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5 Tips to Make Training Stick

Posted by Marsha Weisleder on 8/24/15 4:00 AM
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I hear it all the time…how do we sustain the learning? How do we get our participants to apply what they’ve learned back on the job? How do we transfer the learning from the classroom to the real world? Let’s face it, if they don’t use it, they’ll lose it! When you think about how much money it costs to train people, we better see some type of improvement back on the job.

We also know how important it is to have management support and buy-in for training. We need managers to follow up and sustain the learning. If they’re not involved, how can they reinforce, guide, or encourage the use of new skills? But have you ever thought about what YOU can do to promote the transfer of training? It may require more effort but don’t we owe it to our learners?

So, here are Langevin’s top five tips to make training stick:

1. At the end of the session, have a discussion about obstacles that could impede progress in applying the new skills. Brainstorm and discuss ways of overcoming the obstacles.

2. Give learners an on-the-job assignment to complete after training.

3. Send brief quizzes out after the course to refresh learners on course content.

4. A few weeks or months after the course, phone or send a memo to participants to find out what they have done regarding the course content. Collect the responses and send them out as a mini report to everyone who attended.

5. Arrange a follow-up course a month or two after the original course. The purpose is to assess progress, discuss problems and find ways of solving those problems. Learners and their supervisors should attend this course together.

Here’s another technique that I have found to be extremely motivating for learners. At the end of class, have each learner complete a document called a “Contract with Myself.”
  • The first sentence begins, “The most important or significant ideas that I’ve learned, thought, or heard while at this          workshop are …”
  • The second sentence is, “As a result of these ideas, I intend to do the following things within the next 30 days …”
  • The final sentence is, “By doing these things, I will achieve the following results …”

I collect the contracts and tell the learners that I will mail them in approximately 30 days. Experts say it’s very powerful to see a goal statement written in your own handwriting. I’ve asked learners to give me feedback when they receive the contract. I’m pleased to say that all the feedback has been very positive. Even if they hadn’t accomplished all the items listed, it was still motivating and a good reminder when they received the contract in the mail.


Have you used any of these methods and how have they worked? What else are you doing to reinforce the training? I hope that I have motivated you to do MORE for your learners to make training stick!

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Marsha has been a course leader with Langevin since 2000. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience. She went on to attend Osgoode Hall Law School and practiced civil litigation for a few years. While working for a company as their in-house legal counsel, Marsha fell into a training position and never looked back! Each day, Marsha brings passion and excitement to her workshops, always encouraging her participants to find their own passion as well. Outside of the classroom, Marsha loves to spend time with her family, travel, and stay active. Of course her main obsession is Elvis! Some people might think she’s a little over-the-top about him, but doesn’t everyone have an Elvis shrine in their home? Maybe not…

Tags: make your training stick

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Our very own world-class course leaders share their experiences, tips, best practices, and expertise on virtual training, instructional design, needs analysis, e-learning, delivery, evaluation, presentation skills, facilitation, and much more!

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