You have just under 11 ½ months before the end of this year, and if experience is any indication, these 11 ½ months will go by fast. In my last Sticky Note, I suggested three new year’s resolutions for trainers and designers. Today I make three more suggestions for you to consider as you begin a new year. Remember, if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. I hear many trainers whine (yes, whine) that management doesn’t support their training, but I often see that these same trainers don’t do what is within their power and reach to make the training stick. Yes, forces outside the direct control of the learning and development department play a role in the transfer of training to the job. But there are many things that trainers, designers, and training managers can do to make it stick. Focus on what is possible, not on what isn’t.
Conduct a “technology audit” of participants and potential participants. What hardware do they have? Software? Specifically, do they have sound cards? I find that often trainers design e-learning or pre-post-work that may call for technology that participants don’t have on their computers. With the increasing use of social media to support training (watch for another Sticky Note on this in the near future), it is important to know what participants have. Don’t be like the training department in a Fortune 500 company that went to great lengths to use social media and related technologies to follow up training…..only to find out later that many participants didn’t have access to the particular technology. The IT department may be the best source of information here.
Review the colors used in the classrooms, e-learning platforms, or specific courses. Yes, the colors. Do the colors on the walls, furniture, and floors support the training? Researchers have known for years that certain colors invoke specific emotional states, and we know that emotional states play a part in learning. For example, red tends to be energizing and supports movement and assertiveness. Blue tends to be calming and supports a reflective state of mind. There is more information about this in my new book, Making Learning Stick. Here is a chart on colors, mental associations, and how to use them to support certain messages.
Start using thank you notes. A client of mine recently said he started sending a brief note to participants and to their bosses immediately after training. “It didn’t take but a few minutes, and I can see that it’s making a difference as far as bosses supporting and reinforcing the training,” he said.
Remember, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten!
Until next time…