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Beyond the frequency of a post training event follow up, what are tips to make learning stick?

(Question posted by participants in recent webinars)

If you are mapping the skills in your competency model across the 70-20-10 spectrum, and you conduct a formal learning event in the “10”, then at the end of that activity, you can recommend items in the “70” to help them practice on the job. 

If their manager was involved in assessing them against the competency model, and the learner elected to participate in this event because of a skill gap, then the manager has details – the behaviors of the mapped skill – to discuss and help ensure the learning is being applied.  Manager involvement is a key contributor to learning transfer.  The manager can also identify a task-based mentor to work with (“20”) – perhaps to review the activities.

Remember also that the motivation is significantly different if this method is followed.  If I identify my own skill gap, and I participate in a formal learning activity to close that gap, I will be far more likely to try to apply it because I said I needed it.

Here’s an example.  I do my self-assessment and find that I have a skill gap in Negotiating Skills.  I talk to my manager and we agree I should take a 2 day class on it.  I’m engaged and look forward to practicing what I learned.  At the class end, we were provided with activities using templates that I can use on the job.  One of them is a negotiation planner and the activity is to use it to prepare for my next contract negotiation, then review it with a peer mentor.  I fill out the planner with the details.  Then my manager finds a task-based mentor, a high performer in my role, who reviews and challenges me on how I completed it and makes suggestions.  I update the planner.  Then I share it with my manager and we role-play how I’ll use it.  Can you see how that works to make learning “stick” more effectively?

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