Make training stick

Frequently cited estimates claim, that only 10-30% of training transfers into actual use on the job. 


Congratulations if you belong to the minority having experienced successful training transfers. If not, know that it’s doable, and even simple, to dramatically increase training transfer. However, you have to be prepared to invest both time and effort. The 7 steps make it easier for you to succeed.

1. Require results
How many of your training programs have specific measurable goals? Which are your requirements on the trainers? What do you demand from the participants? What results do you want? Do you know? To get results, expect results. Demand results. Make sure goals are specific and measurable. Communicate them.

2. Engage participants
Nobody changes without a reason. Give a meaningful context for the program. Why is it important? Make sure the program enables contribution to business and organization goals. Address real needs linked to work and own life. Demonstrate that the participant matters. Listen and respond, again and again.

3. Build in repetition
Repetition is the mother of learning. Foster it. Let program components form a logical whole. Make sure components work both independently, and together. Build up. Let parts overlap. Feed in relevant information before, during and after the program. Repeat key points in different ways. Give them time to sink in.

4. Keep it hands-on
Research shows that far more people act themselves into new ways of thinking than think themselves into new ways of acting. Build the confidence needed to act. Run exercises to integrate new thinking, behaviour and necessary information. Make sure exercises are linked to work, business and/or individual needs.

5. Make it easy to learn

The trainer makes the difference. Choose trainers that not only master their subject but also are masters on how to make learning easy and fun. They honour different learning styles. Involve participants. Address and meet needs. Keep in mind that in general, no more than half of the material presented should be new.

6. Support training transfer

Use it or lose it. To get new skills into everyday routines, most people need assistance, encouragement and feedback when learning. Build in a coaching element. Be it through a coach, fellow participant(s) or a supervisor. Tell how you will follow up. How do you know the training transfer has been successful?

7. Call on someone to make it easier for you
There are specialists to help you determine specific &measurable goals. Identify needs. Involve participants. Create the concept. Specify requirements. Design exercises. Plan support. Follow up. You name it. Allow yourself to make it easier for you.


Remember Benjamin Franklins words and you’ll know how to make training stick: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn”.