Management: support learning!

I was asked to share my thoughts on the following question from ASTD-OC’s 2012 Total Trainer class.

What suggestions do you have for ensuring that skills learned in training are reinforced after a training event by managers?

Managers need to encourage their employees to apply the skills they’ve just learned.

At my work, team members who attend conferences, especially ones that the company has paid for, are asked to present their key “Ah-hah!” moments during a department meeting for others to learn from. It’s a classic teach back technique, and helps the learner identify what resonated with him/her and convince others of it’s importance.

But this holds more value for those who are currently trainers, not those interested in moving into a training position. Additionally, a teachback by itself limits the learner’s participation with the material.

I would encourage managers to give the learner a little more leeway in the department. Challenge them to find opportunities to design training materials. Give them time to perform needs analyses within their organization. If both manager and employee agree that gaps exist that can be addressed by training, have the learner work with an experienced training in the department to create program outlines or course storyboards.

In other words, manager, you’ve sent your employee to the class. Now, let’s see what they can do?

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