How Sticky is Your Training? Part 1

I love the adjective ‘Sticky’ when it comes to training. Sticky learning simply means learning that is retained after the training event and is therefore available for subsequent use.

When your team completes a training experience, how do you ensure it’s sticky? How do they use, apply and adopt what they just learned?

Often, people think of training as a “one and done” event, not a process. Numerous people are sent to training and they return inspired! But they haven’t practiced or developed skills to increase their proficiency and competence. And their managers don’t have the time, accountability or coaching skills to support the new behaviors.

To increase the stickiness of what your team is learning, look for training that takes a change management approach with these key elements.

  • Content has to be relevant. Be thoughtful in the design and development of content. It has to relate to their business and job or they will tune you out in the first 30 seconds.
  • Present content over time. A solid approach here is: Pre-Work, Workshop, and Reinforcement. What this might look like:
    • Pre-work: Watch a video covering key concepts and new terminology.
    • Workshop: Build on the pre-work foundational knowledge in the workshop. This is usually the “training event” piece (e.g. instructor-led training, seminar).
    • Reinforcement: Additional tools and coaching to supplement the new information learned.
  • Present content in multiple ways (e.g. e-learning, instructor-led, self-paced, infographics, experiential, etc.). This is called blended learning. Each person learns differently so give them a variety to digest.
  • Allow learners to unpack when they get back. Meet with your employees after the training event. Discuss a plan for incorporating what they’ve learned into their daily activities. Provide a place to answer questions, review concepts and troubleshoot any problems.

To increase the stickiness of learning, you have to engage your management team. You simply can’t do it without them. We will dive deeper into that topic in How Sticky is your Training? Part 2.

Kathy Wachtel