How to get your training to stick
Mike Clark Mike Clark is director and lead trainer and facilitator at Think Right business training company.
Does your training stick? Is it relevant — how do you know? Training can often fall into that dark category of a necessary evil, a compliance requirement, an expense that can be immediately stopped if cashflow gets tight. There are lots of delightful quotes and quips that caution against this. Among my favourite is Peter Drucker’s comment, “if you think training is expensive, try ignorance”. Sadly the reason training often gets underrated is because it is hard to measure and/or ineffective. Donald Kirkpatrick attempted to address this over his lifetime by creating a model to evaluate training. (His son, James, and James’ wife, Wendy Kayser Kirkpatrick, further expanded this work in their 2016 book, Four Levels of Training Evaluation, with an emphasis on the importance of making training relevant to people’s everyday jobs.) The four levels are reaction, learning, behaviour, and results. One of the greatest joys I have when I am training is seeing a lightbulb moment for an individual. A lightbulb moment is that wonderful point when you see the penny drop, when a concept clicks for an individual and they have an epiphany. They can see what has been taught and possibly how to apply it in their own situation. Training needs to be engaging. People need to be fully present, paying attention and actively engaged for their brains to absorb the information. Countless slides and cartoons rightly make a mockery of the “death by Powerpoint” presentations — there is no engagement! If people’s reaction to the training is to switch off or sleep the other three stages will never be reached. How do you ensure the training you have for your team passes this first key hurdle? I have found keeping each key point to a maximum of 20 minutes works best. Starting with a relevant activity, drawing the learning from this, having a follow-up story/illustration/short video clip and then drawing action points as a group is an excellent way to ensure engagement and participation. Training is an investment. Done wisely it gives an incredible return on investment.