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Ten Questions For Selecting a GD&T Training Source


by Alex Krulikowski

Often, people ask if GD&T training from a particular source is good training. Good training includes three basic areas: the course design, the instructor, and the organization. A brief investigation when choosing a training source can significantly increase the return on your investment. 

This list of ten key questions will help you to determine the strength of a training source in each basic area. A short commentary on possible answers for each question is included.

Questions 1-5 are about the course design. They are intended to determine three important factors:

  • Is the course a learning experience or is it just a presentation of technical information?
  • Does the course design contain fundamental training principles?
  • Are the student materials designed to support the course structure?

1. Can you provide a list of the major goals from the course?

2. Can you provide a list of the performance objectives for the course?

3. What method do you use to measure the skills improvement from this training?

4. What level of skills improvement do students typically achieve from this course?

5. What materials are used in this course?

Questions 6 & 7 provide insights about the instructor. They help determine two important factors about the instructor.

  • Does the instructor know how to teach to adults, or do he just present technical materials? 
  • Does the instructor have a good blend of teaching and technical background?

6. What adult learning principles are used in the course?

7.  What is the background of the instructor?

  • Questions 8-10 provide insights about the training organization. They help determine two important factors:
  • What is the reputation of the organization?  What is the composition of the whole organization?

8.  Can you provide 3 student references and a summary of student course evaluations from recent classes?

9.  What post training assistance is available?

10. What additional products and services does your organization offer?
 
 

1. Can you provide a list of the major goals from the course?

A well designed course will have a list major goals. If the goals don't exist, or are merely a restatement of the topic title, the course materials probably were designed as reference materials instead of learning tools.

2. Can you provide a list of performance objectives for the course?

 A well-designed course will have a set of performance objectives for each major goal. The performance objectives are the road map for the student and the instructor. If the performance objectives don't exist, or are poorly written, then the course is probably deficient.

In addition, each class topic, transparency, activity, and handout should be related to the performance objectives. Compare the course goals and objectives to the skill deficiencies you want to improve. Do they match? Do the goals or objectives need to be revised?

3. What method do you use to measure the skills improvement from this training?

Skills measurement is a very important component of training. It provides feedback to the student on which skills are mastered and which skills require further study. Also, skills measurement provides feedback to the instructor about what is going well and what areas of the course materials or presentation need improvement.

Measuring the skills of adults in industry can be a sensitive issue and it must be handled tactfully.

4. What level of skills improvement do students typically achieve from this course?

The level of skills improvement is an indication of the course effectiveness. If the skills improvement isn't known, how can anyone say the course is effective? How can the course be improved? How do you know you got your money's worth?

5. What materials are used in the course?

This covers two categories: student materials and instructor materials. The student materials should relate directly to the performance objectives. Ask for a copy of the student materials and look for the performance objectives. The student materials should include plenty of practice problems. Charts, tips, and job aids should be available and used extensively throughout the course. The instructor materials should relate directly to the performance objectives.

6. What adult learning principles are used in the course?

This may sound incredible, but many industrial trainers and technical experts don't even know what adult learning principles are. Using adult principles in the class can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the course. A few of the common adult learning principles are listed below:

  • Involve the learner
  • Allow the learners to be a resource
  • Emphasize how the learning can be applied
  • Relate the learning to the learners' goals and objectives
  • Provide job aids
  • Provide frequent feedback

7. What is the background of the instructor?

Here you should look for three things. The first is recent real experience. If an instructor has not worked with GD&T in industry in the last five years, he is probably out of touch with the real world.

Second, the instructor's knowledge of GD&T should extend well beyond using GD&T in industry.  The best instructors are often lifelong students of the topic. Has the instructor been published?  Has he participated in any national or corporate standards or development groups? 

Third, the instructor must know how to teach (having taught many classes doesn't necessarily assure this).  Formal training in preparing course materials, classroom management, presenting materials, and measuring instruction effectiveness, are important factors in developing a good instructor. 

The right balance between technical and teaching skills is hard to find, but the students will benefit tremendously.

8. Can you provide 3 student references and a summary of student evaluations from recent classes?

It is a good practice to obtain and verify references. Ask the students if the goals and objectives were explained to them and if the course materials supported the goals. Ask how much they learned. Ask if the class was focused.  Ask if the course was really a class or just a technical presentation of the material.

9. What post-training assistance is available?

After the course, can the students call or fax the instructor a question? Is there a charge for answering questions? How long does it take to get a question answered? A good training source will answer brief questions, in a day or two, without charges.

10. What additional products and services does your organization offer?

The purpose of this question is to find out if they are large enough to handle your future needs, yet small enough to care about them. Other factors that should be considered are:

  • Does the source develop the course materials or purchase them? 
  • Are they willing to use your drawings in the lecture? 
  • Can they customize a class to suit your needs? 
  • Do they sell the course materials so your organization can continue training on its own? 
  • Do they offer advanced training to satisfy your future needs? 
  • Are you working with an organization, or a group of loosely knit technical experts across the country?  

In summary, a brief investigation can reveal a lot of information about a course or training organization. Doing a good job in selecting a training source takes time. The rewards: the training effectiveness can be tenfold for the students. 

I suggest that you use these 10 key questions to compare course offerings by various training sources. The commentaries provided are brief thoughts and ideas about evaluating GD&T training sources. If you would like additional discussion on any aspect of GD&T training, please contact me.
 

 

 

 



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This file last modified 01/08/09