It’s AFTER training, when the real learning happens

thoughts-551263_640Training events – whether face-to-face or online are primarily focused on knowledge transfer or skill development. Learning is usually measured in terms of the % of people who have completed the training or passed the tests.

But the real learning takes place AFTER the training has ended, when the individual is back on the job applying what he or she has studied – and learning from that experience on a continual basis. Learning both from everyday personal working experiences well as interactions with their internal colleagues and/or external customers or clients. That’s how they learn most about how to do their jobs –  by actually doing their jobs.

This type of continuous learning is generally unrewarded in the organisation, normally because its importance is unrecognized, or because it can’t be managed and measured in traditional training ways. But it is undoubtedly the most significant type of learning that takes place, and nowadays it is becoming an organisational imperative to help individuals not only understand the value of learning from their work but sharing their experiences and findings with others, to help their team thrive and grow.

Enabling and supporting this type of learning is not the sole responsibility of the Training department, but of managers too. Workplace learning professionals can play a part – but it means throwing off traditional approaches and mindsets about designing, delivering and managing training and adopting new ways of working with managers to support the real learning that takes place in their teams – by helping them to help their team “extract the learning” from their work, to share it in their social collaboration (ie work-based NOT learning) platforms and measure its success in terms of job and team performance improvement.

Want to find out more? In my upcoming online workshop, How to become a Personal Learning Advisor we will look at how to work with managers to support this type of continuous learning in the workplace, as well as how to help individuals take ownership of their own personal and professional learning in other ways too.

8 thoughts on “It’s AFTER training, when the real learning happens

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  3. Mark Allen

    This exactly mirrors my own experience in the education sector, Jane. I’ve done countless whole-staff training sessions that were really well-received, and yet often feel that I could go back a month later and show exactly the same stuff and get exactly the same reaction. It doesn’t stick, and so for some time now I’ve concluded that my role is to inspire people to want to take ownership of their own learning, and then provide them with micro-learning resources so they can do it in little chunks whenever and wherever the mood takes them. It’s working far better as a strategy…

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  5. John Laskaris

    I would say it’s learning through experience. And employees gain their experiences everyday while working, especially in new situations. There’s always an opportunity to learn something new. And I agree – for different reasons this kind of learning isn’t rewarded.

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