Your learning management system (LMS) is a great administrative tool for course registration, student tracking, and end-of-course evaluation. Are you using it to drive and support better transfer of training?
In addition to administrative tasks, an LMS can deliver training content (e-learning and live virtual classes), communicate with students and their supervisors, support collaboration and trainee interaction, and support performance management. This latest trend performance management feature in many LMSs allows development plans in the employee’s performance review to be linked with available classes (internally and externally), and tracked.
How can an LMS drive and support better transfer of training? Here are some suggestions:
- Use the email feature to automatically send a pre-training note to students at a prescribed time prior to training (probably no earlier than one week). The note should summarize what they will learn in the training and how they are expected to use it in their jobs. This note should also remind them to expect to give their full attention to the training with limited access to emails, IMs, and text messaging. This last point is especially important for students who will be taking e-learning or live virtual learning classes.
- Use the email feature to automatically send a pre-training note to students’ supervisors. The note should also summarize in appropriate detail, what the participant will learn and how it can be applied to their job. In addition to reminding the supervisor to plan for adequate coverage during the time the participant is in training, this email should also ask supervisors to plan for skill practice/use as soon as the participant completes the training.
- Add a short video to these emails from the CEO, senior leader, or other influential manager describing the importance of the training and how the skills support the organization’s mission, goals, and objectives. Don’t stop at one – use several video clips to drive this message home. Desktop web cams make these videos easy and affordable. If you’re not sure where to house the video (that is, where the link will go), many organizations are using YouTube for non-confidential employee messages. Non-public links can be set up so these videos aren’t available to other YouTube visitors.
- Use the social media and collaboration tools available in many LMSs to promote or require trainee interaction before and after the class. Studies show that when trainees interact with one another about their learning, they have higher levels of learning and transfer of training. Specifically, set up a discussion board prior to face-to-face, e-learning, or live virtual learning. Pose questions such as “What has been your biggest challenge with______?”, “How do you think having ____ skills will enhance your ability to do your job? To advance in your career?” Use the same sort of discussion board for post-training discussion and include questions such as “What has been your biggest challenge in applying ____?” Consider other social media and collaboration tools such as Yammer and a wiki, where everyone contributes to FAQs and tips/pointers for using the skills.
- Use the LMS survey tool to find out how skills are being used 6 weeks and 3 months post-training. Consider withholding credit for the class until this survey is completed. Share results with participants’ supervisors. Send a separate survey to participants’ supervisors to get their assessment of skill use.
Your organization doesn’t have an LMS? These ideas can be implemented manually with just a bit of oversight from an administrator. Set up class mailing lists in the email application, store email notes and video clips/links for quick insertion and re-use, set up discussion boards through a free service such as Blackboard or a password-protected Facebook group.
Until next time…..
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