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Transfer of learning: a need to do, not a nice to do

The results of training depend on how well learning is transferred back to work.  It’s not a nice to do, but a need to do for clients to see returns on their investment.

All our behavioural programmes are built around Kolb’s learning cycle. Experience tells us that an experiential approach with a strong emphasis on ‘So what?’ ensures that delegates translate learning and insight in to their day-to-day worlds.

But this isn’t enough in itself. Learning on programmes must be hard-wired in to business realities and steps must be taken to encourage learning to be applied and embedded. Engaging line-managers/mentors and equipping them with the skills to coach and support people to achieve their objectives is essential.

Peer coaching and support is also valuable as a more informal and self-managed method. Relationships and precedents can be set on programmes that continue long in to the future. This can also include Action Learning Sets - which, although vary from company to company in terms of their

Providing transfer of learning activities is also important. For behavioural training, these can take many forms. It’s important to provide a variety of options to cater for different learning styles, from simple paper-based exercises, project work, to online methods (of which they are many) to formal/informal coaching.

Although the options and learning are ultimately individual, the parameters must however link back to programme objectives which in turn are ideally hard-wired in to defined behavioural competencies stemming from strategic goals and organisational vision.

So for us, although our primary focus is on the 10 (from the all important 70:20:10 principle), our approach is to start with the 70 and work back through the 20 to establish how and what our 10 needs to deliver.

Transfer of learning for us is about linking learning seamlessly between work realities, colleagues and support, and the training itself.