Author Archive

Making Training Stick by Getting Closer to the Trainee

March 13, 2019

When designing training, a learner-centered approach is recommended to improve the learning experience.  Along with a learner-centered approach, it is essential to know the characteristics of each trainee: cognitive ability, self-efficacy, motivation, emotional state, openness, extroversion, perceived usefulness, career goals and commitment to the organization (Training Transfer Process Model© in Making Learning Stick, 2010, pg. 8). Prior to developing training and during the design phase, facilitators should seek answers questions regarding each participant:

·     What is the trainee’s intellectual ability?

·     What are the trainee’s inner beliefs regarding his/her abilities?

·     What is the trainee’s inner motivation regarding the training?

·     Does the trainee have a positive attitude toward the upcoming training?

·     Is the trainee open to this new learning experience?

·     Is the trainee able to verbalize his/her thoughts and feelings?

·     Does the trainee perceive he/she needs to improve performance in this area on the job?

·     Will these skills be useful to the trainee on the job or at home?

·     Can the skills be immediately applied on the job or at home?

·     Does trainee have a personal career plan? Is the personal career plan updated regularly?

·     Does trainee identify with department or work unit?

·     Is there a relationship between identification with company units and the trainee’s desire to gain (and use) new knowledge?

It is imperative to gather as much information as possible regarding each individual trainee to create a more engaging learning experience, prior to the designing the training; this sometimes leads to higher levels of training transfer. So, what can facilitators do to get close with trainees or simply learn more about their individual characteristics prior to training?

1.   Form a partnership with the manger and the organization’s human resources department to help uncover certain organization culture and learner characteristics.

2.   Have participants write down what they expect to get out of the training.

3.   Boss Pre-Briefing (a meeting involving the trainer, trainee’s manager, and human resources representative)

4.   Conduct a person analysis to examine learner characteristics and competencies via interview, survey or another data collection tool.

5.   Use a technique to uncover the cognitive processes involved in performing a job or task such as Cognitive Task Analysis.

6.   Strategy Link: Connect the organization strategy to the specific training

7.   Create Training Buddies/Peer Learning and Support

8.   Include personalization and engagement in the training design.

9.   Uncover strategic requirements that support or inhibit learning.

10.Uncover environmental factors that support or inhibit learning.

Facilitators must be intentional on the specific data needed for each learning experience.   The tips provided can lead to better decisions regarding the content, delivery, and adaptability of the training to various learners.  More information on these and other evidence-based elements for effective learning and transfer are in Barbara Carnes’ book Making Learning Stick on Amazon.

Until next time…

Tammy Means & Barbara Carnes


Making Training Stick in 2019:  Tips for Facilitators to Start the New Year

January 22, 2019

For the past decade Dr. Barbara Carnes and the Make Training Stick® Team have provided workplace learning professionals practical tips and tools to promote training transfer (referred to as Techniques to Integrate Education – TIEs).

Thank You for continuing to be a part of the Make Training Stick® and Sticky Note Community.   Should you have any comments or suggestions, feel free to email

You’ve probably kicked off the new year with training calendar offerings, program roll-outs, designing, and revising.  As you refine goals for 2019, keep in mind the importance of Y-O-U (the facilitator/trainer) being dynamic in

  • Being Self-Aware (understanding and accepting ourselves but also setting and achieving goals to actualize our potential);
  • Creating partnerships within your organization (interpersonal and communication skills);
  • Adopting a Growth Mindset (learning new trends and the willingness to try new things).

Learning is a process and we (facilitators) need to make sure that learners “get it” by transferring the knowledge to the workplace.  The Training Transfer Process Model (Carnes, 2010), first introduced in Making Learning Stick includes categories involving (1) Learner Characteristics; (2) the Organizational Environment and Support (Before and After learning); (3) Training Design; and (4) Job Performance and Skill Maintenance (i.e., Training Transfer)

The Transfer of Technology-Supported Training Model represents a combination of factors supported by research on face-to-face training that can be applied to e-learning, and factors supported by research on the transfer of e-learning.  The Transfer of Technology-Supported Training Model contains categories in (1) Learning Content and Activities; (2) Work Environment; and (3) Trainee Characteristics.

May I suggest you add the following to your 2019 goals…

  1. Start a video or webinar series for managers and supervisors.  Use the time to share key learning points and training content with them.  Discuss 1-2 specific things they can do (to help practice what they learn.  Listen to their key challenges and goals.
  2. Include elements from the Training Transfer Process Model and Transfer of Technology-Supported Training Model.
  3. Choose one (or more) training or coaching programs and do a simple, 3 question level 3 evaluation. 
  4. Plan to read at least one new book and attend at least one workshop, presentation, or conference this year to help you “sharpen your saw”.  If you haven’t already, read Making Learning Stick, it is full of easy-to-use techniques to increase the transfer of your training.
  5. To stay abreast of trends in the Learning and Development field, listen to podcasts or join a social media group for facilitators. Trends to look out for in 2019 are Microlearning, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Training Transfer Technologies, and Learning Analytics.

Take action for better transfer of your training this year!

“We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.” — Max DePree

Until next time…



Santa’s Elves Make Training Stick (December 2018)

December 6, 2018

2018 has been an eventful year for Santa, Mrs. Claus, the Elves, and the Reindeer with so much to learn in preparation for Christmas!  Rudolph and the reindeers have been busy training on newer, safer methods of transporting packages while the elves have been learning how to make brighter, more colorful toys and electronics for children across the world.

Santa promised to keep up with change and provide boys and girls the best, brightest, and most up to date toys, electronics, and gadgets every year.  But the toys the boys and girls started asking for had changed, especially those electronic toys.    The elves – and Rudolph – needed continuing education and learning throughout the year.  Instead of taking the elves off the production line, Rudolph decided to use e-learning.

But Santa’s goal to create brighter, more colorful toys and electronics may be at risk for this year’s Christmas. Chief Elf Bernard and the elves have been in the workshop trying to complete e-learning on creating toys for Christmas 2018. The elves have told Bernard they just simply don’t like the e-learning. They say it is impersonal and they can’t ask questions.  And the elves can’t focus on the e-learning because they’re distracted by their work machines and tools, emails, telephone calls, reindeer dropping in, and calendars full of meetings and other commitments.

•  Elf Bernard immediately set up computers away from the elves’ work areas (but still closeby) where they could focus on their learning.

•   Mrs. Claus came by with copies of Making Learning Stick, and Making eLearning Stick and offered to help.  She had used techniques from the books to learn how to make new cookie recipes.

•   Mrs. Claus showed Elf Bernard how to revise the eLearning content and curriculum using the Checklist for Better Training Transfer (Resource:  Making eLearning Stick, pg. 26).

•   She also showed him someTechniques to Integrate Education (TIEs) to reinforce the training and how to modify his e-learning  to integrate TIEs (Resources:   Making Learning Stick, chap. 2)

•   Elf Bernard decided to use these TIEs:

(1) Before Training:  Action Learning, Boss Briefing, and Training Buddies

(2) During Training: Mind Sweep, Strategy Link, Virtual Tutor, Threaded Discussion

(3) After Training: Action Plans, Boss Debriefing, and Use It or Lose It Checklist

The elves were happy with their new learning environment and most importantly, they are now hard at work making the latest and greatest toys and electronics for Santa to deliver to good little girls and boys everywhere on Christmas Day!

And everyone will live happily ever after – that is, until the next major change or shift in learning.

Happy Holidays from the Make Training Stick!® Team!

Until next time…

Making Training Stick with a Growth Mindset

October 24, 2018

Sticky Note

October 18, 2018

Mindsets can have a significant impact on learning transfer and application.  Some thought leaders have even termed “Mindset” as the new psychology of success.  A mindset is a form of Positive Psychology that involves an attitude that helps a person handle situations.  Facilitators and designers with a learning and application Mindset, a Make Training Stick Mindset, can influence participants expectations of learning as well as the learning and application itself.  Facilitators with this type of Mindset embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, see effort as the path to mastery, learn from criticism, and find lessons and inspiration in others.  By modeling these behaviors, facilitators encourage participants to go on the journey of learning new content by helping them focus on the experience of learning and to increase willingness to try new things.  Facilitators can build a positive climate for learning and create a nurturing Mindset with trust, commitment, care, preparation, and effort.

Here are some suggestions to foster a Make Training Stick Mindset:

  • In the training design, facilitators should include learning goals, content relevance, practice and feedback, behavior modeling, error-based examples, and self-management strategies.
  • Before class, send “can do” encouraging messages with positive descriptors along with enrollment details, such as “as one of our talented employees, I know will find this training is thought-provoking. Plan positive “can do” messages during the training delivery.
  • Throughout the beginning of class, make an active effort to use positive descriptors for class members individually and/or as a group, using phrases such as “you are a bright group of trainees”…“brilliant idea”…”I can see we have a class of excellent performers.” This seems so simple but it can make a big impact.
  • Post positive written messages in electronic or face-to-face classrooms that describe a desired end result. These types of positive statements are also called Affirmations and can be used for work-related behavior change.  Affirmations are described in detail in the Making Training Stick Field Guide (on Amazon).
  • Consider sending a series of post-training emails with messages to reinforce a positive Mindset. Everyone gets a lot of emails these days but most people will be pleased to receive a positive, affirming note especially when it doesn’t require them to reply.

More information on these and other evidence-based elements for effective learning and transfer, are in Barbara Carnes’ book, Making Learning Stick (on Amazon).

Until next time…


new doc 2018-04-13 21.53.22_1


Self-Awareness and Making Training Stick

August 16, 2018

Greetings!  In the May Sticky Note Dr. Barbara Carnes told you that I, Dr. Tammy Means, would take a role in authoring new content. In June we introduced our Training Transfer Technologies Poll (if you haven’t responded, please click on the link) and now we are excited to introduce the August Sticky Note on Self Awareness and Making Training Stick.  A lack of self-awareness inhibits learning transfer.  I recently conducted a workshop on Emotional Intelligence with a special focus on Self Awareness. Participants in the workshop focused on practical ways to become more self-aware…

And I also began to explore practical ways facilitators can encourage and increase self-awareness in participants (to increase learning transfer).  Participants who are self-aware are able to understand their own emotions and recognize feelings (angry, sad, scared, happy)—thus, helping manage emotions and feelings needed to improve and makes room for learning and application.  The goal is to create better self-knowledge, to make adjustments and improvements, and to accommodate for weaknesses.  This involves the facilitator taking on the coaching role to guide participants to have them come to their own understandings and knowledge about themselves.

Facilitators can support competencies of Self Awareness in these ways:

  •  Self-Regard (being aware of, understanding and accepting ourselves).  Foster a culture of praise and constructive feedback to participants.  This encourages a coaching culture within the learning environment.
  • Emotional Self-Awareness (being aware of and understanding our emotions). Allow participants to express their emotions in positive ways by using situational examples throughout trainings.  Facilitators can also use personality tests within trainings.
  • Assertiveness (expressing our feelings and ourselves nondestructively).  Set a professional tone within the learning environment to demonstrate how participants are expected to express themselves.
  • Independence (being self-reliant and free of emotional dependency on others).  Allow time in class for self-reflection.  This allows participants to evaluate themselves.
  • Self-Actualization (setting and achieving goals to actualize our potential). Set aside time for participants to reflect on their learning and to set goals.  This encourages individuals to focus on their strengths and embrace weaknesses or failures.

Self Awareness is closely linked to Barbara’s previous Sticky Note on Mindfulness as well as the Training Transfer Process Model in Barbara’s book Making Learning Stick (available through Amazon) which includes a number of Learner Characteristics  research has shown support learning transfer.  While self-awareness is not specifically listed in the model, those listed that are closely linked to self-awareness are:  self-efficacy, openness to experience, and career planning.

Until next time…

new doc 2018-04-13 21.53.22_1Barbara

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