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Nothing is more frustrating than spending hours on the design and delivery of training, only to find out the skills are not being applied back on the job and, therefore, not making a positive change in the workplace. So, what can we do as instructional designers and trainers to ensure the transfer of skills occurs after training?
Well, the designer needs to build a series of techniques into the training to increase the likelihood the skills will be transferred and used successfully on the job. The trainer needs to incorporate these techniques, maximize learner practice and group activities, report progress to upper management, etc.
While the designer and trainer have specific duties to assist with training transfer, the learners and their supervisors also play an important role in the process. Learners need to have a “post-training” mindset, actively participate in the training, and report their progress to their supervisor. Supervisors need to cover the employee’s absence, schedule appropriate post-training work, and follow-up on the application of the training. After all, they are the ones who will also give performance feedback on the job.
Here are a few additional techniques to help with the successful transfer of skills:
- As a review, have learners develop written action plans where they identify how they will use the skills on the job.
- Recommend that supervisors attend the training (not necessarily at the same time as their employee) so they can provide better feedback.
- Give learners an on-the-job assignment to complete post-training.
- Structure the course in individual modules and have learners return to their jobs and apply the skills from each module.
- Create pre- and post-training performance assessments to evaluate progress.
These are just a few techniques we can build into the design and delivery of our courses to help ensure the transfer of skills takes place and to create a positive change in the workplace. What techniques have you found successful?
For a set of comprehensive tools and techniques to ensure that training really "sticks" back on the job, our Make Your Training Stick workshop is the perfect fit!