Make YOUR Learning Stick

There are lots of strategies that organizations can use to increase the transfer of learning to the job. But like so many other things, transferring learning is best accomplished when you “become a product of the product”, when you “practice what you preach”, so that you use strategies and techniques to increase the transfer of your own learning to your own work.

When was the last time you took a class, elearning course, or webinar? Took a certification course? What did you learn from it? How are you applying what you learned? Or, did your learning fall by the wayside and get lost in the daily stream of deliverables, preparations, goals, and daily to-dos?

I may be “preaching to the choir”, but here are some of the benefits of continuing your learning and professional development:

* Credibility in the eyes of peers, your manager, and participants * Continuous improvement of your skills and techniques * Update information you need to know to do your job * Increase efficiency and effectiveness of what you do * Preparation for additional job responsibilities or even a new career * Empathy for learners (it’s different on the “other side of the fence!”)

Here are a few suggestions for you – or any individual learner – to increase the stickyness of what you learn, so that you and your organization will experience the benefits from it:

  1. Before the next webinar, elearning, or face to face class you take, communicate with your manager about the specific benefits and learnings, and these might be applied to your work. (As a result, you may decide that this learning event isn’t the best use of your time and you might opt out.)

  2. Solicit input and feedback from others who have taken the class to compare your expectations with their results. Modify your expectations or your decision to participate in the learning as appropriate.

  3. During the learning, discipline yourself – and your coworkers if necessary – to focus on the learning. Put away the PDA/phone, turn off the email message and IM notification, put away the laptop unless you’re using it for the learning event, let the desk phone go into voicemail, and avoid the temptation to navigate away from the learning event (“just for a minute”), or to daydream. Research has shown over and over that it is not possible for the mind to “multitask”. Whether or not you realize or admit this, you will miss information in the training. If you find the training is not valuable, leave and focus your full attention on a better use of your time.

  4. Immediately after the end of the learning event, spend a few moments reflecting on key learning points and how you will apply them. (I often do this sitting in my car, in a parking lot.) Take notes to help you remember. Also reflect on what might keep you from doing what you said you will do, and how you can overcome these obstacles.

  5. Make tickler reminders to yourself for 1 week, 3 weeks, and 6 weeks after training: “Am I _________(doing what I said I would do, to apply this learning)?”

Check out a few more suggestions on how to make training stick as well as information on my two books, Making Training Stick and The Making Training Stick Field Guide on my website:

Until next time…

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