Skill transference is the age-old challenge for learning and development professionals. We love leading events, seeing people experience flashes of insight, and helping them learn new skills. We’ve almost become addicted to the smiles and the high ratings on those feedback surveys. We can’t wait to book another class so we can experience the euphoria of seeing people enjoy a great training course.
But our greatest satisfaction should come when people change how they think and what they do. Unfortunately, new skills don’t always stick. And making sure people do retain their new skills can seem like a lot of work, time, money, and commitment. Consequently, we often opt for the training event… and that’s it.
But helping your people develop valuable skills doesn’t have to break your back or the bank. There are small and simple ways your team can shift from being training event facilitators to learning journey leaders, and that can make a big difference.
The real determining factor is Return on Expectations (ROE). You can assess ROE by first clarifying your response to two questions: What is your desired outcome? And, what do your stakeholders want to see? Once you have clarified your goals for training, you have something to measure. Here are some tips that will help you lead better learning journeys and improve ROE.
Include the Manager
Plan the “before” and “after” activities as soon as you have the course event on the calendar. Identify how will you include the learners’ managers in the process. Getting managers involved in the learning journey will improve skill transference. Consider these ideas:
- Make it easy for the manager to engage and support the learner by providing them with questions to ask the learner both before and after the course. We’ve created the Manager Discussion Guide (found in the Trainer Zone) for you to share.
- Schedule a post-training call with the manager and ask how the learner is using their new skills, what they find challenging, and so on. These calls should be 15 minutes or less.
- Provide learners with the Learner Preparation Sheet (specifically for Crucial Conversations courses). Let them know how it will help them during the course, and encourage them to make it personal. What is one thing they hope to learn or take away from the course?
- Introduce learners to what they can expect during the training—this can be done via email or a short video.
- Develop a post-course strategy, including resources and a timeline, that you can share with learners so they apply their skills.
Change the Format
If you are worried that learners won’t have ample time for classroom learning, you can change the learning format. Consider these ideas:
- Flip the classroom experience. Rather than spending the bulk of time in the classroom, have your learners do the bulk of the learning on their own (at a time that is convenient for them), and then get together twice a week for 30 minutes or an hour to discuss, practice, and apply. This works for both in-person and virtual learning formats. We like to call this blended learning.
- Spread out the training so there’s time between sessions. At the end of each session, instruct learners to identify in their day-to-day lives the skills and behaviors they’ve learned during class. Help them see how and where the skills, challenges, and opportunities apply to them.
- Provide various delivery options for your target audiences. What works best for a busy leader? What works for your employees in the field who don’t have a traditional office environment? Make attending and learning easier for each specific audience.
Focus on Application
After the training, hold sessions for practice and application instead of mere review. Quizzing people on acronyms is less helpful than having them practice what they learned, through role play, scenarios, and discussion. Consider these ideas:
- Give learners the opportunity to test and practice their skills and to receive feedback from peers on situations that are important to them. Invite learners to submit topics and situations in advance that can be shared with and worked on by the group.
- Strengthen peer support and accountability by creating learning partnerships.
Finally, did you know that Crucial Learning has a team of experienced specialists who can partner with you on implementing these strategies? Chat with your client advisor to set up a consultation with them.
All the best,
Justin, Reta, and Joe