Online training can help develop talent, but it can also waste time and resources, even if the content and presentation are good. The difference between effective and ineffective training often comes down to whether employees can absorb and retain the information they receive.
There are a lot of obstacles to the absorption and retention of training. For example, busy employees may listen to a webinar while they work on other things, catching only tidbits here and there. Or they may put a training video off until they’ve finished a project and are too exhausted to give it due attention.
To avoid these training pitfalls, consider these three tips:
- Follow the AGES Model. The NeuroLeadership Institute argues that we learn quickly and retain information best when we focus on one topic (attention), actively connect what we learn to what we already know (generation), experience positive feelings while learning (emotion), and space our intake of information (spacing). So, for example, cramming training on multiple topics into a tight two-day workshop would be much less effective than spreading that training over a few weeks.
- Give employees time to reflect and practice the skills they’ve learned. In some professions, like music and athletics, you spend most of your work time learning, building, and reinforcing skills before the big performance, whether it’s a concert, game, or race. Good performance necessitates constant practice. But in most professions, the practice seems like a luxury you can’t afford because you’re expected to perform during work. This is one reason training fails to deliver results. To master new skills, employees need time to focus on building those skills. That means some work time needs to be set aside post-training to reflect on and practice what they’ve learned.
- Align training with the present needs and future goals of both the company and the employee. When assessing employee training goals, consider what additional knowledge and skills would enable them to do their jobs better now and set them up for success in their future careers. Employees are more likely to be excited and personally invested in their training if they understand their return on that investment. It won’t be valuable to them if they don’t recognize its value.
Dr. Patrick K. Collard is the Managing Member & Evidence-based HR Consultant for trustHR | GObackgrounds (San Diego, CA and Brookfield, WI). He has over 30 years of experience as a human resources consultant. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society and a Master of Human Resources and Employment Relations with a concentration in Employment and Labor Law from Penn State University. Dr. Collard earned his doctorate from the University of Maryland Global Campus. He defended his dissertation – Recruiting the Untapped Talent Pool of Hiring an Employee with a Criminal Record: A Systematic Review. Schedule a Discovery Call with Dr. Collard at – https://calendly.com/patrickcollard/discovery-call