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Transferring Learning back to the workplace


Research has shown that something like 80% of what learners will cover in a training programme is forgotten 48 hours later. PTS Learning Systems also conducted a study on IT training and found that approximately 70 % of the investment in IT training is wasted. So what can be done to ensure that businesses gain greater value from their investment?

Clearly, the need to support the transfer of learning back into the workplace must take greater priority than it has in the past. Arguably, the ‘blended solution’ for training becomes mandatory. Established options for supporting learning back in the workplace can include tools like TBT. What other options should be considered?

Training departments might want to consider how they continue to communicate with learners after the training event. Some training departments offer regular (ie weekly) drop-in surgeries for staff. This provides the added benefit of giving staff access to coaching for specific, job-related problems. There are training departments that offer regular hints/tips newsletters/e-mails for staff, the focus of which is productivity. Superusers – staff who have been trained at a higher level – can be used as support for other staff on occasion. However, Superusers should never replace the appropriate training solution, not least because they have their own jobs to do. Floorwalking after roll outs is also an effective way to monitor the progress of learners. Information about the problems learners are facing can also be obtained from Help Desks. Most Help Desks can provide reports of both quantity of calls received and the nature of the call – examining these reports enables management to identify skills or knowledge deficiencies which are common across the business.

Trainers can also be more proactive in helping learners transfer learning back to the workplace. Assessments of trainers shows that they tend to be very good at explaining concept and process. However, many trainers forget to fully check the understanding of the learners or seek evidence that learners can apply the learning to meet real world needs. Trainers should consider the following:

 Explore learner needs. Why are they on the training programme? What do they have to gain from it? What are their particular needs? Is there anything they need which is not included in the course plan? Can this be covered during the course or do the learners need to be directed elsewhere?

 Find out what relevance has the content for the learners. What are they going to do with the learning? What benefits can they see for using the newly acquired knowledge and skills ?

 Use a range of delivery methods so that training appeals to the range of adult learning styles.

 Agree the next steps for the learners. What plans do they have for practising their skills? What will hinder them from applying the learning in their workplace? What support is provided? Who can they contact if they run into difficulty?

 Review objectives at the end of the course. Did the learners achieve what they set out to achieve? If not, why not? Are the objectives for the course the right ones?

Cultural and management issues can have an impact on the transfer of learning into the workplace. By taking a strategic approach to the management of learning, those issues can be identified earlier before plans for training are developed. And that’s the challenge for training managers – the development of cohesive training strategy that draws together the requirements and resources for learning and delivers the appropriate interventions, feedback mechanisms, and support.


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