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    6 Strategies to Promote Transfer of Learning In the Workplace

    We are in the midst of a skills revolution. Rapid changes demand that learning not only be quick but deeply relevant. With the challenge of "information overload," where too much data can overwhelm learners, it becomes essential to focus and streamline training efforts.

    A striking statistic highlights the urgency: without a robust strategy for reinforcing skills post-training, 90% of the content taught could be forgotten. This underscores the need for training that sticks and transforms knowledge into practical skills.

    Effective eLearning programs must do more than just convey information; they need to ensure that this information is translated into actions that employees can integrate into their daily routines. This is the essence of learning transfer.

    While eLearning courses are informative and engaging, their true value hinges on their practical application in the workplace. Without this, even the best-designed courses can become a wasted effort and investment.

    To prevent this, a targeted, actionable strategy is necessary—not only to facilitate learning but to ensure it results in measurable workplace improvements. Ready to explore how we can achieve this?

    Let’s get started.

    1) Start with Clear Goals

    Being clear about the purpose and objectives of an eLearning course is crucial for promoting the transfer of learning. This clarity helps learners understand the relevance of the course to their jobs and motivates them to apply the new knowledge and skills in their work environment. When learners see the direct connection between what they are learning and how it can improve their job performance or solve specific problems they face, they are more likely to engage deeply with the content and carry those lessons into their daily tasks.

    Here are specific tips on how to communicate and maintain this clarity both before and during the eLearning course:


    1. Set Clear Objectives:

      Before the course begins, identify and communicate clear, specific learning objectives. Let learners know exactly what they will be able to do differently or better as a result of the training.

    2. Explain the Benefits:

      Communicate the benefits of the course through introductory emails or a kickoff meeting. Highlight how the course will help them solve problems or perform tasks more efficiently.

    3. Provide Context:

      Use pre-course materials or a preliminary session to explain how the course content aligns with their roles. This could include examples of real scenarios where the course content would be applicable.

    4. Learner Survey:

      Conduct a survey to find out what learners hope to achieve or learn, and adjust the course content accordingly to meet these expectations.

    During the Course

    1. Reiterate Objectives and Relevance:

      At the start of each module, remind learners of the objectives and explain how the upcoming content relates to their jobs. This keeps the purpose fresh in their minds.

    2. Encourage Reflection:

      Prompt learners to think about how they can apply what they're learning in their roles. This can be facilitated through discussion boards, journals, or reflection prompts within the course.

    2) Create Checklists and Cheat-sheets

    Creating checklists, cheat sheets, and other job aids is a highly effective way to promote the transfer of learning into the workplace. These tools serve as quick references that employees can use to recall and apply what they've learned, especially when implementing new procedures or adapting to changes in existing processes.

    Here’s how you can make these tools more actionable and supportive in promoting learning transfer:

    How to Create Effective Job Aids

    1. Identify Key Takeaways:

      For each module or section of your eLearning course, identify the critical takeaways or steps that learners need to remember. These should be concise and directly related to their daily tasks.

    2. Develop Checklists and Cheat Sheets:

      Create simple, easy-to-follow checklists or cheat sheets that outline the steps for specific tasks or procedures covered in the course. Make sure these aids are clear and use straightforward language.

    3. Incorporate Visual Aids:

      Enhance these documents with visual aids like diagrams, flowcharts, or quick reference tables. Visuals can help learners quickly understand and remember complex information.

    4. Make Materials Easily Accessible:

      Upload these aids to a centralized knowledge base where employees can easily access them. Ensure that this knowledge base is organized and searchable, so employees can quickly find what they need.

    5. Optimize for Mobile Access:

      Ensure that all job aids are mobile-friendly, allowing employees to access them from anywhere, whether they’re at their desk or on the move. This accessibility reduces the cognitive load and helps in reinforcing learning when and where it is needed.

    6. Update Regularly:

      Keep these materials updated with the latest procedures and insights. Regular updates ensure that the aids remain relevant and useful, reflecting any changes in processes or technologies.

    Also read: On-the-Job Training: Why and How to Support Modern Learners On The Job


    3) Provide Ongoing Support from Supervisors

    To effectively promote the transfer of learning in the workplace, engaging supervisors and managers is essential. Their active involvement can create a supportive environment that not only reinforces the training content but also encourages continuous application of new skills.

    When supervisors are well-prepared to discuss the relevance of the training, provide targeted feedback, and regularly check in on progress, they help bridge the gap between learning and doing.

    This approach ensures that employees not only understand the material but are also motivated to integrate these new skills into their daily tasks. Such reinforcement from leaders fosters a culture of continuous learning and improvement, making the training more impactful and relevant to the organization’s goals.

    Actionable Steps for Engaging Supervisors

    1. Training for Supervisors:

      Equip supervisors with a special training session that explains the importance of the employee training, its relevance to organizational goals, and how they can effectively support their teams post-training.

    2. Clarify the Role of Supervisors:

      Ensure supervisors understand their role as coaches who facilitate the application of new skills, equipped to handle questions, review key concepts, and provide constructive feedback.

    3. Develop a Support Toolkit:

      Provide supervisors with a toolkit containing key training points, talking points, and strategies for encouraging the application of new skills, serving as a quick reference to aid in reinforcing learning.

    4. Set Regular Check-Ins:

      Establish a routine for supervisors to meet with their team members to discuss the application of new skills, whether through informal discussions or during formal performance reviews.


    4) Establish Group Support

    Establishing group support systems at the end of eLearning courses can significantly enhance the transfer of learning to the job. By grouping trainees to meet regularly—whether online or in-person—they can collaborate to tackle real-world problems using their new skills, assess their progress, and engage in practice activities. This collaborative environment not only reinforces the learning but also builds a supportive community.

    Trainees gain confidence as they realize they are not alone in facing challenges; they can lean on their peers for insights and assistance. This sense of unity and accessible peer support encourages continuous engagement with the training material, facilitating smoother and more effective integration of new skills into daily work practices.

    Actionable Steps for Establishing Group Support

    1. Schedule Regular Meetings:

      Set up a regular schedule for these groups to meet. This could be weekly or biweekly, depending on the complexity of the skills learned and the needs of the trainees. Ensure these meetings are structured with clear objectives, such as problem-solving sessions, skill assessments, or practice quizzes.

    2. Assign Training Partners:

      Pair trainees with a training partner. Partners can check in with each other between the larger group meetings, offering a more personalized level of support and accountability.

    3. Provide Digital Platforms for Collaboration:

      Utilize digital tools and platforms where these groups can collaborate, share resources, and keep track of their meetings and progress. Tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or even simple forums can be effective.

    4. Monitor and Facilitate Discussions:

      Although peer-led, it’s helpful to have a facilitator or a more experienced mentor occasionally join these meetings to guide discussions, offer expert advice, and keep the group focused on their goals.

    5. Review and Adjust Expectations:

      Regularly review the effectiveness of these support groups and be open to making adjustments. This might involve reshuffling groups, changing meeting frequencies, or altering the focus of discussions to better meet the needs of the participants.

    Recommended read: How Your Workplace Can Support Learning Transfer


    5) Program Refresher Sessions

    Implementing MicroLearning refresher sessions is a strategic and highly effective method to counteract the forgetting curve, ensuring that learners not only retain but actively apply their new skills well beyond the completion of the main course. These sessions, designed as concise and targeted reviews, are specifically tailored to revisit and reinforce the most critical concepts and skills acquired during training.

    By focusing on the essential elements of the course material, these brief refresher modules help solidify the learning and maintain its relevance in the learners' day-to-day activities. They serve to continually remind learners of the key points, thereby keeping the information fresh and at the forefront of their minds. This ongoing reinforcement is crucial for long-term retention and practical application of the skills, transforming periodic refreshers into a vital component of the learning journey.

    Actionable Steps for Implementing Program Refresher Sessions

    1. Schedule Regular Refresher Courses:

      Organize MicroLearning sessions to take place 30, 60, and 90 days post-course. These should be concise, lasting only 15-20 minutes, and focus on the most crucial concepts and skills.

    2. Design Engaging Content:

      Develop engaging refresher materials that include interactive elements like quizzes, brief videos, and quick assessments to keep the learning process dynamic and engaging.

    3. Facilitate Q&A Sessions:

      Integrate Q&A segments in these sessions to allow learners to clarify doubts and ask questions directly related to their workplace challenges.

    5. Utilize Digital Platforms:

      Deliver these refresher courses through digital platforms that support either live interaction or asynchronous learning, making it easier for learners to participate regardless of their location.

    6. Monitor and Adapt Content:

      Continuously assess the impact of the refresher courses and adapt the content based on feedback and changing needs of the learners to ensure ongoing relevance and effectiveness.

    The effectiveness of your eLearning course will skyrocket if you arrange frequent opportunities for learners to put into practice what they’ve discovered. 

    Also read: How to Design Microlearning Around Moments of Need

    6) Reinforce the Importance of Continuous Practice

    For the best transfer of learning, it's essential to keep practicing—think of it like muscle memory for your brain! Training shouldn't just end with a "goodbye" at the last session; true success is seeing everyone actually using what they've learned back on the job.

    Frequent practice doesn't just help people remember stuff; it makes them more skilled at using it in real life. 

    Easy and Fun Ways to Keep the Learning Alive

    1. Practice Makes Perfect:

      After each lesson, throw in a quick, hands-on exercise. This could be something like a mini-quiz on a mobile app or a virtual reality simulation where employees practice a safety procedure. It’s like making them play a small level of a game after each episode of their favorite series.

    2. Keep the Meetings Coming:

      Set up regular coffee chats or virtual meet-ups where learners can share how they’re using their new skills. Think of it like a book club, but for workplace skills. Maybe someone figured out a faster way to process invoices or another nailed a customer service script.

    3. Always Open Library:

      Keep all the learning materials accessible online, all the time. It’s like having a personal trainer available 24/7, just without the gym shorts. This way, if someone forgets how to do something, they can easily look it up.

    4. Challenge Each Other:

      Encourage team members to challenge each other with tasks related to what they’ve learned. It could be as fun as a 'mystery challenge' where they apply a skill to solve a problem, and the first one to crack it gets a coffee voucher.

    5. Celebrate Wins:

      Celebrate when someone applies their new knowledge successfully. It could be a shout-out in a team meeting or a fun award like 'The Innovator' for creative problem-solving. Everyone loves a little recognition, and it keeps the momentum going.


    You Might Also Want to Read: Before, During, and After Training: Improving Knowledge Transfer in Your Organization in 3 Stages

    How are you making sure that what’s taught in your eLearning courses really sticks? What’s been your biggest challenge in keeping all that knowledge from just slipping away? Share your experiences and strategies in the comments below—we’d love to hear how you’re turning learning into lasting skills!

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