Impact-Based Corporate Training Design

Impact-Based Corporate Training Design
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Corporate Training Impact
Why would any organization invest in professional development unless it believed that their training investment would pay off for their people and the business as part of their overall training strategy? And yet far too many businesses invest in corporate training without meaningful or agreed-upon success metrics.  Why do they neglect impact-based corporate training design?

It is hard to believe with over $90 billion spent annually on corporate learning and development that,

  • In a recent McKinsey survey, only 10% of respondents felt their companies’ frontline manager training was effective in preparing managers to lead
  • According to ES Research, almost 90% of business sales training has no lasting impact after only 120 days
  • Across over 800 training projects, our own training measurement research found that only 1-in-5 learners, regardless of content area, changed their behavior from training alone

If the goal of corporate training is to convert training into improved job performance and satisfaction, what’s going wrong? Where is the disconnect between training and its desired impact?

Some Impact-Based Corporate Training Design Best Practices
Instructional designers, there’s much you can do to increase the transfer of training from the workshop to the workplace. If you want your corporate learning to make an impact, integrate these concepts into your learning design.

  • Create 3×3 Relevance
    Sadly, this is the instructional design best practice that is most often missed.  All desired skills, knowledge, and attitudes should be highly relevant to the learner, their boss, and the organization as a whole when compared to all the other priorities on their plate.  We call this 3×3 relevance. 

    Do not get conned into designing content until all key stakeholders understand and agree how the new skills will meaningfully benefit them, the team, and the company as a whole.
  • Make It Real
    While non-work examples are good to detach people from preconceived notions, you need people to perform in their unique work environment.  The closer the case studies, simulations, exercises, and role plays are to the learner’s actual work environment and challenges, the more learners will improve their confidence and competence on the job.

    Are your creating relevant learning scenarios that focus on what matters most often?
  • Actively Involve the Learner
    Anyone who has sat through lectures knows how easy it can be to tune out. It is critical that you actively engage the learner — role plays where the learner can test out the new skills in a safe setting, problem solving scenarios that reflect real situations, and simulations that require on-the-spot analysis and decision making.
  • Allow for Reflection
    According to Harvard Business School, reflection — the intentional attempt to synthesize, and articulate the key lessons taught by experience — builds confidence and translates into higher rates of learning at work.

    Give learners an opportunity to review in their minds what they learned, what difference it could make in how they perform their job, and what changes they need to make in the way they operate. This exercise alone will help integrate the learning into their job habits and behaviors.
  • Show and Reinforce the Way
    It is always easier to adopt new behaviors if you’ve had a chance to watch someone else do it “right.” Either with videos or live examples, show learners the right way to apply the new learning.  Then make sure that your managers and leaders are ready to consistently model, reinforce, and reward the new ways.
  • Test for Understanding and Competence
    There’s no underestimating the power of being held accountable for what you are supposed to have learned. Before a learner can advance to the next stage, make sure they completely understand what preceded.

    Are your creating relevant performance tests for your learners to pass?
  • Repeat and Follow Up
    A final best practice is to repeat key points along the learning path. This is the way to link one concept to another and to help bridge the gap between learning and application.

    Are you providing ways for your learners to refresh, renew, and reinforce?

The Bottom Line
Don’t waste your L&D dollars. Make sure that your corporate learning programs are based on instructional design best practices that will get meaningful results for the people AND the business.

To learn more about learner-led training design principles, download Research-Backed Instructional Design Best Practices

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