Last week the article entitled “Checking Your Training Evaluation Defaults” discussed a number of common practices that hinder training effectiveness.  This week we continue the discussion by providing alternatives to the first potentially harmful default: training needs assessments (TNAs).

The Kirkpatrick Model starts with Level 4, not Level 1, as is the popular practice. Training needs assessments are typically conducted with business leaders in an attempt to determine overall business needs under the false belief that you are starting with the end in mind.

Please uncheck this default for the simple reason that if you are conducting training needs assessments, you are pre-determining that the solution to business needs is training. Instead, approach business leaders and tell them you would like to work with them from a new perspective.


Develop a methodology that you call a “performance needs assessment” or a “business needs assessment”. Ask questions about business pain points, needs, challenges and/or opportunities. Then work to determine solutions, one of which might be formal training. In this way you deliver learning and performance solutions that target results rather than just adding more training activity.

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