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Training Impact from Employee Behaviors

Submitted by  on June 2nd, 2011

Hand placing lego blockHow can we help trainers develop more useful training programs? By more useful, I mean programs that have a real impact on the success of an organization and not just make the participants feel warm and fuzzy at the end of the program.

I think program evaluation plays a key role here. In my own practice, I have always guided trainers to design the evaluation strategy before writing the content. Thinking about how you will evaluate upfront focuses the trainer’s mind on outcomes as they develop the session content and activities.

How do I do this? A part of this is getting the trainer to focus on wanted post-training behaviors. I basically teach a four step process for getting to the program’s stated learning outcomes and program design:

  • Step 1: Identify Organizational Unit Objectives
  • Step 2: Determine On-the-Job Behaviors
  • Step 3: Write Learning Objectives
  • Step 4: Determine Content, Delivery Mode and Schedule

I say more here on writing learning objectives and my four step process. I have found that the single biggest impact on both novice and “experienced” trainers alike is getting them to focus on learner behaviors (Step 2). I keep getting the trainer to ask -and answer- “What is it that you want the participants to do after the training?” I see all too many trainers get hopelessly stuck on what they want the participants to “know”.

Focusing on behaviors first and foremost is a real shock to many, but it serves a few purposes. It gets the trainer to focus on:

  • organizational outcomes (to what use will the trainee put the training?)
  • real skill acquisition (instead of simply doing a “brain dump”)
  • including meaningful and useful practice sessions during and after the training (instead of the usual five minute token exercise)
  • conducting meaningful skill tests at the end (to see if participants really did learn the new way of doing things).

Lastly, and most importantly, it primes the trainer to start thinking about the support mechanisms that need to be put in place before and after the training to help translate the learning into real and lasting behavior change on the job. Training transfer is a particular concern of mine, so much so that I wrote a book on it. Getting managers and trainers to really focus on wanted participant behaviors at the analysis and design stage sets the scene for getting good behavioral outcomes at the end of the training.

Writing Learning Outcomes e-book

If you need to develop training programs with more impact, then check out Leslie Allan’s step-by-step guide on writing learning objectives. Writing Learning Outcomes helps you focus on real organizational objectives and the needed post-training participant behaviors in your training design. As you complete each step in the guide, you will write the results for your particular training project in the workbook provided. When you have finished working through the workbook, you will have a complete set of documented learning objectives for your project that are guaranteed to deliver results. Find out more about Writing Learning Outcomes and download the free introductory chapter today.

Posted in Training | Comments (2)

2 Responses to “Training Impact from Employee Behaviors”

  1. Karen Carleton Says:

    Hi Les
    Fantastic resource for IDs and consultants alike.


  2. Leslie Allan Says:

    Thanks Karen. I see this as perhaps the most significant issue for trainers – How to stop the waste of training resources and make training really contribute to the triple bottom line.

    Regards, Les Allan

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