A colleague and I were once asked to design a new hire training program for a call center’s customer service representatives. We asked a simple question to start the project that ended up sparking quite a bit of discussion:
“How will we know if a new CSR has been fully trained?”
If you’ve designed or delivered training before, you know this simple question doesn’t always have a simple answer. Typically, the initial responses are vague and subjective, such as “They won’t ask many questions,” or “They’ll have confidence on the phone.” In other cases, impatient stakeholders would rather skip the question altogether.
We finally did come up with a solid answer and the resulting program improved the quality of the client’s new hire performance while cutting training time by 50%. Those were great results, but they wouldn’t have been possible without clear training goals. (Read the short case study here.)
Easy as A - B - C - D
One of my favorite ways to write learning objectives is using the ABCD technique.
A = Audience
This specifies the people or groups of people you expect to participate in the training.
B = Behavior
What do you want participants to do as a result of the training? Define the behavior in the broadest possible terms, such as aligning it with existing service standards. Example: “provide a correct and timely response to a customer inquiry.”
C = Condition
This describes the situation or circumstances where the behavior is completed. For example, “during in-class simulations” specifies how the behavior will be demonstrated.
D = Degree
This is how well the behavior must be performed to fulfill the objective, such as “five times without error.”
Sample A-B-C-D Learning Objective:
“Customer service representatives will provide a correct and timely response to a customer inquiry during in-class simulations five times without error.”
With an A-B-C-D learning objective, you have a clear objective that provides a clear target for your training. You can then tailor your content and exercises to help participants meet the objective. You also have a clear way of objectively verifying whether participants are fully trained.
A-B-C-D Objectives = Faster Training
Clear objectives can help reduce training time by up to 50%!
Of course, A-B-C-D objectives are just one part of the secret formula. Would you like to know the rest? Please contact me for a free consultation to see if I can help you reduct your training time.
This works great for:
- Training new hires
- Rolling out new initiatives
- Implementing new systems