09.01.2012 Talent Management and Development 1 Comment

Making Learning Stick: Post 4 of 4

In my final post of this four-part offering, here are a number of suggestions to take as follow-up to a training event.

Following up with all colleagues, clients, vendors—anyone—who provided feedback or assistance to the employee in helping them prepare for the learning activity is not only considerate, it closes the loop for the others. Sharing their insights reinforces the employee’s awareness and commitment to applying what they learned, and has the added benefit of enlisting support for the change effort they’re undertaking.

To ensure skill transfer and integration from the workshop to the workplace, it’s critical that employees be accountable for using the new things they’ve learned. To make this happen, it’s sometimes necessary for the entire appraisal and review system to be revised to incorporate the new behavioral performance expectations, but it’s not usually necessary. At a minimum, though, employees need to know that there is an expectation that they’ll use the skills when appropriate, and this is the supervisor’s and manager’s responsibility. They should look for opportunities to both “catch them doing it right” to reinforce skill use, and to remind and correct an employee if they don’t use a skill when they could.

Follow-up facilitated discussion sessions can be helpful to review, reinforce, and further integrate the learning from the training sessions. Scheduled periodically after the initial learning activity, refresher meetings can provide people with a structured opportunity to discuss the successes and struggles they’ve encountered in applying the skills on the job, offer tips and suggestions, provide additional practice opportunities for skill reinforcement, and help them develop and enhance action plans for continuing to incorporate their new skills.

Evaluation and measurement of learning, and especially, of the achievement of the desired business outcomes is crucial—after all, this is the reason for conducting the learning activity in the first place. Planning upfront for what will be measured and how it will be done increases the likelihood that not only learning will occur, but also that business results will improve.

One Response to “Making Learning Stick: Post 4 of 4”

  1. Really enjoyed the four-part series that takes us, start to finish, through the learning process. It’s a great review for those of us who have been around for a while, and a wonderful introduction for those struggling with the overall question of “how can I better serve the learners who are relying on me?” Thanks for taking the time to distill this into easy-to-assimilate lessons.

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