Train Less, Do More

Train Less, Do More. What the DCF?

When it comes to training, remember the Golden Rule:
Do unto others as you’d have done unto you.

The way TiER1 thinks about learning is different (in a good way).  We’ve always operated under the mantra of “do unto others as you’d have done unto you” when it comes to training people. Who wants to spend hours learning how to point and click on a screen that’s pretty intuitive to begin with or you’re only going to access twice a year? That’s why a few years ago, we resurrected a “legacy” methodology called the DCF analysis method to help our clients make strategic decisions about what needs to be trained, what doesn’t, and what needs extra attention.

The Degree of Difficulty, Criticality, and Frequency (DCF) Matrix is a really effective and efficient decision-making tool for determining what needs to be formally trained and what type of intervention is most appropriate for that training. The DCF analysis method uses three criteria—Difficulty, Criticality, and Frequency—to determine if procedures should be trained formally (instructor-led training (ILT), eLearning courses, and webinars) or if only informal training (training guides, quick start guides, job aids, and online help) is required. Filtering training content through this decision tree is an effective way to rank importance of tasks, eliminate unnecessary seat-time, and reduce training costs.

The decision-making process is broken down into four steps:

Step 1: Evaluate the Difficulty level of the content to learn/perform. Rate as Low, Average, High.
Step 2: Evaluate the Criticality of the task to the role. Rate as either Yes or No.
Step 3: Evaluate the Frequency level of the task. Rate as Low, Average, High.
Step 4: Decision level – choices are Over Train (OT), Train (T) or No Train (NT).

Degree of Difficulty, Criticality, and Frequency (DCF) Model for Training Content Selection

Recommendations then fall into one of three categories:

  • No Train: Use informal training options, such as training guides, quick start guides, print support materials, or online help to support performance on the job as needed.
  • Train: Use formal training options, such as instructor-led training (ILT), eLearning, or webinars to prepare audiences prior to using the system.
  • Over Train: Use a combination of formal and informal options, such as eLearning, ILT, role-specific checklists, and job aids, to deliver training prior to using the system and to reinforce performance on the job.

The actual DCF analysis is documented on an Excel spreadsheet where we detail tasks and people/roles that perform those tasks (see below for an example).

DCF Model Spreadsheet Example

This spreadsheet then becomes an artifact that can be referenced throughout the training initiative and post training as a reflection tool.

A DCF analysis is not for the faint of heart. It’s an investment of time at the front end but well worth it when you see how much time you can save for your performers overall. You’ll be able to streamline the training process for them and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your programs—and that will make everyone happy.

We love all things learning. If you have an upcoming learning or talent development change or strategy, let’s chat.

Kerry HeadleyKerry Headley is a managing director at TiER1 with extensive experience designing eLearning programs, instructor led training, system and process documentation, and EPSS systems. In addition, she leads TiER1’s market development. And when she’s not optimizing learning solution value, she plays golf as often as she can.

Anna OskorusAnna Oskorus is a principal learning consultant at TiER1 who is passionate about helping people learn. She has significant experience in consulting, learning strategy, instructional design, and education. She loves spending time with her son. She might surprise you with her ability to juggle…both literally and metaphorically.

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