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How to Get More Training Impact


You want to build training programs that will have an impact. Participants will return to their jobs and immediately put what they learned to use. But the impact doesn't end there. It's felt throughout the organization and contributes to its overall success. How do you get there? The key to successful training is simple: Always keep your eye on what you hope to achieve. From the initial analysis and design of your program through to the end of the final session, never stop thinking about the expected learning outcomes. The easiest way to do this is to design the evaluation strategy before you create any of the content. In my practice, trainers are encouraged to design the evaluation approach even before writing any content for their program. Trainers are then focused on outcomes from the start. They're better prepared to develop activities and other program content. How do you identify a program's learning outcomes? I tell trainers it's a four-step process: 1. Identify the objectives of the organizational unit 2. Identify the desired on-the-job behaviors of participants 3. Write learning objectives 4. Determine content, delivery mode and schedule Step No. 2, in my experience, has the greatest impact on beginner and experienced trainers alike. Often, they think too much about what they want participants to "know". Instead, I ask the trainer (and expect them to answer) this question: "What is it that you want the participants to do after training?" (More of my thoughts on writing learning objectives are available in my book on writing learning outcomes.) Trainers are sometimes surprised by my focus on behavioral outcomes and evaluation so early in the process. But there is a method to my madness as the trainer thinks about: • how the participants will use the training (organizational outcomes) • teaching actual skills, not the proverbial "brain dump" • developing useful practice sessions for during and after the training (not the token exercises that always get cut short when training runs long) • building tests for the end of the program to see if participants are leaving with a new of doing things All this work in advance has another very important benefit. It gets the trainer (and managers) to start thinking about what support systems need to be in place to reinforce the training and translate it into permanent behavior change. This process, called training transfer, is an essential, yet often overlooked, part of building a successful training program. Effective, game-changing training programs are within your grasp. You only need to set the stage early in the process.

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