As someone who designs training and administers a corporate LMS I’ve had several occasions recently to discuss the definition of the word ‘required’. Usually it’s in the context of trying to clean up the aftermath of unannounced assignments made by other parts of our organization.

In my opinion there should be some well defined process for assigning any type of training to anyone outside your own organization/department. Feel free to assign stuff to your own people as much as you wish…but do so at your own risk.

required past participle, past tense of re·quire (Verb)

Need for a particular purpose; depend on for success or survival.

Let’s start with the easy and obvious stuff. At one end of the spectrum we have the stuff that is mandated by some type of regulatory agency.  In our world these include OSHA, NERC, FERC, and all the applicable federal and state laws like EEO and Harassment training.  The implications of not doing these are big fines, citations and more.  We have to do these, but be wary of those who want to inflict unnecessary training under the guise of some sort of regulations.

On the other end of the spectrum are situations where there are no implications for not taking the training. No access is withheld or removed.  No regulations are involved. There aren’t any safety considerations. No business results are impacted. In fact I’d venture to say that a lot of this type stuff is information that should NOT be in a training course anyway.

Granted most project teams probably think that their stuff is the most important thing in the world but it must be considered in relation to what it’s going to replace in an employee’s day.  No matter how good your course is, is it really worth pulling someone out of production to take it? Have you considered other options such as job aids, EPSS, etc?

What are some of the criteria that you would use to determine if a course is truly required or not?