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SkillForge™ training development
One of the most significant benefits of SkillForge is the ability to very rapidly develop very large training curriculum using existing company documents and tools generally overlooked as training resources.

Training development module reduces training development and delivery costs
SkillForge is designed to simultaneously reduce the cost of training development and delivery and provide more comprehensive, focused training. SkillForge uses several techniques to do this.

  • First, SkillForge takes advantage of precise skill definitions to focus training and eliminate unnecessary training.
  • Second, it integrates existing training materials rather than recreating them. By selecting existing components relevant to the skills being taught, and by delivering those components in the most efficient fashion, SkillForge reduces costs and eliminates needless recreation of training. In a similar way, training materials provided by third parties can be incorporated into the curriculum, in whole or in part.
  • Third, SkillForge lets companies use low-cost training resources. Most companies have many more training resources than they realize, once they look beyond formal training texts or courses. Some of the items companies have found useful include suppliers’ sales literature and operations memos. Items such as these can be very instructive when tied to the appropriate skill and supported by clear instructions on how to apply the information.
  • Fourth, wherever possible, SkillForge provides the training in a self-study format. It also provides very specific, guided on-the-job training (OJT) exercises where they are needed. Each study activity or OJT exercise is focused on a specific skill and a specific outcome. This can greatly reduce the time spent on OJT and make the time spent much more productive. With SkillForge, no training is created without a clearly specified performance outcome. Training is quick and focused. Students know their goal and know when they have reached it.
  • Fifth, automated training module publication is a built-in feature. SkillForge directly outputs the training as booklets or electronic documents. With SkillForge, there is no word processing or page layout.

Developing the most efficient training
The illustration to the right is a schematic of principal inputs and outputs of the Training Development Module. The SkillForge system provides a way to efficiently identify and analyze all relevant training resources. First, all resources that might be relevant are cataloged and linked to all relevant skill areas. Employees are often able to identify the primary resources and many unexpected ones as well. Subject experts and developers can provide information about additional third-party resources.

Training resource assessment reports
Subject matter experts can review and assess training resources using SkillForge reports. Subject matter experts select the specific parts of each useful resource that best teach each skill. SkillForge enables developers to link the relevant paragraphs and sentences to eliminate unnecessary study. SkillForge reports help identify the most useful resources and eliminate redundant ones. Reports enable subject matter experts can see what resources have the broadest application and focus on using them. They can also eliminate redundant resources. This kind of analysis enabled one client to reduce the number of training resources inventoried by two-thirds

Skill Qualification Guides
To create training modules, developers define the module and section titles and group the corresponding skills into them. Skill Qualification Guides provide learners with a self-evaluation tool and links to the corresponding training modules. Training instructions—both self-study and OJT—are then added to the skill information. SkillForge automatically outputs comprehensive training modules. In one engagement this automation enabled a client to produce 740 different training titles in a three-month period. The following illustrations show two pages from representative Skill Training Modules.

Training Modules

Each training activity restates the skill objective and criteria.

A typical SKILL QUALIFICATION GUIDE page. Click on the image to see a full-size page.
Next it lists any training resources that are used. (When the modules are produced as on-line electronic documents, these listings serve as Hypertext Links to the actual resource.)

After general instructions, the module presents step-by-step training instructions. At the end of each activity, questions enable the student to test his or her understanding. Training activities can incorporate both self-study and OJT exercises.

A typical SELF-STUDY MODULE page. Click on the image to see a full-size page.

A typical OJT MODULE page. Click on the image to see a full-size page.

The training library module reduces training development and delivery costs
When modules are defined, the system logs all titles into the Training Library Management Module. The module manages the company’s inventory of skill qualification guides, training modules and training resources. It records entries into and shipments from inventory. SkillForge reports when items fall below preset inventory levels and it automatically produces purchase requests. When a request for training is received, SkillForge pulls employee contact information from the Skills Certification and Training Records Module, records the request and produces shipping labels and pull lists. When an item is out of stock, SkillForge creates a backorder for the student’s request. The automation features of the SkillForge Training Library Management Module reduce the cost of managing a training inventory.

Detailed presentations available
Detailed PowerPoint presentations that describe both the process and data flow for the different modules are available free, on CD from Daniel Follette, Inc. (Their size makes presentation on this Web site impractical).

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