Technology evolves so quickly that skills gaps can sneak up on development teams. Although this presents an urgent need for training, companies shouldn’t rush to implement stopgap solutions. After all, a shortsighted approach to talent development opens the door for new skills gaps to strike.
In this guide, you’ll explore common oversights that prevent companies from designing training that delivers long-term results. Even better, you’ll learn the five best practices that can make your skills gap obsolete.
Common Curriculum Design Oversights
Oversight 1: Business Goals Are Never Considered
Many companies design curriculum with one goal in mind: providing new skills to their developers. But skills merely represent actions that individual can do, not what your business wants to accomplish. This can result in training that helps your employees learn new tricks but doesn’t zero in on strategic skills that enable your business to serve more customers or break into new markets.
There is strong evidence that a failure to consider business goals commonly plagues workforce training. For example, only 4 percent of company leaders believe training programs provide a return on investment (ROI) to their business. This dissatisfaction underscores why a failure to account for business goals can diminish the dividends that training can pay. To ensure ROI is substantial, the connection between talent development and business strategy shouldn’t be overlooked during the curriculum design process.
Oversight 2: Individual Skills Are Never Assessed
The skills of software developers on your team likely vary considerably. Some developers may have a decade of experience, while others are new to the field. That said, a company may try to save time and money by skipping the important step of assessing its workforce before developing education programs. This is a mistake, as without skills data, your curriculum won’t fully account for a team’s diverse learning needs. As a result, seasoned developers could sit through training that covers topics they already know. Or, junior developers may get lost trying to understand concepts beyond their grasp — wasting their time and your money.
A failure to assess employee skills may be a reason 38 percent of learning professionals fear development initiatives fall short of learners’ needs. That said, companies that base curriculum on measured proficiency are better positioned to improve the performance of their entire team.
Oversight 3: Too Much Showing, Not Enough Doing
Explaining concepts to employees isn’t the best way to provide them with new skills. But this doesn’t stop many training initiatives from relying heavily on lectures, especially those that favor prerecorded videos. That approach runs contrary to studies that show active learning is the best way to learn new skills and concepts.
“Think of it like this: If someone wants to learn carpentry, they don’t want to sit and listen to an instructor define a hammer or explain how to mill wood,” said Alan Galloway, director of curriculum and instruction at The Software Guild. “They want the hands-on experience of actually making things. That’s why the best curriculum gives developers the chance to use tools to build functional applications.”
Oversight 4: No Plan for Continuous Development
When managers realize their software development teams need to expand their abilities, they may think one-off training will solve their problems forever. This explains the over reliance on off-the-shelf modules and video training — and why only about 34 percent of workers feel employers provide adequate continuing development opportunities.
But effective development teams aren’t built in a day. In fact, your team needs ongoing fine tuning to keep pace with evolving technology. This means companies shouldn’t plan to create a single set of curricula. Instead, training should fit into long-term development plans that enable developers to sustainably grow their skills and find new ways to contribute to company success.
Oversight 5: SMEs Aren’t Consulted
Businesses that train their employees using off-the-shelf training programs have little control over what is taught. The reason is simple: The material was produced by a third party who never gave its subject matter experts (SMEs) and management teams a chance to customize content to fulfill their specific needs.
Leaving your SMEs out of the curriculum design process could result in training that seems irrelevant to your software developers. This happens when course topics and exercises are designed for a general audience instead of your business. When your developers participate in this type of training, they may simply tune it out — a problem that afflicts about one-third of workers who participate in training.
Want to work with us?
Make training yours with The Software Guild’s unique approach. We deliver high-quality IT training that will help your IT talent compete in a changing market. Find out more.