Transforming your staff's potential

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Training Transfer: What does it take to ensure learning is applied?

When training occurs in the workplace, its purpose (hopefully) is to close a performance gap or to expand abilities. It is not “frivolous”. It is not general education or personal enrichment. There must be measurable outcomes that fulfill business needs. But, what does it take to ensure the knowledge and skills gained in the classroom gets transferred to the work itself? Ensuring that knowledge, skills, and perspectives gained in training are applied in the workplace takes more than just ensuring learning has occurred. Behavior change also requires self-efficacy and motivation.

Self-efficacy, a belief in one’s ability to succeed, comes from self-confidence and successful practice. Providing a safe environment for early practice, coaching, and constructive, encouraging feedback supports this capacity.

Motivation comes from an understanding of the importance of the behavior change, for the larger goal and for themselves. Understanding the context of the learning, how it’s relevant to and helps their work and the business goal provides a more “philosophical” motivation. Providing active support of the transfer of learning to work, by including the new behaviors in performance measurements encourage accountability for applying the skills and incentives for successful execution, which provides the practical motivation.

What do you do to ensure that the skills and knowledge trained get applied on the job? What is embedded in the training? How is the transfer supported by the organization?

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