Make Your Training Program Stick
The goal of every training program is to take someone and teach them about or how to do something. This is true for every job out there and every job you’ve ever had. Even the simplest of jobs involve some type of training. Maybe the training is informal and includes a fellow employee showing you how to do something. Maybe the training is formal and involves you attending classes for a week. Regardless of the length, rigor or context of the training program, the goal is always the same: provide you with the knowledge and skills to do your job correctly.
Our Experience with Training
Think about your place of employment. What kind of trainings does your company provide? What kind of training did you receive when you began working at your company? Was the training effective in your opinion? Was it interesting? Boring? Helpful? Generally speaking, training programs aren’t meant to entertain. They’re meant to educate and, well, train. But odds are that for most of us, the training programs we’ve been put through were not all that effective. Most of us, when we received training, did so the first few days or weeks on the job and that was that. A ton of information all thrown at us for 8 hours a day every day until we were done with the training. Was the information important? Yes. Was it useful? Sure. Did it help you with doing our job correctly? Probably. Could we remember even half of what we learned two weeks after the program was done? Probably not. The point here is that a training program can be engaging, insightful and very useful, but not effective. The vast majority of the information taught during the training did not stick. It did not transfer in a way that ensured the learner or trainee would remember everything once it’s done. Truly successful training programs are engaging, educational, efficient and effective. They achieve much greater transfer of knowledge and skill. They ensure more information sticks to the brains of those who go through the training.
Making Your Training Sticky
There many different parts that make a training program successful and I’d require much more room than this blog allows me to go over even 10% of these parts. So, to be as efficient and effective as I can be, I’ll stick to a two easy to understand and important parts of a successful training program: repetition and continuous learning.
Repetition is something we are all familiar with. It’s how was mastered multiplication tables in grade school. It’s how we knew what to do when a play was called on the field or on the court. Repetition is how we memorized things to pass our finals in college. Repetition is a great tool to make learning and training stick. You can combat the loss of knowledge that occurs after a training program is complete, by repeating it, or at least the more complex aspects of it. Just like repeatedly practicing a drum solo will help in mastering it, so will repeatedly completing a job task or an important part of a training program.
To go along with repetition, continuous learning is another great way to make sure your employees are going to master the knowledge and skill required to do their job. Continuous learning means that at some consistent interval, your employees receive additional training. The training could be about new topics that may expand their skill-set or about existing processes to help make sure they continue doing their jobs correctly. Yearly training programs can be helpful, but again, most of that information will be lost a few weeks later. Establishing and maintaining a training program that are offered on a monthly basis is a great way to ensure not too much information is lost.
Monthly trainings, among other things, should include repetition of important knowledge and skills. Your employees may at times moan and groan about going over familiar materials, but the reason the material is familiar is because they keep being trained on it. It’s not easy to find the perfect balance between introducing new information and going over old material, but it’s important to do both.
There are a lot more that goes into creating a truly successful training program but including aspects of repetition and continuous learning in your program will help you get there.