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Ken Blanchard (author of the One Minute Manager) argues that we should spend at least as much time on training follow-up as we do on its organization and delivery. Below are four simple things that trainers can do to support the transfer of learning post training:
1. Send a Post Card
Before they complete training, ask the participants to consider one or two key things that they would like to implement after the program based on what they have learned. This may include something they should start doing or perhaps something they should stop doing.
Provide each participant with a blank post card and ask them to write the points considered on the back. Next, ask them to self-address the post card. Finally, collect each of the post cards, attach stamps and post them on the participants’ behalf about three weeks after the training.
Done in this way, the postcard acts as both a closer to content as well as a reminder of the content post-training. There will be greater impact for the participants as they are essentially creating advice for themselves, from themselves. The arrival of the post card could also kick-start the implementation process if it hasn’t already started.
2. Ask them to Email you
Ask participants to email you a brief summary of the two most important points they took away from the training. You could use an incentive such as access to a members' section, a free subscription to an online newsletter or enter them in a drawing to win a book. As an extension, you could collate student responses then mail or email the list to the whole group. This will give you an opportunity to reinforce what was learned a second time.
3. Send a quiz
Send out a quiz related to the training’s content four to six weeks after the session. This will be a great means of testing retention but will also help bring the training concepts back to presence of mind. Further to this, you could add some wholesome competition through creating a prize for the “best” answers. Finally, use an online survey tool (such as zoomerang or survey monkey) to manage the process.
4. Share the Success
A week after the training, reconnect with the participants to determine what they have been able to put into practice. With permission, post the anecdotes in a publicly-accessible place or in the “members' section” described above. This will help participants make the content real and support the transfer of learning to their workplaces.
Marc Ratcliffe is CEO of MRWED Group, a leading training and assessment company and our Australia BPG licensee and partner. He also is author of The Trainer's Toolkit: 52 Techniques to Engage and Enliven Your Audience.