Creating a training plan? Before you do this, you need to step a step back and work out what your colleagues need to learn.
Well, otherwise, you risk developing a training plan that overlooks the areas where people really need to skill up.
The advantage of a well-developed training is that it lets you focus your skills, as a trainer, and match the training course to the audience.
One way I do this is to develop a Target Audience Questionnaire.
What is a Target Audience Questionnaire?
Audience Analysis is used to profile, i.e. learn about, your target audience, so that you can then offer better products, services, training, books or whatever… that match their specific requirements. This is different than gathering requirements, which is more a wish list, of what people want.
Audience Analysis is a snapshot of what your users/readers/viewers etc are doing here and now. Marketing plans also use these to get an better understanding of how to segment their audiences.
For technical writers and trainers, you can use this Target Audience Questionnaire when developing your next set of documents or training plan.
What’s important is that you see the value in this activity.
The more you know about your target audience, the more likely your material will suits their needs.
So, let’s get started.
What goes into a Target Audience Questionnaire?
You need to cover four sections in your questionnaire: document details, objective, experience, tasks.
1. Document Details
The first page of the questionnaire—usually near the header—captures information related to the actual document, for example, the name of the course, the individual, date, and department. Depending on your project, you may want to adjust this to suit your needs.
Some technical writers use version controls on their documents, as well as the document’s status, for example, Draft, Revised, Final or Approved.
In the objective section, describe the goal of this questionnaire.
- Who are the project stakeholders for this project?
- Who is been asked to complete this questionnaire?
- What is your motive for doing this?
- What is the benefit to the reader?
- When does this questionnaire need to be completed by?
- Where will the information be kept, share, distributed, and archived?
- Why should the reader/user/employee complete this questionnaire? Is it compulsory? Is there a date by when this must be completed?
- How does this questionnaire fit into the company’s overall strategy?
“To help us provide the most appropriate the training to our employees—so you have the necessary skills, knowledge and confidence in your own abilities—please study the following questions and answer them to the best of your abilities.”
The questionnaire must be completed by [date].
The questionnaire is approved by the [project board].
Contact [identify the person] if you have any queries about this questionnaire.
3. Level of Experience
Identify your level of expertise with these tools based on a scale of 1 to 5.
(1=No Experience; 5=Extremely Experienced).
1. Adobe Acrobat (not Acrobat Reader)
2. Adobe FrameMaker
7. Epic Editor
10. MadCap Blaze
11. Madcap Flare
12. Microsoft Excel
13. Microsoft Visio
14. Microsoft Visio
15. Microsoft Word
17. Techsmith Camtasia
18. Techsmith Snagit
20. XML editor
4. Tasks & Activities
Please indicate all answers that are applicable to your role.
1. How often are you asked to provide [technical documents/status reports/management reports etc]?
(a) Several times a day
(b) Several times a week
(c) Several times a month
2. What format (s) do you provide the information in?
3. What is the nature of these requests? (If possible, please provide examples of each item indicated)
(a) Summary (e.g. totals, averages, status etc.)
(b) Detailed (specific lists, inquiries regarding specific projects, documents, releases etc.)
(e) Other (this may include revisions, merging, editing, publishing, translating, re-formatting, printing etc)
Once you have these in place, you can then begin to write your documents or start developing that training plan.
Does that make sense?
What do you think?
How can I improve this plan and make it better?