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LSA Transfer of Training Methodology

What do we mean by "Transfer of Training?" We define Transfer of Training as the process by which you ensure that the desired knowledge, skills, and attitudes transfer from the simulated workshop environment to predefined on-the-job behavior and performance change. Ideally, this change should be directly linked to key business initiatives or objectives. Our experience and research tell us that most training initiatives consistently fall short for two reasons: 1. They are not fully implemented or executed. 2. They do not show measurable improvements in performance or in business results. These two factors have rightfully created ambiguity and cynicism around training as a strategic investment. After all, why would an organization want to invest in processes without clearly understanding how the Transfer of Trainingwill take place and impact their business? There are clearly some disconnects between learning and results. While many companies philosophically believe in investing in people through skill building, most are content with allowing the results to take care of themselves. The probability of this approach succeeding and having a tangible business impact is slim. We believe that every learning investment must be managed appropriately if you expect a benefit. Without managing the learning process to ensure that training transfers into performance and results, there may be little or no benefit for either the individual or the company. For organizations and employees to ensure the Transfer of Training, they must connect two common disconnects that occur between learning and business results.

Transfer of Training
Training transfer is the "extent to which the learned behavior from the training program is used on the job." (Phillips, J. 1991*). Transfer of training is the effectiveness, success measure for the employee and the organization. To evaluate this effectiveness, measures are made at the end of training to determine how much the trainee has learned, immediately on the job to assess initial improvement from training, and at a later time-usually six months or one year--to determine if what was learned is being used. With the rapid changes in technology used in the workplace and the ever increasing emphasis on productivity due to global competition, organizations are spending significant funds on training. According to the American Society for Training and Development, as much as $210 billion is spent annually on employee training in the U.S. In the past, it was often just assumed that training was effective and contributing to improved job performance. Today, more and more organizations want training effectiveness and transfer measured in terms of on-the-job performance so that return-on-investment (ROI) can be calculated or, at least, estimated.

Training Transfer Obstacles


A training program can be properly developed and implemented, yet still not result in transfer to the job. In fact, research on training transfer has indicated that less than 20% of the skills and knowledge acquired in training are still used a year later. This deficit can be

attributed to several factors such as: the training was not pertinent to the job that the trainee actually performs, the trainee did not have an opportunity to put the new learning to use in a timely manner, or the work place was not conducive to the trainee applying what had been learned. However, the principle factors identified were lack of encouragement, support, and reinforcement of training by the employee's manager or supervisor. (Love, S. 2001*).

The above graph depicts performance increases expected from training.**

The above graph depicts the results often experienced from training.**

Transfer Enhancement
Human learning and cognition research, as well as results from training programs, suggest how we process, retain, and retrieve information. y Gain Attention and Motivation - At training initiation, the learner's attention must be captured, and the learner must be motivated to learn. Techniques are: o Present the link between training achievement and job performance and potential positive outcomes for the learner. o Tie skills and concepts as closely as possible to job requirements. o Provide a meaningful, job related context for concept/theory learning.

Accommodate Learning Styles - Individuals have different learning styles; some are "visual" learners while others are "auditory." Also, individuals differ in learning by "observation" or by "doing." o Present information in several forms or media so that it is usable by individuals with different learning styles. Use Cross-Sensory Presentation - Evidence suggests separate memory stores are used for visual and verbal information. Information encoded in both memory stores is more likely to be retrieved. o Present information in visual, auditory, and verbal form. Provide Feedback - Feedback on performance is essential for learning. The immediacy of feedback and content will vary with the stage of training. o Feedback should be specific, especially in early perceptual-motor skill training and in initial knowledge acquisition. It is important to inform the learner of specifics of an error--not just that response was "wrong." o In later training stages, feedback may be withheld until a drill, practice, or test is completed. Otherwise, it may be disruptive to the task at hand. o Some tasks contain "intrinsic" feedback, such as the "feel" of the steering wheel when driving or of the rudder pedals when flying which should be replicated in simulator training.

Learning and memory retention techniques continued: y Provide Reinforcement - Positive reinforcement helps to maintain learner motivation and to "shape" the behavior being trained. o On-the-job feedback and positive reinforcement are essential to successful training transfer. Accommodate Processing Time - Information received by our sensory system is stored for only a very brief period. Information must be transferred to working memory within this period or it is lost. o Prepare and present training materials, so that enough time is allowed for the learner to transmit information to working memory. o Enable access to all material presented so that learners may review information that was "missed." o Repeat key information, perhaps with different phrasing, so the learner has additional opportunity to process the information. Use Elaboration - Elaborating with additional information or details increases learning strength. Structure Information - Information that is structured hierarchically on presentation is more likely to be recalled later. Use Multiple Associations - The more associations that are created between new information and information already in memory, the greater the likelihood of recall. Provide Practice - Practice exponentially increases learning strength. In other words, three practice sessions produces nine times more learning than one.

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How can you increase the transfer of training in your organization? For any given training program, you will need to look into three areas:
1. 2. 3. training participant attributes (intelligence, attitudes) training program design and delivery workplace environment

What can you do to enhance the positive impact of each of these factors? Training participant attributes may be influenced when introducing new employees to your organization through an effective recruitment, selection and induction process. Attributes can also be influenced before training begins through pre-qualifying nominees during the registration process. The second factor, training design and delivery, can be made more effective through ensuring that the training program objectives are clearly focused on your organization's priorities and goals. Tied in with this, participants learning outcomes must be stated in terms of behavior required in the workplace and measurable performance standards. To help you with aligning learning outcomes with organizational objectives, review our practical eBook Writing Learning Outcomes. Along with effective design, to maximize training transfer to the workplace ensure that the training is delivered in accordance with what we know about how adults learn best. Our Trainer Effectiveness Rating Form included within our Training Management Template Pack is a useful tool that can help you here. The most significant, yet most neglected, factor influencing the extent of training transfer is the third area mentioned above, the employee's workplace environment. What happens before employees attend the training event and what happens after they return to work are the most important variables determining workplace performance following training. If your organization is struggling to see tangible benefits from training, ask yourself these key questions of your last training program:

y y y y y y y y y y

Did instructional designers, trainers and line managers work together in partnership or was work on the program done in isolation with little collaboration? Were non-training solutions seriously considered or was a training request received and an off-the-shelf solution delivered? Were training outcomes stated in behavior and performance terms or were outcomes unstated or stated in fuzzy terms? Were training objectives tied to stated organizational objectives or were they left floating in the organizational ether? Were managers and supervisors actively involved before, during and after the program or was the program divorced from the employee's day to day work? Was post-training support provided back in the workplace, such as coaching and on-the-job aids, or were employees left to flounder with no opportunity to practice? Were new procedures and role expectations clearly communicated to employees or were they left wondering why they were nominated for the program? Were workplace performance expectations agreed with employees prior to the training, or was it back to "business as usual"? Was the training integrated with a well thought-out and implemented change or improvement program, or was the training a single point "silver bullet" solution? Did you measure the organizational impact of the program or rely solely on "happy sheets" for feedback?

Transfer of Training Strategies


Many trainers are faced with the challenge of motivating their training program participants to use the new skills they learned during the program back in their workplace. Whether it is using the new software system to enter customer interactions, acting in a more collaborative manner with other team members or delegating more often to direct reports, this is what the training program is meant to be all about. If the training program does not in the end change workplace behaviors, the money and time spent on training is simply wasted. All trainers have experienced at one time or another training program participants that are neither interested in the program nor motivated to apply the skills and knowledge in their jobs. Here are some tips that you as a trainer can use to help participants want to learn and to transfer that learning to their jobs. Working towards training transfer starts before the training course begins and continues on after the training completes. So, training transfer tasks have been separated into things you can do before, during and after the training is completed.

Before Training

Get the participants managers to conduct a pre-course briefing with each participant. If they do not know how, show them. This briefing is the place for each manager to introduce discussion about how the principles, techniques and skills learned will be applied practically once the participant returns from the training event. Their manager is also in the best position to ensure that participants have completed any pre-requisite reading or exercises. Most important of all, the pre-course briefing sends a powerful message that the organization cares about the employees development and is serious about seeing the benefits of training.

During Training
For training to be effective, the fundamentals of training design will need to have been followed. These basics include selecting the right trainees, matching performance objectives to organizational outcomes, delivering at the right time and choosing the appropriate methods and delivery modes. In addition, the following four points need to be kept in mind during the conduct of the training sessions.

Goal Orientation
Participants actively engage the subject matter when they see a purpose in the learning. This could be reducing time to market for new products or minimizing the companys environmental impact. If there is a sense that the program is going somewhere, that there is a significant point to the training beyond the training room, many trainees will latch onto that purpose so long as there is a hook to make that connection. That hook may be personal. It may be the social acceptance that will come from passing the course, or it may be earning the eligibility to join a respected professional association, for example. So, ensure that the organizational objectives of the program are clearly described to trainees at the start of the program and state the WIIFM (Whats In It For Me).

Real Work Relevance


Showing how the program relates directly to peoples day-to-day work significantly lifts the level of participant interest in the program. Firstly, demonstrate your expertise in the knowledge and skills being taught, or at least rely on subject matter experts at the appropriate times. Next, use a host of real-life examples and scenarios from the participants own workplaces. Make role-plays, simulations and examples as true to life as you can. In addition, demonstrate how models, theories and principles need to be contextualized for each workplace situation. Involve participants in making those connections by generating free and frank discussion about how the learning can be applied back on the job. Another fruitful strategy is getting the participants supervisors and managers to introduce the program or each session. Doing this sends a strong message that the person to whom they report considers the program to be practical and relevant to their work. Even better, where possible, get the participants supervisor or manager to deliver one or more components of the program.

Practice
Building in opportunities for practice during the training helps to spark participants interest as they experience new aspects of the skill and builds their self-confidence as they gain success. Factoring in opportunities for practice also increases motivation to use the skills on the job by revealing to participants first hand how the new skills can improve their work on the job. Be sure to intersperse theory with practice sessions. The variety of physical movement and mental activity also helps to maintain participant interest.

Interpersonal Interaction
Learning in the workplace is largely a social activity, in which goals and aspirations are shared, experiences are discussed, different approaches are debated and ways of doing things are demonstrated. In some programs, participants will learn more from each other than from the trainer. And when the participants return to their workplaces, shared learning between participants will be paramount. Interactions that encourage participation and collaboration will foster motivation and transfer. Things you can do here include asking plenty of questions that gain attention and generate discussion. Ask some questions of the whole group so that they can get to know something about their peers. Whole group questions start to dissolve the initial apprehension that people feel when faced with new people and surroundings. Next, plan for group work in your program design. Use groups consisting of two to six trainees to construct lists, discuss a scenario, role-play and solve problems. Relationships can quickly become fractured and learning blocked through the actions of one or more attention-seeking, disruptive or abusive participants. So, be sure to establish ground rules at the start of the program. Lastly, give trainees rewards to mark their achievements. Success that is recognized helps to develop team spirit, especially if all of the participants are striving toward a common goal.

After Training
Transferring skills to the workplace at the conclusion of the training program begins with a post-course debriefing. Continuing on from the pre-course briefing, get participants managers to review with the participants the content of the training and the

participants experiences. The post-course debriefing is an ideal juncture at which to identify, plan and agree with the employee where the skills will be applied and to set specific goals for their application.

Why Measure Training Effectiveness?


Measuring the effectiveness of training programs consumes valuable time and resources. As we know all too well, these things are in short supply in organizations today. Why should we bother? Many training programs fail to deliver the expected organizational benefits. Having a well-structured measuring system in place can help you determine where the problem lies. On a positive note, being able to demonstrate a real and significant benefit to your organization from the training you provide can help you gain more resources from important decision-makers. Consider also that the business environment is not standing still. Your competitors, technology, legislation and regulations are constantly changing. What was a successful training program yesterday may not be a cost-effective program tomorrow. Being able to measure results will help you adapt to such changing circumstances.

The Kirkpatrick Model


The most well-known and used model for measuring the effectiveness of training programs was developed by Donald Kirkpatrick in the late 1950s. It has since been adapted and modified by a number of writers, however, the basic structure has well stood the test of time. The basic structure of Kirkpatricks four-level model is shown here.

Figure 1 - Kirkpatrick Model for Evaluating Effectiveness of Training Programs

Level 4 - Results

What organizational benefits resulted from the training?

Level 3 Behavior

To what extent did participants change their behavior back in the workplace as a result of the training?

Level 2 Learning

To what extent did participants improve knowledge and skills and change attitudes as a result of the training?

Level 1 Reaction

How did participants react to the program?

An evaluation at each level answers whether a fundamental requirement of the training program was met. Its not that conducting an evaluation at one level is more important that another. All levels of evaluation are important. In fact, the Kirkpatrick model explains the usefulness of performing training evaluations at each level. Each level provides a diagnostic checkpoint for problems at the succeeding level. So, if participants did not learn (Level 2), participant reactions gathered at Level 1 (Reaction) will reveal the barriers to learning. Now moving up to the next level, if participants did not use the skills once back in the workplace (Level 3), perhaps they did not learn the required skills in the first place (Level 2). The difficulty and cost of conducting an evaluation increases as you move up the levels. So, you will need to consider carefully what levels of evaluation you will conduct for which programs. You may decide to conduct Level 1 evaluations (Reaction) for all programs, Level 2 evaluations (Learning) for hard-skills programs only, Level 3 evaluations (Behavior) for strategic programs only and Level 4 evaluations (Results) for programs costing over $50,000. Above all else, before starting an evaluation, be crystal clear about your purpose in conducting the evaluation.

Using the Kirkpatrick Model


How do you conduct a training evaluation? Here is a quick guide on some appropriate information sources for each level.

Level 1 (Reaction)

y y y

completed participant feedback questionnaire informal comments from participants focus group sessions with participants

Level 2 (Learning)
pre- and post-test scores on-the-job assessments supervisor reports

y y y

Level 3 (Behavior)

y y y

completed self-assessment questionnaire on-the-job observation reports from customers, peers and participants manager

Level 4 (Results)
financial reports quality inspections interview with sales manager

y y y

When considering what sources of data you will use for your evaluation, think about the cost and time involved in collecting the data. Balance this against the accuracy of the source and the accuracy you actually need. Will existing sources suffice or will you need to collect new information? Think broadly about where you can get information. Sources include:

y y y y y y y

hardcopy and online quantitative reports production and job records interviews with participants, managers, peers, customers, suppliers and regulators checklists and tests direct observation questionnaires, self-rating and multi-rating Focus Group sessions

Once you have completed your evaluation, distribute it to the people who need to read it. In deciding on your distribution list, refer to your previously stated reasons for conducting the evaluation. And of course, if there were lessons learned from the evaluation on how to make your training more effective, act on them!