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Application of learning


Does anyone have any ideas how to ensure learners apply learning into the workplace following a training intervention? In particular I am focussing on Call Centre Agents and Team Leader Levels.
Gemilla Holden

7 Responses

  1. Make the people responsible fulfil their obligations
    If you are the trainer, your responsibility stops at providing ffective learning situations. Have the learners produce action plans at the end of the programme – these are taken back to work and dicussed with the line manager who is responsible for supporting agreed pans, helping implementation, ensuring emplementation and reviewing action with the worker. Line managers may need educationg in this responsibility role – this is where the trainer can be valuable. YOU can’t do everythng.

  2. PDPs/Action Learning/Action Development /Mentoring
    Gemilla, I do agree with Leslie.
    A few other systems/ methods we have used that can support and encourage full value to be gained from learning are 1) Personal Development Plan/Continuous Professional Development Planning – ensuring that there is clarity before the training about: Why is the training needed (objective/knowledge skill, attitude change) and what are the expected outcomes – good PDP/CPD systems should be reviewed with the participant’s manager/HR section following return to work to ensure objective has been met and outcomes have been achieved.

    2)Another valuable way of building on any learning is the implementation of action learning/action development sets which encourage groups of managers to meet together to develop action/solutions to problems and to focus on their own earning. An external facilitator may be needed initially, but gradually the participants will be able to take over this role. Team leaders/agents who have undertaken training could use these groups to discuss what they have learned and the practial applications/ implications of this learning.

    3) A formal mentoring system could be set up so that more experienced team leaders/agents work with those who have recently been undertaking development – this often leads to learning at 2 levels in the organisation.

    Hope this is useful. If you want to discuss this further do email me at: [email protected].

  3. The answer may lie in partnering
    Gemilla, I agree with Anita Wild but would go a little farther back in sourcing the problem. As trainers, we are often called in to ‘fix’ things for people when all we can really do is help them fix things for themselves. We offer ideas and inputs… and guidance on how to use them but it is the client’s manager who is ultimately responsible for the development of his/her staff and who is also responsible for supporting the client’s application of learning. I work hard at sitting all parties down to discuss their objectives (organisational as well as personal development) and agreeing what roles we will adopt in supporting a client’s development. This avoids the situation where delegates come along for training simply because they’ve ‘been sent’. It increases the client’s willingness to learn and to search for applications (which will generally have been already identified)and effectively sets up the process whereby action plans are both written and discussed with the client’s manager after the training intervention. Your own role can then fall into continuing support as agreed and contracted. I hope this helps.

    Steve Ripley
    [email protected]

  4. Transfer of learning
    Just a few thoughts for you (in no particular order !)to ponder on in addition to the advice others have already contributed:

    Transfer of learning assumes good quality learning has taken place in a well designed and well delivered ‘intervention’- how do you know/check ?

    Learning is most likely to be applied positively if it is used/taken back to work sooner rather than later

    The main responsibility for learning lies with the learner themselves – ably and willingly supported of course by managers/peers at work – the learner therefore needs to be well-motivated, convinced that the learning was useful and relevant, confident to apply their learning, capable of applying their learning, allowed by others to apply it etc.

    If you need more on this let me know – I’m happy to send you stuff I’ve got – good luck !

    Barrie Smale

  5. Application of learning
    I’m always concerned when I hear that the role of the trainer in the organisation stops at the end of the course. It seems like a cop out.

    Ever since I have been involved in training we trainers have been moaning about delegates who receive no briefing and can expect little more when they return to work.

    Yet in all these years, us learning professionals have not managed to come up with a solution to this.

    The only way to ensure learning is applied is to involve the manager and this requires a certain attitude on their part – that the manager’s job is to make their staff better at theirs.

    This requires that we train managers in how people learn.

    The most neglected parts of the learning are re-inforcement because apparently we have no control over that.

    David Mamet, when talking about acting, said, ‘We tend to repeat those things we have repeated. Its not especially laziness, its just the way we are constructed’.

    We can train managers in learning by concentrating their minds on one management skill such as coaching which depends on concrete experiences.

    They always have a problem with identifying these experiences at work but the most obvious one where they can practice their new found coaching skills is the training course – a key concrete experience.

    I think management coaching is the answer.

    If the course is good enough they’ll be dying to try it and they will never have an excuse for not involving themselves in the learning of their people.

  6. Getting participants’ commitment to transfer learning
    Two straightforward ideas that might help. First, even on single day courses, I try to end up with a short action planning session – what have you learned today? what action are you going to take as a result? what are the benefits to you of doing that? what challenges will you face to doing it? and, how will you overcome the challenges?

    Second, if the duration of the course is longer than one day, I try to negotiate the days being at least a week apart. Then at the end of each day I ask participants to set themselves one or more things to try out in the workplace, which they then have to then report back how they got on at the following session. These are very short (1 minute) presentations and I coach for the positive benefits of what they have tried.


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