Training programs often ignore the science behind how people learn. Within industry, materials are frequently presented with the expectation that the trained worker will retain skills learned during the presentation with no additional follow up. Introducing learning theory principles into a corporate training program can yield a better prepared workforce as well as a cost effective training plan.
In order to create an effective training program within a company, the internal climate of the business must place value on education. A supervisor who values learning creates positive attitudes in employees about internal training programs. That supervisory support includes the creation of space within the workday for follow up exercises.
Trainers must create concrete objectives for each training module. Individuals within the organization who require the training must be accurately identified. Once this process has been completed, metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of the training should be developed.
A standard measure of training effectiveness is a short survey completed at the end of a training session. Immediate problems with the program can be evaluated at this time. However, since skills deteriorate over time through lack of use or insufficient understanding, a long term follow up program should be established to identify loss of skills or a lack of desired development within the targeted skill set.
Teaching employees where to find information is one step in the learning retention process. Creating the requirement that employees must subsequently access that information at regular intervals reinforces that material. Effectively designed online tests featuring questions about each objective will handily illustrate problem areas while providing an opportunity for custom designed training modules.
The supervisor should be keep in the training loop. An ongoing evaluation program provides concrete goals for both the employee and the supervisor. The additional online training modules may be enough, but the supervisor may wish to provide one-on-one training in a specifically identified skill area. If evaluation indicates little or no retention for an individual, the employee may need to redo the entire training program. If multiple employees do poorly in delayed evaluations, the training program itself may need an overhaul.
Programs in the workplace are constantly evolving. Lessons from learning theory can empower employees by creating dynamic ways to learn and grow with the organization. Retention of a well trained and adaptable workforce is essential to the success of a business in this global marketplace.