Improving learning transfer in the workplace

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  • I am an instructional designer. Currently I am writing my training and performance improvement dissertation about learning transfer best practices. This presentation frames the topic well. I have found that the research indicates that from 10% to 40% of learning is actually used. What practices to enhance learning transfer have you used?
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  • What is Learning Transfer?Ask the Audience: What does Learning Transfer mean to you? (Write definitions on white board)Say: As you can see, Learning Transfer can mean many things to many organizations
  • “Ensuring the knowledge and skills acquired during a learning intervention are applied on the job. “ (Sullivan)
  • Ask the audience: Why would Learning Transfer matter in your organization?
  • “In the majority of workplaces, less than 20 percent of corporate training actually leads to improved performance. “ (6Ds pg. 165) Ask the audience: If you bought a product and found it only worked 20% of the time, would you keep it? Would you continue to buy more?No? Then why would we accept training programs with this success rate?
  • Say: Training is an investment. In order for it to be successful, the results need to offset the costs. These results may or may not be financial, such as a program that increases employee satisfaction. But, generally we can say that the desired results of training are usually improved productivity or performance, which can lead to increased sales or decreased costs.
  • See activity 1 Participant Guide, Facilitator Guide, and Evaluation Cards
  • Say: Learner expectations strongly influence learning outcomes! A 1950 MIT experiment asked students to review a substitute teacher. One group was told teacher was “very warm” one group was told teacher was “very cold”. Even though the students sat through the exact same lecture, the teacher reviews were completely different between the two groups-from only 2 little words!Say: Any early exposure to the learning program or previous experience with similar ones shape opinions about the program’s value. Manager’s level of interest or indifference also strongly shapes learners’ opinions or level of involvement. No matter how well designed, learns get out of a program exactly what they expect they will!
  • There are many factors that may affect learning transfer:o Clear expectations about results expected from training o Management Support o Perceived benefits o Relevance and Prior experiences with learning o Separation from the Instructional Source o Poor Instructional Designo Distractions or conflicts at work
  • Say: Preparation before the training is just as important as during. All learners come to a training session with different experiences and knowledge and preparation helps to get everyone on the same page. Pre-work also allow trainers to go further and quicker, and creates richer and more meaningful group discussions. Keep in mind the trainees’ busy schedules when designing pre-work. To make it effective, it needs to be a clearly stated prerequisite to training, in such a way that that those who do not complete are unable to participate.
  • “The single greatest barrier to learning transfer [is] lack of reinforcement on the job” Ask the Audience: Would you agree with this statement? Why? Do you have any examples?
  • Phillips and Phillips (2002) pinpointed 11 reasons that training may fail. Seven of those were related to the post-training environment:• Training regarded as an isolated event• Participants not held accountable for results• Failure to prepare the job environment to support transfer• Management reinforcement and support mission• Failure to isolate the effects of training• Lack of commitment and involvement of executives• Failure to provide feedback and use information about results
  • Say:Learning transfer can only be assured if everyone needs to take ownership of the post-training environment. Too often, once the training event has finished, the process is seen as complete. Managers may feel it’s up to the training team to ensure performance improves. The training team may feel they have no control of the post-training environment. In many ways, both are true. That’s why it’s important to develop a partnership and for everyone to take responsibility.Say: To do this, you may need to actively adopt new systems and processes. What are some ideas? Let’s think about these questions and come up with some ideas and action items to take back to the workplace:How do you start the conversation?Who do you need to get on board?What process changes need to happen?What tools can you use to help post-training?instruction manualsjob aidsonline helptroubleshooting guidesSocial networking
  • Ask the audience: If there was a class with no grades, no tests, no attendance, and no expected future benefit, would you….Do the assignments?Make it a priority?Show up everyday?Register for it?
  • Say: In the same way, assessments have an important part of workplace learning. They motivate learners and prioritize important business outcomes. This may or may not be a test. An assessment is any method that checks a learner’s performance level post-training, including informal observation by a supervisor. Say: A well designed assessment:Sets clear expectationsSets a clear finish line for the training programReinforces training conceptsProvides an opportunity for feedback
  • Say: Keep in mind that an assessment is only as good as what it measures. When designing, think about what the trainee actually needs to do differently on the job.
  • Say: Many of you will be familiar with Bloom’s Cognitive Domains. It’s helpful to be reminded of them and the appropriate key words when designing assessments.
  • Say: Now let’s put our knowledge to use! In your groups of 5, we’ll look at a business problem and generate ideas about how to ensure learning transfer. (pass out SHRM Activity)Write the table grid on the whiteboard. After 15-20 mins, debrief as whole, compare and discus ideasUpon completion, show next slide
  • Say: I hope each of you has found this session helpful. While we’ve only skimmed the surface of learning transfer, the screen lists some helpful resources for further study. I’d highly recommend the six disciplines of breakthrough learning. I’m also passing out some additional resources, one from that book, to help you take this back to the workplace. Please pick up an evaluation form on your way out and thank you for your time.Job Aid from 6D’s (Pg 16)Ensuring the Transfer of Learning: Some Tips for Making Training Stick By Frank Troha
  • Improving learning transfer in the workplace

    1. 1. IMPROVING LEARNING TRANSFER IN THE WORKPLACEFacilitated by Rachel Donley
    2. 2. WHAT IS LEARNING TRANSFER?
    3. 3. WHAT IS LEARNING TRANSFER? “The ability to apply knowledge or procedures learned in one context to new contexts.” (Mestre, 2002) “Ensuring the knowledge and skills acquired during a learning intervention are applied on the job.” (Sullivan, 2003) “The process of putting learning to work in a way that improves performance.” (Wick, Pollock & Jefferson, 2010, p. 9)
    4. 4. WHY WOULD LEARNING TRANSFER MATTER IN YOUR ORGANIZATION?
    5. 5. WHY DOES LEARNING TRANSFER MATTER? It’s estimated that less than 20% of corporate training leads to performance improvement. (Wick, Pollock & Jefferson, 2010, p. 165) What do you think this means in terms of workplace learning’s:  Efficiency?  Effectiveness?  Current practices?  ROI?  Future?
    6. 6. WHY DOES LEARNING TRANSFER MATTER? Training is an investment. In order for it to be successful, the results need to offset the costs. Training results = improved productivity or performance Not all training success need be financial; success may be quantitative or qualitative, as long as it’s relevant to the business. (Wick, Pollock & Jefferson, 2010)
    7. 7. LEARNING TRANSFER IN ACTION
    8. 8. LEARNING TRANSFER IN ACTION RESULTS Learning Expectations Influence Outcomes! 1950 MIT experiment asked students to review teacher. One group was told teacher was “very warm” one group was told teacher was “very cold”. Even though the students sat through the exact same lecture, the teacher reviews were completely different between the two groups. (Wick, Pollock & Jefferson, 2010, p. 72)
    9. 9. LEARNING TRANSFER IN ACTION RESULTS Any early exposure to the learning program or previous experience with similar ones shape opinions about the program’s value Manager’s level of interest or indifference strongly shapes learners’ opinions Learns get out of a program exactly what they expect they will! (Wick, Pollock & Jefferson, 2010)
    10. 10. WHAT AFFECTS LEARNING TRANSFER? Clear expectations about expected performance after training (Wick, Pollock & Jefferson, 2010, p. 80) Manager support (Wick, Pollock & Jefferson, 2010, p. 77) Perceived value and benefits (personal gain) (Wick, Pollock & Jefferson, 2010, p. 75) Relevance (Wick, Pollock & Jefferson, 2010, p. 66) Prior Experiences (Wick, Pollock & Jefferson, 2010, p 66) Distance from the Instructional Source (Distributed Workforce – Game of Telephone) (Sullivan) Poor Instructional Design (Sullivan) Conflicts or distractions with work (Sullivan)
    11. 11. DESIGNING FOR LEARNING TRANSFER
    12. 12. DESIGN FOR BEFORE ….. Get every training attendee on the same page Prework/Preparation before training:  Allows trainer to go further and quicker  Creates richer and more meaningful group discussions  Needs to be reasonable  Needs to be a clearly stated prerequisite to training, such that those who do not complete are unable to participate
    13. 13. ….. AND AFTER “The single greatest barrier to learning transfer [is] lack of reinforcement on the job” (Wick, Pollock & Jefferson, 2010, p. 92)
    14. 14. ….. AND AFTER Of eleven reasons cited by Philips and Philips (2002) of why training fails, 7 are related to the post-training environment:  Training regarded as an isolated event  Participants not held accountable for results  Failure to prepare the job environment to support transfer  Management reinforcement and support mission  Failure to isolate the effects of training  Lack of commitment and involvement of executives  Failure to provide feedback and use information about results (Wick, Pollock & Jefferson, 2010, p. 92)
    15. 15. ….. AND AFTER Everyone (managers and learning professionals) need to take responsibility for ensuring learning produces results! Actively adopt new systems and process to ensure learning transfer… such as?  How do you start the conversation?  Who do you need to get on board?  What process changes need to happen?  What tools can you use to help post-training? (Wick, Pollock & Jefferson, 2010)
    16. 16. ….. AND AFTER If there was a class with no grades, no tests, no attendance, and no clear expected future benefit, would you….  Do the assignments?  Make it a priority?  Show up everyday?  Register for it?
    17. 17. ….. AND AFTER Assessments are an important and necessary part of training programs.  They set clear expectations  They set a clear finish line for the training program  They reinforce training concepts  They provide an opportunity for feedback (Wick, Pollock & Jefferson, 2010,)
    18. 18. ….. AND AFTER For assessments to be effective, however, they must evaluate the correct behavior/skill/results. (Wick, Pollock & Jefferson, 2010)
    19. 19. “Understanding, Creating & Evaluating Learning Objectives.”
    20. 20. LEARNING TRANSFER CASE STUDY
    21. 21. LEARNING TRANSFER CASE STUDY
    22. 22. REFERENCES Hutchings, Ph.D, Holly & Burke, Ph.D, Lisa A. “Transfer of Training. Activities to Enhance Learning.” SHRM. Accessed November 24, 2007 from http://www.shrm.org/Education/hreducation/Documents/Transfer%20of%20Training%20_ Activities.pdf. Sullivan, Rick. “Transfer of Learning”. MAQ Exchange. Accessed November 23, 2011 from http://www.intrahealth.org/~intrahea/files/media/training-innovations-and-provider- performance/TOL_high_res.pdf. Troha, Frank. “Ensuring the Transfer of Learning: Some Tips for Making Training Stick.” Frank Troha Instructional Design and Development Consulting. Accessed November 22, 2007 from www.iacet.org/component,9/action,download_file/_no.../id,132/. “Understanding, Creating & Evaluating Learning Objectives.” Accessed November 27, 2011 from http://softchalkconnect.com/lesson/files/8wXSLynRaeBOP6/Learning_Outcomes_Lesson _print.html Wick, C. W., Pollock, R. V. H., & Jefferson, A. (2010). The six disciplines of breakthrough learning, how to turn training and development into business results. (2 ed.). Pfeiffer.

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