Other Consulting Services
In addition to our core consulting service of instructional design and development, DSA also engages in the following areas of consulting as needed.
Needs assessment/analysis is the systematic effort to determine the nature of problems, challenges, and opportunities in a specific area, and then to select interventions that can move us towards meeting the need in the fastest, most cost–effective manner.
DSA uses appropriate needs assessment/analysis data gathering techniques (e.g., extant data analysis, interviews, focus groups, and expert assessment) to identify the gap between the model situation and the actual situation and to determine the nature of performance problems/opportunities the differences indicate.
As the differences are identified, they are evaluated to determine the best combination of solutions. Some situations will most definitely indicate training needs. Others, however, will most likely take non–training solutions (e.g., streamlining procedures, policy issues, providing the right tools, feedback systems, and reward systems).
DSA Needs Assessments/Analyses Report the Following Results
- A clear articulation of the problems, challenges, and opportunities for a given area or job.
- Training recommendations where there are clearly deficiencies in knowledge, skills, or attitudes within the target audience.
- A systems approach to meeting more complex issues that involve both deficiencies that deserve formal training and other solutions in combination (e.g., reinforcement of the training back on the job, feedback systems, etc.).
- Non–training recommendations where deficiencies are due to something other than a lack of knowledge or skill. These include:
- Streamlining procedures
- Changing policies
- Providing the right tools
- Creating/Revising feedback systems
- Improving infrastructure
- Creating/Revising reward systems
- Improving ergonomics
- Changing personnel selection methods
We design and develop a broad range of traditional and electronic performance support interventions that provide workers with exactly the right information, at exactly the right moment. Performance support tools and systems may be offered to learners during training, or provided to workers as stand-alone aids. User documentation is a form of performance support, and the methodology employed at DSA is unique in that it is aggressively function-based. Unlike typical user guides that are presented topically, DSA organizes user documentation by function or task. This intuitive approach makes information immediately accessible to even first-time users. They need only answer the question “what function do I want to perform?” and they are able to locate the information they need.
Traditional performance support tools and systems provide workers with on-the-job help, advice, information, examples or assurance. Many different formats are possible.
Why Performance Analysis?
When precise, reliable, consistent performance is required, well-designed performance support tools can:
- Save money through error minimization
- Speed acquisition of new product knowledge
- Shorten time-to-effective performance by new hires
- Promote consistent performance across large employee populations
- Help ensure competency
- Enhance employee confidence
When are Performance Support Tools and Systems Needed?
- When face-to-face training isn’t possible
- When performance accuracy is important
- When new products, services, applications, or policies must be adopted quickly
- When specific changes or new solutions must be introduced into a skilled workforce
- When safety, consistency, and reliability are key
- When performance support adds value to your products and service
The DSA Approach
We work with clients to analyze the situation.
- Is a formal training program needed, within which performance support tools are embedded?
- Are workers skilled enough to make immediate use of job aids, without specific instruction?
- Are the required knowledge and skills memory-based, or may employees use reference materials during work performance?
Our next step is to focus with great precision upon the desired performance. DSA design and development teams are skilled at working with content experts to clearly define each task and performance element required. This knowledge enables us to select and design a performance support solution that meets the unique performance requirements of your work environment and your employees.
If you would like an experienced team from DSA to analyze the business problems/opportunities within your company or department, please contact us to discuss our custom consulting services.