A training intake system is important to understand the needs of your learners across the organization. Its goal is more than simply to serve as a digital repository of training requests left as Post-It notes or casual conversations during a meeting.
A proper training intake system can, in some ways, serve as a measure of the current state of learning needs for all employees.
However, when people see the word form, their eyes glaze over. “Another form, great!” they might think. This is perhaps because there is no shortage of Web-based forms that we must deal with on a regular, daily basis: Contact Us forms; surveys; opt-in forms we need to fill out to get our hands on that eBook; even those automated chatbots with which we’ve grown accustomed to interacting (conveniently located in the lower-right-hand corner of websites we visit).
But a training intake process, which includes forms, should be much more than publishing a standard Web-based form on a corporate intranet.
Developed with L&D in mind
While there is much room for customization, the standard questions and flows need to be intuitive for L&D professionals. The training intake form is designed not only to deliver the most important responses necessary with which to make a decision on greenlighting a project, but also to jumpstart the analysis phase once the project begins.
In larger organizations, it’s not uncommon for L&D to field hundreds of training requests in a single month. A training intake system includes features for organizing or scoring the request based on criteria developed by the L&D team.
According to LinkedIn’s 2019 Workplace Learning Report, 94 percent of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it invested in helping them learn. As such, L&D departments should expect continued interest in training requests and from time to time, they could become overwhelmed. A scoring system for prioritization can help organize and prioritize the volume of requests.
Of course, you need the form to be always available to employees via any platform or device. It should be both mobile responsive and also mobile-friendly—i.e., is it too long and complicated to be filled out via a mobile device? It’s important to factor this mobile user experience into the process.
Delivered with learners in mind
The training intake system with its associated forms is not just there to make the L&D team’s job easier: it’s there to help learners articulate their needs in a way that helps both sides achieve their goals.
While the form needs to be short enough to keep the learner’s interest, it must be thorough enough and designed in a way to capture the necessary information that would be of use to the L&D team.
For learners, it should be both easy and challenging. Easy in the sense that drop-down menus, multiple-choice, and select-all-that-apply answers are provided. This will help them move along through the form and prevents them from being overwhelmed or at a loss.
For example, short questions that the learner might expect may include such questions as:
- What is your preferred format for the training? (then, include drop-down menu or select-all-that-apply)
- Do you have existing materials or resources that can be used as content for this training?
However, the form should be a bit challenging — making them think about their training request and the deeper, business impact that training would have on the organization. This part of the form might include questions such as:
- What skills or competencies will be learned?
- Please describe the desired business outcome of this training.
- How will you measure the effectiveness of this training?
Again, drop-down menus, multiple-choice, or select-all-that-apply not only help the learner, but they also help L&D as well.
The more you provide common answers, the more you can measure how many times that answer was selected, providing even more insight.
Cannot be built using off-the-shelf form builders
This last point is crucial, especially for anyone involved in a learning project. Designers, developers, or IT professionals may think that a training intake form could just as easily be built using off-the-shelf “form” software.
This category of software is known as forms automation, and SaaS reviews aggregator Capterra counts 245 of such vendors. L&D teams should realize that these applications are limited, for several reasons.
As mentioned above, a purpose-built training intake system is created with both L&D and learners in mind. A proper training intake system has scoring capabilities built in, and most off-the-shelf forms builders don’t have these features. (And if they do, they are not designed for L&D teams.)
Further, off-the-shelf form building tools still need to be customized. To be fair, some of the customizations could be handled by L&D, but if more advanced features are needed, including automation or database development, IT would need to get involved. (And the IT team is probably already overwhelmed with their own backlog of tasks to complete.)
Further, while filling out a basic off-the-shelf form, a learner would know this, and would probably not be as engaged or motivated.
If you’d like to learn more about training intake systems, you can get full access 14-day free trial of Synapse’s Training Intake software here.