For training to work, it has to stick. “Sticky" training provides people with knowledge and skills that significantly improve their work product, productivity and success. Workshops, lectures and training sessions are wonderful, time-tested training tools. You know they work, but now you may be looking for something a little different. Following are five secrets for increasing the odds your people use what they learn from training.
Secret #1: Go Organic
People are creatures of habit. They may be perfectly willing to try something new, but if it conflicts with how things are done in their organization, they may not use it. Overcome this barrier by going organic.
Going organic means ensuring that the training incorporates your organization’s best practices. Are there methods that Joan has applied to help people get out of meetings faster and increase productivity? Consider integrating her ideas into the training methodology or at the very least acknowledging them. If something has worked for your organization, people will be more likely to pay attention to it.
Secret #2: Let Them Surf
It’s no secret that people love to surf the Web. They use it to find information, shop and stay in contact with friends or colleagues. Indulge this urge by developing interactive training tools. This means going beyond placing them on your organization’s Intranet site. Instead, use technology to ensure that the information remains relevant as needs change.
One solution is to develop and deploy a simple program that spits out relevant information based on a user’s current situation. For example, someone needing to quickly launch a long-running initiative in a new location would receive one set of information. A person looking for ways to reignite interest in the project in another area would access another. People will use information if it is relevant and customizable.
Secret #3: Everyone Learns Differently
People learn in different ways. Some learn well by attending lectures. Others prefer to read books. A few may learn better from audiotapes. Delivering information via visuals, text and sound can increase the odds people will retain it.
Consider developing an interactive training course that uses all three forms of communication. These courses provide people with the freedom to peruse information at their own pace. They also meet the needs of all types of learners.
Secret #4: Make Them Use It
Once people apply a new skill, they are more likely to use it again. One way to help people use what they learn during a training seminar is to have them apply it to a relevant situation.
Media trainers (those that prepare people for media interviews) have learned this lesson well. After delivering a talk about the needs of the media, they have trainees conduct one or more mock interviews. These interviews provide trainees with much-needed practice and help them clearly communicate key messages.
The next time you are searching for a training method, look for those that enable people to immediately apply their newfound skills. Doing so will increase the odds that they will use them in other situations.
Secret #5: Change Is Good
Nothing stays the same and neither should your training methods. No matter how customizable and relevant they are, every training tool should be reexamined periodically to ensure that it is still meeting the needs of your organization. If it isn’t, you should think about changing it.
Remember, if people aren’t applying their training, it isn’t doing any good. Use the five secrets outlined above to maximize your training efforts, and your organization’s success.
(c) 2006 Fard Johnmar
Fard Johnmar is founder of Envision Solutions, L. L. C. , a full-service healthcare marketing communications consulting firm. Envision Solutions provides innovative products and services to not-for-profit and for-profit organizations. Envision Solutions’ goal is to make our clients more efficient and successful. For more information about Envision Solutions please visit our Web site .