Training – Then What? How to Make Learning Stick

Training – Then What?  How to Make Learning Stick
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It is Difficult to Make Learning Stick
Too many trainers, instructional designers and learners struggle with how to make learning stick after a training workshop is completed.

What is Learning Anyway?
Learning is defined as the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught.  When it comes to how to make learning stick, we believe it is all about the transfer of newly acquired skills and knowledge to the job in order to measurably change behavior and improve performance.

Some Alarming Learning Statistics
Unfortunately, by most accounts, corporations struggle to make learning stick even after they invest heavily in training and development.  Here are some alarming statistics:

  • National training laboratories report only a 5% learning retention rate from lectures, a 10% learning retention rate from reading and a 20% learning retention rate from audio visual.
  • Our own research based upon over 800 training measurement projects found that only 1-in-5 participants change behavior or improve performance from stand-alone training events, regardless of modality.
  • On average, 80% of training investments focus on training design and delivery while only 20% focus on what happens before or after the training session.

How to Beat the Odds and Make Learning Stick
If you want to make learning stick for your corporate training initiatives:

  1. Be Aware
    Know where you are on the learning maturity continuum and where you want to go.  It is imperative that you set and manage stakeholder expectations at the onset of your journey.
  2. Create 3x Relevance
    Focus on training relevance to three groups of stakeholders before you determine how to invest in what happens before, during, and after training.  (1) The participants; (2) Their bosses and (3) The senior leadership team.  Unless all three stakeholders agree upon the importance of the learning initiative, you are bound for a lack of transfer to the job.
  3. Match Your Design to Your Relevance Level
    If training relevance is high enough to warrant the necessary investments to make learning stick, focus first on what application and reinforcement support you will need from the participants and their managers before and after the training.

    Then align the new skills with your performance management processes and understand that learning new skills takes time and practice.

    Be patient and willing to let people make mistakes and to learn from them.

  4. Monitor and Measure Progress
    Then like any change initiative, use training measurement to track what is going well and where more support is needed.  This will allow you to make the inevitable adjustments required, encourage participants to seek help from fellow learners, and provide targeted coaching.

The Bottom Line
Too many trainers, instructional designers and learners struggle with how to make learning stick after a training workshop is completed.  To make learning stick, begin by beginning relevant to the business.

To learn more about how to make learning stick and the transfer of training, download the The #1 Reason Training Initiatives Fail According to Executives

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