Industry research has found that employers are more often concerned with performance gaps in soft skills—skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, and communication—over technical hard skills—skills such as how to use equipment, and performing work tasks and procedures.
Corporate Strategy and Learning Center
Participant guides can be valuable tools for maintaining learner engagement and reinforcing on-the-job performance when developed as part of instructor-led training. Unfortunately, many times the participant guide is created quickly, if at all, at the end of a project and only includes images of the slides from the presentation. You expect your facilitators to engage the learners, not just to read bullet points on slides. Support your learners' performance by providing high-quality participant guides that are developed concurrently with the facilitator's guides and that provide unique content to the learner.
In a recent blog, we pointed out strategies to increase learning retention by using what we know about human memory, but what about after the training event is over? How do we make sure it sticks?
In many organizations, learning is seen as a one-time event, often in a different location from the job site, and once it's over, the learning on that content is over. But in order to reinforce the application of the learning and identify the actual retention, we need to think of training as a continual process and extend it beyond the one event.
There are several practical ways to ensure knowledge transfer, and implementing these can improve the investment your organization has made in training employees.
Subject matter experts are invaluable to those of us in the learning and development profession, helping us understand the complexities of the content and audience of our training initiatives. Oftentimes, due to a SME’s expertise in his or her content area, they are enlisted to deliver training. This can work well—if the SMEs are skilled in facilitation and training delivery. But what if they aren’t?
We know that lecturing through a hundred PowerPoint slides is not facilitation, nor is it training delivery. Delivering content to learners in a face-to-face setting takes skill, practice, and experience. Just because the SME has a vast amount of knowledge and experience in their area of expertise doesn’t automatically make them well suited for delivering training. Rather, take advantage of their skills for content clarity and definition, and rely on trained facilitators for the actual delivery of training.
Sales departments are notorious for their high rates of turnover, yet they’re one of the most critical functions within most companies, and the sales role is also particularly challenging to effectively train.
Learning leaders must work closely with their counterparts on the sales side to ensure sales training is effective, efficient, and that key portions remain “evergreen,” so that new salespeople can hit the ground running and more experienced staff have the refresher training they need to remain at the top of their game.
Sales organizations tend to focus only on the obvious training efforts, such as what to sell and how to sell it—the basic sales process in 5–7 easy steps. Generally these are short-term promotions aimed at hitting quarterly revenue targets or launching new service or product offerings.
The most successful sales managers understand that training is not an event, but rather it's an ongoing process. Effective sales training must be treated as a continuous, multi-part project that is targeted, planned, updated, and tracked for effectiveness.
It can be easy for sales managers to fall into that training-as-event mindset. The manager buys some generic sales training and sends the team off for a few days to… learn. She did her homework when picking a facilitator, and the response was great. The team is pumped. The trainer was funny and engaging and got everyone super-excited about selling.
Great! But now what? In many sales organizations, what typically happens next is... nothing. Everyone goes back to work, the team reverts to old habits, and the numbers start getting harder to make. Instead of having a plan to improve the activities and actions of the team, the sales manager throws up her hands and just says, “Go sell something!"
This is part of our ongoing series, Interviews with Learning Leaders.
Jann Iaco is an eLearning and training specialist with home goods retailer Crate&Barrel. Originally an actor with degrees in theatre and directing, Jann has more than 15 years of experience in the learning and development field. She is a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP), and she volunteers on the Board of Directors of the Association for Talent Development, Chicagoland Chapter, and as a facilitator with ATDChi's Workplace Learning & Performance Institute. She was a presenter at the 2015 Chicago eLearning & Technology Showcase.
It's one of the great dreads of any learning professional: All those hours and dollars put into developing and implementing a training solution, only to watch it wither on the vine.
Identifying early on that a training program is failing is critical to salvaging it. This requires attentiveness and rapid response on the part of the learning department.
Here are four telltale signs that your training program is in danger of failing. Note that this list doesn't include the most obvious sign—targeted business performance metrics failing to improve—because if you've not identified and remediated failing training prior to the return of disappointing success metrics, it's already too late.
Those first few minutes of a training program are critically important. If you fail to engage and connect with your audience from the start, it becomes that much harder to win them over later.
Here are eight steps training facilitators should take at the beginning of training initiatives to lay a solid foundation for successful learning.
Conducting an audience analysis is an important step for any learning initiative, but it's especially critical in the context of cross-cultural learning. Even the best-designed curriculum can be derailed for failure to understand the learning audience.
By knowing who the learning audience is and what business objectives the learning initiative aims to address, we can better prepare their instruction. For a domestic learning audience, that's usually enough... but for a global audience, we need to delve into cultural differences and preferences in order to make the learning solutions truly relevant and to avoid unforeseen hiccups that can doom the entire effort.
Preparations for a global learning initiative should include hitting the various audience analysis points you would for a typical domestic training program, but then taking it far deeper. There are two main components to any audience analysis: a demographic breakdown, and an understanding of their expectations and learning preferences. Let's examine how to apply the audience analysis process to global learners.