A 3-step learning transfer model for your managers

2018.10.15 Fenix Bretz
Best Manager-Learner Relationships

There's no question about the value of learning transfer and that one of the most important things to drive learning transfer is to ensure that there is a meaningful dialogue between the learner and manager. The managers need to be involved to make it all come together. The managers need to be part of driving learning transfer by discussing the most relevant points with learners before, during and after the training.

But how exactly do managers know what areas specifically to address? Well, that can be done by simple discussion observations from the manager. It could also be done by having survey results from a pre-test that elicits specific development areas in relation to the learning goals of the course or programme. Kodo Survey, for example, generates tailor-made reports that outline the effectiveness of your training program. Such reports are given to both the learner and the manager, creating an “on-the-same-page” mentality that can be used as a springboard from which to engage in a productive dialogue around the development of the employee and the use of the learning.

#1. Start with discussing the training and its purpose

Before a learning intervention even takes place, there needs to be a frank discussion regarding not just why the training is important, but more specifically, about expectations, what aptitudes and abilities the  program ideally should strengthen, and in turn, how this will help the employee to better perform his/her job.

It comes down to showing the learner that the manager has a stake in his/her personal development. The goals that the learner sets should be goals that are ultimately tied to the goals of training and thus help bolster not only individual job performance, but overall company performance. The more focused a dialogue employees and managers have in the very beginning, the more learning will take place and be transferred to the job over the long haul.  
 

1-2-1 development dialogue


#2. Follow-up straight after the training

Once the training is complete the real work happens and perhaps the most important discussions occur. What did the learner get out of the training that can help him/her live up to the expectations and personal learning goals they established before the course began? Again, with measurable insights provided, managers are able to see in what areas training goals were met, and when not achieved, what could potentially be done in an effort to coach the learner toward greater competence.

Inquiring about what was learned and how that learning applies to the job is a start. Giving the learner then time to come up with solutions and asking him/her about how to best connect a skill with a work task is a great way to spur creative thinking, problem solving skills and self-evaluative techniques. Beyond that, it is all about the feedback. The manager can actually ask the learner how he/she would like to receive feedback in order to ensure they are able to embrace as much of the learning as possible.

#3. Support learning on the long-run

The most important driver to learning transfer is the opportunity for real-world application of the knowledge and skills acquired. The employee needs to be able to test their learning as it actually pertains to the job at hand. Here, coaching and the corresponding dialogue that takes place are critical. Managers have to cultivate certain behaviours over time as they steer learners toward the desired objectives. They need to always be asking questions, motivating and directing.

For some inspiration about how to work with more than "just" your managers, to drive learning transfer, take a look at these articles: 

Learning transfer strategies from the best businesses
Learning transfer system inventory: The three top factors

With Kodo Survey’s reports, the manager and learner are supplied with a view of where the learner’s strengths are and which areas consequently need their attention. These insights enable both parties to focus on the specifics of training goals and then follow up accordingly.

By engaging in conversation you put the needs and aptitudes of the learner first. Our reports generate the kinds of significant discussions needed to enhance your program, help you maximize learning transfer, and ultimately, improve your business performance. In the end, the health and well-being of your organisation really does begin with more meaningful dialogue. 

Want to know more?

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Now that we have used Kodo for a while, we see how easy it is to follow the learning impact and transfer of learning to the workplace. The insights we receive help us to continuously improve courses and programmes.

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Kristoffer Laag
HR Strategist