What research says matters most: before, during and after training – ATD Key Learning

Day 1, ATD Conference 2016, Denver, USA

Training people should not be to make them able to take tests, but to improve them and make them better at what they do.

Learning transfer is crucial and how it’s applied on the job impacts later job performance. This is why, learning transfer in the fundamental desired outcome of a training and should not be limited only to the training session, but before, during and after.

What research says matters most before, during and after training (Patti Shank, PhD).

Training research and practice have greatly advanced within the last 30 years. Here are steps that should be taken before, during, and after training to maximize a program’s impact. We listed some below as well.

Critical BEFORE training:

  • Assess the different needs of the each group. “We often design generic training and, oh well, this is quite bad.”
  • Assess real job requirements. “You don’t train for what the stakeholders ask for, but for what the real job needs.
  • Assess what they need to remember and what they need to access. “Don’t confuse what they have to learn with what they need to access to.”
  • Schedule training close to when the know-how will be used.
  • Prepare the supervisors to support their staff post training.

What is important DURING training to enhance learning and transfer?

  • The manner of the training is your job. The people being trained will always say “the old way was better anyway”, but research found no correlation between the relevance of the training and the manner of training. You as the trainer are the one that needs to overcome this.
  • Testing should make people understand more, so don’t just give them the correct or incorrect answers. Instead, focus on feedback to make it meaningful and to provide a relevant diagnostic
  • The ability to recall critical content is important. Provide them the content, examples and practices relevant to their jobs.
  • Entertainment value should NOT be a major driver when developing technology based training. It’s often not cheaper and has similar outcomes as other types of training.
  • Learners do best with guidance over use of technology-based training.

What is most important AFTER the training?

Every bit of important as during training.

  • What should supervisors and team leads do after training to make transfer more likely? The 2 most important aspects: provide enough opportunities to practice the trained skills & remove the obstacles to using them.
  • The best way to determine how to evaluate training? Figure out your purpose for evaluation. Be precise in how you will measure the outcome. There are serious deficiencies in today’s practice when it comes to ways of evaluation. Kirkpatrick Partners. (Take a look at 17 Methods To Evaluate Your Training Programs Systematically here.)
  • A blended learning is the best bet. Combine physical training with eLearning. You need a LMS solution for a more efficient use of your resources and of the time of your instructors.

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