform most effectively on the job?
  • How do I evaluate the effectiveness of my training materials?

The answers to these questions are contained in the following Modules:

  • Task Analysis
  • Performance Measures
  • Develop Interactive Materials
  • Validation

Relationship Between The Steps in the IDLS Process and the Questions Needed to Be Answered In Order to Complete a LAidated IDLS Module
Relationship Between The Steps in the IDLS Process and
the Questions Needed to Be Answered In Order to Complete a Validated IDLS Module

ESF's process works because of ESF's IDLS Interactive Strategy:

  • Read a little (45 minutes to an hour) using a self-paced, self-instructional workbook [What goes into the Learner's Head]
  • Talk a little (no more than an hour) through an instructor presentation which ensure the knowledge skills covered in the workbook have been digested by the learner [What comes from the Instructor's Heart]
  • Do a lot (2 - 4 hours) in a hands-on applied learning skills lab that can be as close to on-the-job performance of tasks as feasible. [What is produced by the Learner's Hands]

These three steps in the IDLS Interactive Strategy allow the learner to retain the:

  • maximum amount of information in the
  • shortest amount of time with the
  • greatest amount of efficiency.

Interactive Strategy
Interactive Strategy

During the past decade, ESF has aimed to keep abreast of the changing times and thus, has streamlined its instructional modules and developed several software tools that enable you to develop your materials even more quickly and efficiently than before.

These tools include:

  • TaskOutliner, software that helps you create your Task Analyses and with a keystroke turn them into Performance Checklists.
  • StyleDoc that provides various Templates to guide you in formatting your instructional materials so they are standardized throughout your company.

TaskOutliner LogoStyleDoc Logo
© Educational Systems for the Future®, 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Step 4: Conduct Interactive Classes

Use S-R-F to Be an Interactive Instructor

The fourth step in the Total Training System process is to conduct classes interactively using the various techniques gained from ESF's Interactive Teaching Skills, Conducting Skills Labs and Working with Challenging Learners programs.

In ESF's S-R-F Process, the learner:

  • Receives Stimulus from either the Workbook or Instructor
  • Gives a Response either by answering questions in the Workbook or responding to questions asked by the Instructor
  • Receives Feedback from the Workbook through Answer Keys or from the Instructor's positive affirmations

The S-R-F Process includes Modules on how to:

  • Use Interactive Teaching Techniques: S-R-F
  • Use Media Interactively
  • Conduct one of the following types of Interactive Skills Labs:
  • Demonstration
  • Case Study
  • Role Play

In addition to the basic ITS program, ESF also offers several other programs related to classroom instruction. These include courses on how to:

  • Interact with Challenging Learners
  • Develop and Conduct Skills Labs:
  • Demonstrations
  • Case Studies
  • Role Plays
Stimulus-Response-Feedback Loop
Stimulus-Response-Feedback Loop