Not long ago, I was watching a baseball game and was fascinated by the excitement around a pitcher having a perfect game. It wasn’t just the excitement of the announcer that enthralled me; it was also the excitement from the whole team, and how hard the pitcher’s teammates worked to help him achieve perfection.
So what exactly is considered a perfect game? As defined by Wikipedia, “A perfect game is defined by Major League Baseball as a game in which a pitcher (or combination of pitchers) pitches a victory that lasts a minimum of nine innings and in which no opposing player reaches base. A perfect game is also a no-hitter and a shutout. Since the pitcher cannot control whether or not his teammates commit any errors, the pitcher must be backed up by solid fielding to pitch a perfect game.”
It’s this last part of the definition that reminded me of the training partnership needed in an organization for training to transfer back to the job. Training can be designed flawlessly and delivered beautifully, but without the support of “solid fielding,” it could be all for nothing. Studies indicate that only 20% of what is taught in the learning environment transfers back to the job.
In our Make Your Training Stick workshop, we talk about three key players: trainers, learners, and supervisors, each of whom is necessary if training is to transfer back to the job. In this blog, I’ve added the organization, as it, too, has a part to play in successful training transfer.
The trainer (training department) is responsible for completing a training needs analysis and for designing the course. This will ensure the training is relevant to both the organization and the learners. Using sound instructional design practices will make the training dynamic, hands-on, and interactive, setting the learners up for success. Additionally, the trainer, by using effective instructional techniques, principles of adult learning, and facilitation skills, creates an environment that is conducive to learning.
The learner is responsible to come to training with an open mind and a willingness to participate in the learning environment. This includes asking questions, taking notes, and creating an action plan for how the information will be applied on the job. Other responsibilities include networking and sharing with the other learners, and helping establish a safe, non-judgmental environment for everyone.
Supervisors also hold a position in the training partnership. They can have a significant impact on whether training transfers or not. Supervisors should help the training department collect the information needed for both the training needs analysis and instructional design of the training. They can help their learners have a training mindset by conducting both a pre and post-training meeting. The pre-training meeting with the learner initiates the action plan, so both the learners and the supervisors have identified the learning expectations of the training. During the training, supervisors establish the importance of training by removing all distractions, allowing learners to focus on the training. This includes covering their absence, and allowing their learning to be uninterrupted. For post-training, the supervisor meets with the learner to ensure the action items from the training are initiated.
The organization represents the playing field on which all partners must play. As such, the organization must be ready to support the plan agreed upon by the training partnership, with resources (time, money, equipment, etc.) and help to measure its success.
In the beginning, I discussed the perfect baseball game and the need for everyone to do their part. Everyone in the training partnership—the trainer, the learner, the supervisor, and even the organization—has a specific role to fulfill. No matter how well each one functions, they all must fulfill their role for everyone to be successful.