A) Make sure your goals are specific and measurable:
- Before starting any training initiative, the most important first step is to identify between 1 and 3 measurable outcomes for the training. We call it defining the S.M.A.R.T. (Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Timed) training "Goals".
- Make sure your goal is measurable so you can compare the before and after values and report on tangible impacts from the training.
- The number of calls to IT help desk for MS Excel support 4 weeks before the training and 4 weeks after Excel training.
B) Write down your goals, and record the 'before class' value so you can compare Record your goals against the course: We recommend recording the pre course metrics for each training class.
2. Tailor an existing course to your needs:
To get the best results the training needs to be directly applicable to your workplace, and include common familiar scenarios and terminology. You get the best results when people don't need to 'make a leap' to see the direct application on-the-job.
- You can save time and money without re-creating the wheel - start with a pre-existing course, then collaborate with an experienced, specialist facilitator to ensure the course is contextualised to your business - including familiar terminology and examples/scenarios.
All of the best planning and tailoring is wasted if the trainer isn’t suitably experienced, qualified or just isn’t the ‘right fit’ for your team and culture.
- To be 100% sure you have the right trainer can only come from having experience with that trainer delivering training to audiences similar to yours.
- A short mock-up presentation and a good meeting where they say what you want to hear is not as important as knowing they have successfully engaged audiences similar to yours in the past.
Recognise and value the diverse backgrounds and experience in the room.
- Ensuring the course is targeted and the learning goals of the organisation is vital. However each group has different personalities, levels of experience, and often different job roles or seniority. Your participants pre-course Q&A helps us position the course accordingly.
People learn more when they are active.
- Recognise that the people in the class are 'participants' not an 'audience' watching.
- Content is only 1/2 the story; the course must have a practical application and include robust collaboration.
- Leverage the experience and diverse backgrounds in the room.
- Ensure your course includes content, delivery and activities are constructed and delivered to support the different learning styles VARK (Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, Kinesthetic).
If a training course happened, and no one measured the impact, did it happen at all?
- It’s too early to judge all of the business impacts and success of the training, however it is time to check feedback, and best practice allows you to collect the following levels of feedback, you should be immediately reviewing:
Participant satisfaction: Feedback about the learning experience
Forecasted business impacts: Quality, efficiency, sales, innovation, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, decreasing costs.
Forecasted ROI: Using accepted methodology such as the Phillips and Kirkpatrick models
Reinforce for retention - beat the forgetting curve.Giving someone great training is the right place to start, however, if you want to see lasting change, you will get increased success if you provide reinforcement. Without reinforcement 90% of what was learned in class is forgotten in a matter of weeks.
Managers often find it difficult to prioritise planning and delivering reinforcement. And staff will only use reinforcement if it suits their learning style, and is at their fingertips when they need it. In other words it needs to be reinforcement at the speed of business - and suitable for each person.
To get a little technical, when it comes to reinforcement you will get best results if you accommodate the ‘cognitive styles’ known as avoidant, participative, competitive, collaborative, dependent independent and accommodating.
It takes a bit of work to get all that together in a way that feels natural, even ‘cool’ and is actually used, but it’s worth it.
Would a sports team do a drill for an important skill just once - and expect the players to change their game?
- Support, Coach and Re-train to embed the behaviours
- Use it or lose it, the old adage will never change. Different staff members will pick things up at different paces, and the opportunity to apply the training may come a long while after the initial training. Unfortunately business moves
quickly and managers are busy, and training departments are often stretched thin on current training requirements, so this aspect gets overlooked.
For some staff simple reinforcement will be adequate to keep the concepts top of mind and they will have the skill or depth of experience and confidence to try the new technique.
For others, they will require several iterations of hands-on guidance to be able to implement the new skills. Once again, if people are actually going to use it, you need to provide a range of options, at their finger tips, so they can choose what works best for them - when they want it.
Encourage improvement, support self-directed and social learning.
- Many managers and companies at large want to foster a ‘Learning Culture’. The best way to promote the development of a learning culture is to always provide easy access to extension materials and opportunities and to collaborate with peers - all within the normal natural working environment.
- Elements such as on-demand video, extension eLearning and collaboration in online forums provide people with the means and opportunity to continue learning - this is the first step in creating the ever elusive ‘Learning Culture’.
- Results should be a combination of qualitative, quantitative anecdotal and specific measured business impacts.
- Sharing results with the management team is important on many levels, it helps collaboration about the challenges and opportunities of the business, and shows your pro-activity and progress in your area.
- Unfortunately quality reporting is normally either arduous or very difficult due to the lack of tools and systems.