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Learning that Lasts (Part 2)

Blog | Building Culture   |   September 22, 2015

by Dr. Roy Pollock

How to turn training and development into business results

Improving Learning Transfer is the greatest single opportunity that companies have to increase the value created by training and development.

The core concept of The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning is that companies invest in training and development in order to improve performance and achieve business objectives. Achieving those outcomes and developing a healthy working environment requires that employees apply new skills and knowledge back on the job.

When it comes to learning transfer, hope is not a strategy. At least, it is not a winning strategy. To maximize the value of learning, organizations need to plan and manage what happens before and after training in addition to providing great learning experiences.

Here is how HR Managers and leaders can get started on improving Learning Transfer in their organizations:

1. Have a long-term plan

The first and critical thing in Learning Transfer is to have a plan. Support for learning transfer needs to be built into every training and development program; it should not be left to chance. At a minimum, remind trainees about what they learned and the need to apply it. Successful consumer brand companies know that they have to continue to repeat their message to maintain a “share of mind.” If we want to keep new learning top-of-mind, then we also need to remind people periodically. The best reminders cause the learners to stop and reflect.

2. Get managers in on it

By far the most important factor in the “transfer climate” is the learner’s immediate supervisor. Rob Brinkerhoff put it succinctly: “When managers support training and learners, it works. When they do not, it does not.” Getting managers more actively engaged doesn’t cost a lot of money, but it takes time and effort to convince them of the value and provide them suggestions for simple, effective, things they can do to boost results from training.

Ask your managers to estimate how much training is currently going to waste because it is not used and how much that is costing their departments. I am amazed at how much companies invest in training and development and then allow to go to waste by not making a small incremental investment to be sure it is applied.

3. Learn and apply the 6Ds® Method

The 6Ds® are the six disciplines practiced by companies who get the greatest value from training and development. They start with a clear definition of the desired business outcomes and continue through assessment of the training’s impact.

In the upcoming Learning Transfer Symposium at ROHEI, we’ll be focusing on two in particular—D4: Drive Learning Transfer and D5: Deploy Performance Support—as these have great potential to extract enhanced value from existing programs. I will also be sharing case studies to demonstrate how companies that have invested in Learning Transfer have reaped exceptional benefits.

I am delighted to be working with ROHEI to bring the 6Ds® principles to their clients, and very excited about the opportunity to introduce HR, Learning, and Business Leaders in Singapore to the power of Learning Transfer. I will be sharing more on the 6Ds® at ROHEI’s Learning Transfer Symposium, and providing practical advice to help you initiate Learning Transfer at your company. I hope to see you there!

Read Part 1 of Learning that Lasts here.

Dr Roy is Senior Advisor at ROHEI and Chief Learning Officer and co-founder of The 6Ds® Company.

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