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Report format and content

March 9, 2008

Report formats will vary with the workplace and may be dictated by legislative requirements. However, there is usually scope within these reports to include additional information as an annex or comments area. Trainers should make the most of this opportunity and submit an account that is as comprehensive as possible.

What should a report contain?

There are four parts to your report; the introduction, body, conclusion and the student’s comments. This may sound like your old english teacher trying to drum into you how to write a paper but there are still many trainers out there that neglect this very structure. The structure has a purpose. It encourages you to plan and organise your arguments as well as assisting the reader to identify specific parts of the report without having to read the entire document.

Introduction: The introduction sets the scene and outlines some of the statistical information for the training that occurred. Things like time spent, training break up (classroom/OJT/practice) and relevant conditions that affect complexity or workload (eg weather, maintenance, business metrics etc). This section describes what happened and outlines any circumstances that may mitigate or amplify the student’s performance.

Body: The body is about three things: performance, progress and remedial action. Assess the student’s performance using our old friends, behaviours and standards. Evaluate overall progress by comparing goals for the training period with achievements, not forgetting any opportunistic targets that may have been met. Finally, outline an action plan for fixing shortfalls and keeping (or getting) the program on track (ie what is going to be targeted next)

Conclusion: These are your recommendations, in particular do you recommend that the training continue or should we stop now. In most cases it will be to continue, but you may have other suggestions that aren’t currently part of the training plan (alternative trainer, change of venue etc). Finally, restate your remedial actions as goals and in a check list format – yes some people only read the first and last sections of a report. There should be a signature block for the trainer to endorse the report as theirs.

Student comments: The final part of the report is the student opportunity to concur with or rebut any of the trainers descriptions or recommendations. At the very least they should say “I agree” or “I disagree”, however any insight that they can provide into the effectiveness of the the trainer’s actions will assist future training efforts. There should also be a signature block for at least the student but an additional one for the trainer will verify that they are aware of the student’s comments.

These components are in addition to your regular reporting requirements. In some cases, it may be accompanied by a score sheet or competency check list however failing to include this additional information may not necessarily be inaccurate but if it isn’t representative of the student, it is still a false account.

Next: The reporting model

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 10, 2008 9:23 am

    Hi Duane. Firstly, great post. That said, it begs a few questions:

    So should student comments be compulsory? And considering the difference in experience levels between student and trainer, are you really expecting students to make written rebuttal???

    Mark

  2. March 10, 2008 10:13 am

    Hey Mark,

    I think student comments should be compulsory. At the very least they should indicate that they agree or do not agree with the report. I understand that the experience gradient is a factor but if the student has a problem, there is a problem and it needs to be addressed.

    If the student disagrees and it is done professionally, the appropriate authorities need to know and it needs to be recorded from the very start.

    I would actually hope that the student documents how it was or was not effective so that we can better identify the best trainer or strategy the next time that they are placed under training.

    I’m certainly not suggesting that it becomes a ground for ‘slugging’ or calling professional credibility into account.

    I think this is an under utilised area where the student has the opportunity to provide feedback on the training. Rather than a quick poll at the end of training when the student is elated that the ordeal is over, lets get progressive assessments from their perspective.

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