The trainer is only one aspect of the system that needs to be in place to maximise the chances of performance improvement, and there are of course ways in which the trainer can stack the cards in favour of the transfer of learning.
Here are the first five of our Ten Tips for what we believe will make the biggest difference to successful learning transfer:
1. Get the needs analysis and design right:
Ensure the needs analysis identifies the gap between current behaviour and future capability. Part of your role is to design the programme so ensure that it links cohesively to the work environment. Get the outcomes agreed by business sponsors and identify the measurement criteria you will use in the evaluation phase.
2. Nurture relationships internally:
Once you have recognised who the key influencers are, build and nurture relationships with them. Find out more about the key business challenges and demonstrate to the business sponsors that you have identified these and that they are reflected in the training content.
3. Get buy-in from participants:
This can be done before, during or after the programme. Identify the participants’ needs and treat them like adults, build the ‘what’s in it for me?’ at the front end to ensure that the learning outcomes are met.
4. Encouraging responsibility in participants:
Ultimately the participant will be a huge contributor to learning transfer. To ensure that they develop confidence, they will have to practise their new skills in a safe environment. Get commitment to action from each participant and make sure that there is plenty of time to construct an action plan. On some programmes we now even record on camera the agreed commitments and send them to the participants and their managers. Ensure that each participant has identified at least three things they can do within 20 days of the course finishing. Use your own credibility to underpin the importance of learning transfer and repeat this many times. Use phrases such as ‘I have run courses before and so I know there are some people who will chose not to do anything and so , of course, nothing changes. The wise participant is constantly on the lookout for tools and ideas to help improve their own performance back in the workplace. What choice will you make over the next 2 days?’ etc.
5. Incentivise change:
Can you find some incentives for the participants; a bonus, additional responsibility, a chance to be coached for a month?
Please check back for our next blog to see the other half of our Ten Tips.