Trainer Mistake 1 - No Transfer Strategy

By Bill Wilder, the Life Cycle Institute

Many subject matter experts and managers are asked or required to deliver training. Most have little training experience so they make mistakes. At the 2015 Association for Talent Development conference Bob Pike, a widely respected learning authority, presented The 7 Greatest Mistakes Trainers Make and How to Avoid Them.

  1. No transfer strategy
  2. Too much content
  3. Failure to chunk content
  4. Poor use of evaluations
  5. Managing questions in the classroom
  6. Lack of planned and impromptu closers, openers, revisits, and energizers
  7. Not available before and after formal class

Over the next few emails I will describe these mistakes and offer ways to avoid them.

The number one mistake is no transfer strategy. This means that we simply send people to a class without any specific goals and/or application expectations. We hope that what is taught in the training program is applied in the workplace. Decades of learning research suggests that we are lucky to get 20% of the knowledge applied when there is no transfer strategy. There are many transfer strategies that can be applied including communications, SMART goals, metrics, visual management, dashboards, performance management, and compensation.

Bob uses moments of truth to illustrate his point. A moment of truth is a contact between people during which an impression or expectation is formed. There are 9 significant moments of truth in a learning experience. These moments involve the participant, their manager and the facilitator before, during and after training.

ROLE

Before Training

During Training

After Training

Manager

1

4

7

Participant

2

5

8

Facilitator

3

6

9

Which moment of truth has the most impact on the results a participant produces from the learning investment? Most trainers believe it is number 6 – the facilitator during the class.

Bob Pike tells us that it is not.

There are 3 other moments of truth that have more impact on results. First is number 1 – the manager before training. This is the alignment phase of the learning process. It is when the manager shows support and sets clear application expectations. Failure to proactively plan this interaction leads to participants showing up for training who do not want to be in the training and/or have no idea why they are there. We leave it up to them to decide what, if anything they will do with the training. The manager has more impact on what is actually applied in the workplace than the facilitator or participant. Any of the previously mentioned transfer strategies can be applied, but for optimum results the manager should begin the application before the learning event.

Nine Learning Moments of Truth and the Top Four in Impact

ROLE

Before Training

During Training

After Training

Manager

1 First

4

7 Third

Participant

2 Second

5 Fourth

8

Facilitator

3

6

9

The next time you train or send someone to training, what will you do to manage the first moment of truth, to document a specific intended outcome?

Bill Wilder, M.Ed is the founder and director of the Life Cycle Institute, the learning, leadership and change management practice at Life Cycle Engineering. The Institute integrates the science of learning and the science of change management to help organizations produce results through behavior change. You can reach Bill at [email protected].

© Life Cycle Engineering 

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