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Conduct a training pilot

"What are the purposes and benefits of pilot programs?"

"Who should be invited to participate in a pilot?"

"How are training pilots conducted?"

"How do learning designers prioritize and implement feedback from pilots?"


Conducting a training pilot program is a crucial step in the instructional design process. It allows learning designers to test and refine training programs, gather valuable feedback from participants, and ensure the program's effectiveness and alignment with objectives before full implementation.



Through this lesson, you should be able to understand how to conduct training pilots and implement feedback from pilot programs to improvise the learning design.


What are the purposes and benefits of pilot programs?


Pilot programs serve important purposes in training and development by providing opportunities to assess effectiveness, validate design choices, gather feedback, enhance participant engagement, and optimize resource allocation. These benefits ensure that training programs are refined, impactful, and aligned with learner needs and organizational goals.

  • Test effectiveness: Pilot programs assess training program effectiveness, strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement before the full rollout.

  • Validate design choices: Pilots validate the design choices made during the instructional design process. They allow you to evaluate whether the training materials, activities, and delivery methods are appropriate and engaging for the learners.

  • Gather feedback: Pilots collect direct participant feedback, providing insights into their learning experience, challenges, and suggestions for improvement. This feedback is invaluable in refining the program.

  • Enhance participant engagement: Pilots involve participants in the program development process. Participants feel valued and their input helps shape the final training program, increasing their commitment and buy-in.

  • Optimize resource allocation: Conducting a pilot program helps you optimize resource allocation by identifying potential issues or gaps early on. This allows you to allocate resources efficiently and minimize costs associated with program revisions.


Who should be invited to participate in a pilot?


When selecting participants for a pilot program, consider the following factors:

  • Representation: Invite participants who represent the target audience for the training program. Ensure that they come from diverse backgrounds, roles, or levels within the organization, to gather a range of perspectives.

  • Skill level: Consider the skill level or proficiency of the participants. Include both beginners and more experienced individuals to assess the program's effectiveness across different proficiency levels.

  • Availability: Select participants who can commit to actively participating in the pilot program and provide timely feedback. Ensure that they have sufficient availability to attend sessions, complete assignments, and engage in discussions.


How are training pilots conducted?


Conducting a training pilot program involves a systematic approach to test, evaluate, and refine a training program before its full implementation. By following a step-by-step process, learning designers can effectively assess the program's effectiveness, gather valuable feedback, and make necessary adjustments, ensuring a successful and impactful training rollout.

  1. Set clear objectives: Define pilot objectives and identify specific areas to test, evaluate, and improve.

  2. Select participants: Invite representative participants from the target audience, including a diverse group for varied perspectives.

  3. Plan pilot structure: Develop a detailed plan, including timeline, duration, logistics, and outline of activities or modules.

  4. Create materials and resources: Develop aligned training materials, presentations, handouts, job aids, and technology-based resources.

  5. Conduct the pilot: Execute the pilot as planned, delivering training sessions, facilitating discussions, and providing participant support.

  6. Gather feedback: Collect feedback through surveys, interviews, observation, or focus groups using tailored questionnaires.

  7. Analyze feedback: Thoroughly review and analyze feedback, identifying patterns, themes, and areas needing improvement.

  8. Make adjustments: Revise the program based on feedback analysis, addressing issues, clarifying content, and enhancing the learning experience.

  9. Repeat the pilot: Consider another pilot with changes to validate improvements or gauge impact with new participants.

  10. Update the training program: Incorporate lessons learned and feedback into the refined, effective final program ready for implementation.


How do learning designers prioritize and implement feedback from pilots?


Learning designers prioritize and implement feedback from pilot programs by carefully analyzing the received feedback, identifying key areas for improvement, collaborating with stakeholders, making necessary revisions to the training program, testing the revised elements if needed, and incorporating the feedback into the final version of the program. This systematic approach ensures that the insights and suggestions from the pilot participants are effectively incorporated to enhance the overall quality and effectiveness of the training program.


Summary and next steps


Training pilot programs provide invaluable opportunities for learning designers to iteratively improve their training programs. By actively seeking and incorporating feedback from participants, learning designers can refine and enhance the program to ensure its effectiveness and alignment with the specific needs and goals of the learners and the organization. This iterative process allows for continuous improvement, resulting in a high-quality training program that maximizes learning outcomes and meets the desired objectives.


Now that you are familiar with how to conduct a training pilot, continue to the next lesson in LXD Factory’s Implement series: Create a learner communication plan.

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