After a training session, are your learners left to sink or swim? (Here’s a free form to help with post-training support)

Sink-or-Swim

I spent this past weekend at my daughter’s swim meet in Wenatchee, WA (which is the Apple Capital of the World!).

It was one of the first meets I’ve been able to attend. After her first race, I saw her grab her towel and walk toward where I was sitting in the bleachers. I wasn’t sure she knew exactly where I was sitting, so I stood up and made my way toward the pool deck. Then she stopped. It dawned on me she wasn’t walking to meet me.

What she did is what every person who attends a training program or professional development session should be doing.  

I realized that after each race, every swimmer on the team walked up to their coach in order to debrief the race.

sink-or-swim2.jpg

The coach would share observations on the swimmer’s kick or stroke or breathing cadence.

Recently I was in a meeting in which a prospective client asked: how do we speed up the learning? My response: it takes supervisor support before and after the training program in order to speed up the learning. Otherwise the learners are left to sink or swim.

Just like the swimmers on my daughter’s team, our learners need immediate feedback and support after they’ve tried to apply their new skills or knowledge in a real-world setting.

Unlike the swim team set-up, it’s not always possible for the people who train our learners (you and me) to also observe them in a real-world setting and provide immediate feedback. To make up for this, we can design checklists and other tools to help supervisors provide that support following our sessions.

Several weeks ago I shared this checklist in a blog post:

Transfer - Self-review

Transfer - Peer-Review

What other ways have you found to engage supervisors following a presentation or training session? I’d love to read about other ideas in the comment section!

4 thoughts on “After a training session, are your learners left to sink or swim? (Here’s a free form to help with post-training support)

  1. Brian: Thank you for these checklists and for your reflections on training follow-up. I would caution that the checklists need to be more learner centered, not facilitator centered in order to assure better “stick rate” from learners. I’d also like to add that unless this follow-up is baked into the initial development and design of the training, it will be less likely to be accomplished.

    • Hi Paul. Thanks! Yes, you’re absolutely right. Any checklist should be learner centered… the example I posted was given to people after a presentation skills session (so, in context it’s learner-centered… but I probably should have been more clear as I was describing it… this is more of an example of how they could look and designers would need to customize the checklist based upon the content).

      I appreciate the comments, and you’re spot on – the initial design needs to have follow-up in mind (it shouldn’t be something to simply throw in at the end).

  2. Communities (such as yammer) can be a great way for supervisors, cohorts, peers, etc to carry on the post-training feedback and engage thinking in an on-the -job context. Making connections of what was learned in a really meaningful way.

    • Absolutely… technology can be such a great tool to leverage – solutions can be free or they can be pricey – but leveraging online communities and tools is something that can’t be ignored.

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