How to Write a Training Development Plan

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Challenge yourself to learn a new aspect of your business every month.
Challenge yourself to learn a new aspect of your business every month. (Image: Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

In the words of management guru Stephen Covey, when it comes to business success, you have to "own your own." This means that you can't rely on your employer to provide you with the training you need. Rather, you must take responsibility for your own training development. Your career is in your hands and you are the one who can make it a success. That success begins with a plan for lifelong learning so you can constantly improve your skills and make yourself more valuable.

Create specific and measurable goals for your career. Begin each goal with an actionable verb and include specific times and measurements within the goal. For example, "Be a better bookkeeper," is vague and unmeasurable. A better goal would be, "Gain proficiency at setting up electronic balance sheets within two months."

Develop learning objectives for each goal. For example, if your goal is, "Write clear, evaluative post-production reports within a week of each project's completion," your objectives might include: "Analyze project successes," "Identify challenges that inhibited project goals," "Schedule time to write post-production reports" and "Develop clear writing skills."

Match training activities to each learning objective. Choose from seminars, online webcasts, independent learning, independent reading or working with a mentor or supervisor. Explore training activities your employer offers or speak with a supervisor who is willing to help you with your training and development plan. Tie each training activity directly to the objectives for each goal.

Set up a schedule for each activity and the rate at which you wish to proceed in your training plan. Set deadlines for your training activities. Monitor your progress as you work toward attaining each goal.

Perform each training activity. Attend the seminars, read the materials, participate in job shadowing or complete job projects that help you to meet your goals.

Evaluate your training. Determine whether it accomplished what you desired. If so, proceed to your next goal. If not, determine why the training was unsuccessful and find another activity that has a better chance of taking you where you want to go.

Tips & Warnings

  • Whenever possible, choose training activities that you're likely to enjoy. This will keep your motivation level high and make long-term learning transfer more likely.
  • The most effective form of training is usually on-the-job experience. Find projects that will allow you to develop the skills you need to acquire. This learning by doing is especially effective if you work in an environment that encourages experimentation.
  • Some tasks require special safety precautions or certification, especially when working with chemicals, medicine or machinery.

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