Kantor column: Plan to make training pay off

The time invested in getting the most out of training will help to increase your learning, its application and retention so that the initial investment in the learning activity will be paid back time and time again.

As important as training is today, too often it is treated as a fringe benefit, reward, or social occasion with little if any plan or expectation on the part of those involved or their managers to maximize the investment. With a little forethought, the effectiveness, retention, and practical application of any training — presentation, classroom lecture, experiential learning situation, one on one coaching or even an internship — can be greatly enhanced.

Training will make a bigger difference in your organization if you follow these general guidelines:

Set learning goals prior to training

Before any learning experience, you should set goals for the training of what you hope to learn, with yourself and with your manager. Just as we read faster and with better comprehension when we read with questions in mind, learning goals help us focus our attention and retention of concepts discussed in training.

For example, after having read the description of a training session, make a list of specific questions you would like to have answered while you are in the training. Ask how the session applies to current job responsibilities that you have or future responsibilities that you anticipate. Then talk about your expectations with your manager and others in your immediate work group. Their comments might prompt you to form additional questions or learning goals for the training.

Use real-life applications in the training

Once you are in the training, consistently try to apply what is being discussed back to your job and work group. For example, if the course is about communication skills, think how you can apply what you are learning with your employees, manager and colleagues.

The more you can view training as a chance to pause and examine problems and situations in your work setting, the more apt you are to get lasting value from the program. Even if the training doesn't call for it, make an action plan for implementing insights you gained in the program back on your job.

Follow up on learning objectives back on the job

As soon as you are back on the job, get out your original learning goals and see how many you achieved. Share what you have learned with others: your manager, your peers, and/or your employees. Having to explain things you learned will help you to integrate those concepts into your own behavior.

Identify at least one change to make right away to keep from slipping back unchecked into the status quo and to gain momentum for making other changes. Share your action plan for doing things differently as a result of the seminar with others in your work group and seek support for the changes you plan to make.

These three guidelines are not difficult to apply, in fact, you can have fun doing so. The time invested in getting the most out of training will help to increase your learning, its application and retention so that the initial investment in the learning activity will be paid back time and time again.

Jan Kantor is a Southwest Florida business consultant and executive coach. For more information, or to contact him regarding workplace solutions, his website is www.jankantor.com.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Stories

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features