Efficient Transfer of Learning during Training

Needless to say, training in an organization is aimed at evolving existing ways and patterns of work. It is aimed at individual development, which cannot happen until there is a transfer of learning from the trainer to the trainee and the same is reflected in their work finally. But how can this learning be maximized considering time, motivation and learning ability constraints?

There are certain practices that have been designed for both the training session and the workplace. An implementation of these will ensure an efficient transfer of the learning’s and subsequent reinforcement. Some of these steps/practices are mentioned below:

  1. Training should match the Workplace: Most of the training programs tend to be idealist in nature. The trainees leave with a good positive impact but they find a huge disconnect when they try to implement the same at their workplace. For good learning the context of training and the context of job should be the same. For example, at GE training involves action learning tools where real life problems are discussed.

  2. Labeling: one good way to reinforce the learning or the important aspects of the training program is to name them appropriately such that they have a good recall rate after the training is over.

  3. Create a Supportive Environment at Work: Managers or senior management people should try and create an environment that reinforces the learning and allows the trainees to apply new skills at their workplace. This may involve giving the employees freedom to be more entrepreneurial, innovative and risk taking.

  4. Continued Learning: It is the jurisdiction of the management to ensure that learning be taken as a continual process rather than a onetime process. This means that there should be continuous follow-ups after training either by external consulting agencies or through an in house expert. Sometimes retraining may be required for continual skill up gradation and development.

  5. Practice: Employees should be compelled to practice new skills. One of the better ways is to remove the existing obsolete tools of work, so that people become out of practice of using those.

  6. Opportunity: In many organizations it was found out that it was the management and the work procedures that acted as a hindrance in implementation of new concepts. For example, in a certain study involving air force pilots it was found out that the trainees were given the opportunity of practicing only 50% of the tasks they learnt in the training! This is also true to midsized corporations that have a centralized functioning requiring approval for even minor changes.

  7. Train - Practice - Train: This involves supporting the employees to learn new skills, practice them in between various training sessions. University of Michigan’s centre for Learning and Development offers a management development program where employees attend training for one week and practice them for the next three weeks before coming back for the next intervention. These trainees spend the three weeks working on organizational analytics, development and organizational system projects etc.

If the above mentioned steps are implemented both within organizations and inside the training rooms, organizations stand a very good chance of making the training effective by ensuring a rich transfer of learning.

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