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related to the operational environment rather than the competence of the individual performers.1 Te next step is learning

consultancy. Tis starts with the premise, proven by the performance consultancy diagnostics, that there is a learning gap we need to bridge, and that a learning intervention, likely alongside other changes, is needed to solve the presented performance issue. Te learning experts should be

looking at the whole picture to design a learning programme that fulfils the learning needs identified in the performance consultancy process, that aligns with both the strategic and tactical needs of the business, that includes learning transfer activities, and includes sufficient measurement. Te instructional designers can now

get to work with their well-established models like ADDIE2

to design

suitable learning interventions. Te desire to drive learning transfer should permeate all design decisions for every element of the programme. After all, without learning transfer, the initial formal learning efforts are wasted.

The mindset you need

Successful learning transfer flows from a philosophy of focusing on the business benefits of the learning programme rather than the learning outcomes. Te entire learning programme should be treated like a business process where the outputs from each step in the process are defined, and each process step is designed to get those outputs, and the outputs measured where appropriate. If you are developing a learning

programme to improve, for example, report writing skills, when can you say that the programme is finished? Only when the report writing skills of all the delegates are sufficiently improved, and are consistent over time so that the desired business benefits have been achieved, can you truly say that the programme is done. Tis will usually be months for most learning programmes and even years for some. Tese timescales must be built into the overall learning programme design and expectations set for all concerned. For example, if it is decided

that the training course should be a one-day workshop, how much time does the delegate need to spend both

before the workshop on pre-work, and after the workshop on practising and embedding the new behaviours? Tree days over six months? So, call it a four-day development programme running over six months, one day of which happens to be in the classroom. If you ‘market’ it as a one-day

workshop, that is all the time people will release in their minds for the programme, and the lack of follow up activity will mean it has little impact. Successful learning transfer

is as much about managing the environment and expectations surrounding a training course as it is about setting activities for people to do. Te various stakeholders need to know what their commitment will need to be to contribute to the success of the programme. If they resist this commitment, the learning programme is already on shaky ground. Te executive sponsor who is seeking the business benefits needs to step in and mandate the time commitment, or the business benefits will not be realised.

Managing activities ❝

In addition to managing the ‘culture’ and expectations surrounding learning transfer, the delegates need to be set frequent activities that, week by week and month by month after a training course, build their skills and embed the required new behaviours based on

implement their new ideas and skills in the hurly burly of business-as-usual. For most managers, supporting a team member through a development programme is a new experience, especially one where there are many and varied follow-up activities. Te manager needs support too, and like the delegate, needs to be held account- able for their role in learning transfer. Of course, all this takes admin-

istration. Enter the new breed of application that has been called a learning transfer platform or LTP. An LTP will allow you to put a wrapper around your training course to manage the entire learning journey, including all the activities focused on learning transfer. It will have reporting and alerts to hold the various stakeholders accountable, and provide ways of measuring results and change over the course of the programme. An LTP can operate standalone or alongside your LMS to manage learning transfer. From a 70:20:10 perspective, you could say it is managing the 70 and 20 parts of the learning journey which are outside the classroom.

And finally …

The real cause of poor performance is related to the operational environment rather than the competence of the individual performers

the course content. We are seeking habitual new behaviours which need to be developed over a learning journey. Habits only form with consistent prac- tice. If the assigned activities are not done, it is most unlikely that the new behaviours will materialise. Terefore, no discussion on learning transfer can ignore the importance of the delegate’s manager. Without manager support, and someone holding them account- able, most delegates will struggle to

Successful learning transfer depends on a mindset that permeates the entire learning programme from design through delivery to the end game. It depends on a focus on business benefits rather than learning outcomes. It depends on all the stakeholders being aware of, and committing to, their responsibilities to the programme. It depends on those stakeholders being held accountable for their assigned activities. And it depends on sufficient measurement to provide feedback for improvement, and awareness that you have crossed the finish line and the programme has succeeded.

Paul Matthews is the founder of People Alchemy. For more, go to, email paul.matthews@peoplealchemy., or follow @peoplealchemy

References 1 Capability at Work: How to Solve the Performance Puzzle by Paul Matthews (2014)

2 wiki/ADDIE_Model

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