Post-Training Musts to Maximize Learning Retention

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How many times has someone explained something to you for the first time, you think you’ve got it and then you walk away thinking, what did he/she just say? It’s happened to us all and it’s actually incredibly common. It’s no different for your employees. A common scenario familiar to training managers is that of a new employee completing four days of training on the company’s CRM software. After the initial training period, you expect the employee to hit the ground running and begin showing results. Instead, you’re oftentimes frustrated because the employee has forgotten much of what he/she has learned and is unable to immediately apply that knowledge to the actual work. In fact, according to the Association for Talent Development (2015), learners forget 58% of what they just learned within an hour after training ends. This “gap period”, the period where the employee has acquired the critical knowledge yet is not fully ready to perform his/her tasks error-free or without assistance from others, is a critical period in the learning cycle. Here are the rules of thumb that you can help your employees achieve full proficiency faster. Follow these rules:

1. Get Workers to Quickly Apply Knowledge Attained in Their Training

In order for us to learn new things our brain needs to make new neural pathways. The brain does this through practice. The more we do something, the more likely we are to remember how to do it in the future. The expression “if you don’t use it, you lose it” derives from this concept. For this reason, it is important that employees apply the knowledge they learned immediately after training. When employees begin applying the knowledge they learned in their day-to-day work, employers get a deeper understanding of the information learned throughout training. As a side note, when employees see a direct connection between what they learned and their day-to-day activities, they are more likely to be willing to partake in future training sessions. 52

2. Finding the Knowledge Gaps Quickly and Addressing Them Swiftly

The first thing you should do after the initial training period is to evaluate the results. Before the training program began, you should have laid down specific, measurable goals and objectives for the training program. Look back at the original training objectives and see if the goals were met. Was the necessary knowledge successfully transferred? What training elements were successful and which should be done away with? What difficulties do employees still have, if any? A relatively easy way to answer these questions is through employees’ feedback. This can be done anonymously through questionnaires distributed either at the end of each training module, at the end of the entire training period, and then at regular intervals afterwards. Results often fail to show up immediately, so it is better for employers to monitor their workers over a long period of time. In this way, you know what topics/issues need to be reinforced with or re-taught to your employees, as well as how to improve future training programs.
Jason is the Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog. Jason established the Training Station blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to training, learning and development.