Join Jeff Toister for an in-depth discussion in this video Conducting performance observations, part of Instructional Design: Needs Analysis.
If I could pick only one data collection method, it would be the performance observation. You can learn a lot by watching employees do their work. In this video, we're going to walk through the three steps to conducting a performance observation: preparation, observation, and follow-up. Preparation is key to ensuring a successful performance observation. Here are a few steps to take ahead of time. The first step is identifying the employees you'd like to observe. Do you want a mix of top performers with mid or bottom performers? Are there specific employees you'd like to observe? Do you need to schedule your observation when specific activities are happening, such as a job interview? The next step is to get permission.
For the interviewing skills project, I'll reach out to the regional managers to ask if it's okay if I observe some of their supervisors conducting interviews. The final step is to make sure the employees you're observing know you're coming. It's important that they feel comfortable with you and don't change their routine just because you're there. Observing employees can tell you a lot, but what you look for and how you conduct your observation depends on the project. If you're creating training for hotel housekeepers, you might watch them clean rooms. You could record each step in their process, noting what they did, and how long each step took.
This would give you detailed information that you could later compare to the hotel's standard operating procedures. If you're designing a safety training program, you might observe employees conducting a safety inspection for their work area. You can note the process they use to complete the inspection as well as any hazards that they noted. For our interviewing skills training, it'll be helpful for us to sit in on a few job interviews. During the interview, we could make notes about the environment, the questions asked, and anything else we think might be important. I was able to schedule a few performance observations for this project.
Let's look at one of them. As you look in, make notes about what you observe. Pay careful attention to anything that might help us design a better training program. >> Oh, we just meet here. Our conference room's all booked up today. As I mentioned before, this is Jeff. He's one of our trainers and he'll be sitting in our interview today. Why don't you tell me a little about yourself? >> well, I was at my last job for about two years. >> Why'd you leave? >> I've, I was going back to school full time. I've just graduated with my associate's degree. >> And they didn't want to hire you back? >> Well, I'm looking to use my experience and degree to grow in my career.
I like my last company, but they don't have job openings in the areas I'm interested in. >> Okay, what are some of your biggest strengths? >> In addition to my experience, I'm hard-working, dependable, and creative. You know that everyone says that. But, how do I really know that you're dependable? You sound really ambitious, but what's to say that after I hired you, you wouldn't just find a better job and leave in three months? >> I guess it all depends on the job. I'm hoping to find a position with a great company that will allow me to stay for a long time.
>> Alright, but, where do you see yourself in five years? >> I'm really trying to get a good job in this industry, so I'd probably like to be with a good company that has opportunities for advancement. >> Okay. >> Yeah. >> The interview continued on for a little while longer, but that scene gives you a general idea of how it went. What clues did you see in the interview that might be helpful as we continue our needs analysis? Here are a few notes I made.
The environment was a problem because it wasn't private and made the candidate feel uncomfortable. I'd like to know why a conference room wasn't available. The supervisor also seemed to be in a rush. I'm wondering if this might contribute to making poor hiring decisions. Finally, the supervisor appeared to be making up the interview questions as we went along. I want to find out if this is typical, or do other supervisors have a standard list of questions? This brings us to follow-up, which is the last step in conducting a performance observation. We need to validate some of our observations with additional data collection.
For example, I might talk to the supervisor to find out why a conference room wasn't available. I can also survey the other supervisors to see how much time they spend on each interview and whether or not they use a standard list of questions. This performance observation provided some interesting information, but we need to be careful not to jump to conclusions just yet. There's still a lot of data to collect. In the next video, we'll look at ways a materials review can help us find some of that additional data.
- Setting project objectives
- Identifying the target audience for training
- Selecting data sources
- Facilitating focus groups and interviews
- Designing effective surveys
- Identifying participant needs
- Defining learning outcomes
- Presenting results to project sponsors