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Supporting Learning After Training

The training is over. The material has been covered, participants demonstrated their understanding of the material, and they even had some practice applying the material to their work. What happens next? This is a critical point in the learning process. Do participants actually go back to the job and use what they learned? If behavior change was the point of the training, did their behavior change as was intended?

Continued learning

After the training is when the participants do the hard work of actually using and deepening their understanding of what they learned. The learning doesn't stop when they leave the classroom. At the critical point when learners leave the classroom and are back to doing their jobs, trainers can do several things to help support their continued learning and application of knowledge.

The first thing a trainer needs to do is make sure that both the participants' supervisors and the quality auditors are up to date on what the training was about. They may have attended the training, but even so, providing them with a list of things to watch out for and to reinforce helps make it more likely that they will strengthen the points from the class. Make the list succinct while providing clear guidelines and examples. Strike a friendly tone rather than a commanding tone with them so that this is a partnership - a collaboration - for improved performance.

A job aid, if appropriate, is another good way to reinforce the learning after training is over, and supervisors and quality auditors should receive any job aids even if they didn't attend the training. Take a turn through the floor and ask people (during down moments, of course) who have the job aid displayed whether it is helping or not. Look for feedback from participants as a way of reinforcing their use of the job aid.


Some other ways to support learning after training include: 

  • Provide the supervisor with several short activities or a list of good questions to support the learning that can be used in team huddle meetings. Remember these need to be short activities without much preparation so that the supervisor can easily blend it in with their agenda for these very quick meetings. 
  • Ask the supervisor if you can spend a few hours doing side-by-sides with training participants so you can see how they are doing with the new learning. This enables the trainer to reinforce the learning but also note things that need to be changed in training or point out coaching opportunities with individuals. 
  • Send out an additional resource a few days after the training - an additional tool, some tips, a related article, or anything that reminds participants of what they learned. 
  • Email lessons, reminders, and follow-ups. Don't overdo it with emails, but a series of 2-3 emails over a couple of weeks should help trigger and reinforce the new learning. Be sure to include the supervisors and quality auditors in these emails, so they know what is going on. 
  • Ask for, and publicize, participant success stories, tips for success, and other user-generated content. If you have an internal social media platform, this is a great place to build a page on the training subject matter and encourage participants to ask and answer questions and share tips and hints. People sometimes pay more attention to what their peers say than to what a trainer or supervisor says, so capitalize on that tendency by encouraging peer interactions.
  • If time allows, ask to do a focus group with some of the training participants to find out how they are using the learning and how to improve the training. This not only gives you valuable information to enhance your training, but it also serves as a reminder of the content for the participants. 

The most important thing a trainer can do before, during, and after training is to involve supervisors and quality auditors so that all of you are working together to reinforce the right behavior and to encourage high performance. Training, quality, and supervisors should all be working towards this goal. As trainers, be part of the team and make it easy for others to reinforce what you worked hard to present in training. And help participants hurdle the difficult task of applying learning back on the job. 

Trainers: looking to develop your skills or refresh your abilities? Learn more about ICMI's Trainer Development Workshop