Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Transfer of training technologies

September 30, 2013

I have to confess that even though I’m passionate about making training stick and I know that actions I take before and after I conduct training will make a difference, like most of you sometimes I get caught up in the next course design or facilitation and (gulp) I forget about trainees in the classes I’ve finished, or the ones I am going to be doing soon.

This is why I’m very excited about several new technologies that have recently become available to help trainers reach out and connect with trainees before and after training to reinforce the learning and boost on-the-job application.

I began drafting a Sticky Note about these new technologies but I soon realized that there was too much information to share in a short newsletter.  So I wrote a white paper.  This white paper describes how each technology works and also provides suggestions for using each technology to create before- and after-training transfer techniques based on my research.  I met with representatives of the companies at trade shows (most of them were at ASTD’s International Conference and Expo), I participated in a demo at a later date, I visited their websites, and I asked each of them to review the white paper for accuracy. I do not own or have any financial interest in any of these technologies.  While I plan to try and use them as opportunities arise,I report objectively on each of these technologies.

These new tools make it easy to provide before- and after-training touch points because messaging and interactions can be designed and developed during design and delivery when it is top of mind for the trainer, while the messaging and interactions can be delivered at points when they will be most effective for the trainees, which is before and after participation in live training and/or self-paced elearning.

The technologies:

  • Raptivity.  High tech interactive templates for content reinforcement and application scenarios that can be inserted into most live training applications such as PowerPoint and into elearning platforms such as Articulate and Captivate.  New white paper on use for elearning.
  • We Achieve.  Cloud-based crowdsourcing application that can be used before and after training to engage and motivate learners and to build community.  New article in Training Magazine.
  • Mindsetter.  Delivers before- and after-training text, video, and quiz content via email to reinforce learning and provide additional content and application ideas.
  • Mindmarker.  Delivers training reinforcers and application suggestions – text, audio, and video files – via email and/or an app.  Tracks participation and other metrics.
  • ResultsEngine.  Cloud-based tracking and support for end-of-training goals and action plans.  Interactive assistance includes coaching requests, suggestions for revising goals, and detailed accountability and tracking.

Keep in mind that with each of these technologies it’s important to have well-written training objectives that specify end-of-class skills and behaviors and sticky objectives that specify on the job application of them.  Without these, no technology is going to be effective in helping to make training stick®.

Training Transfer Technologies - Free White Paper

Click here to download the white paper.

Until next time…..



Your LMS – A Great Sticky Tool

April 29, 2013

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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Using Videos in 2010

January 23, 2010

If you still think that videos can only be shown in the classroom, think again. Video segments and in-classroom videotaping have made a big difference in people’s learning experiences in the last half-century and they can really help make learning stick.  These days there are new ways to use video to enhance learning.

Whether the learner is viewing screen shots of software applications, staged demonstrations of workplace discussions, or playbacks of their own in-class role playing, we know the learning is more likely to stick when people can see what they are supposed to do, what they should not do, and/or what they are doing.  (One of my favorite videos is of a poorly handled performance review.)

Videos can be used in new ways to catch people in “teachable moments” and to provide a more convenient way to help them learn and change their behavior.  Here are some new ways to use video you may not have considered:

  • In one-on-one coaching. Short video clips (digital files) can be shown right from the laptop during a coaching session to illustrate key learning points which can then be discussed right away.
  • Embedded into Powerpoint, video clips are easy to prepare and use in company presentations and briefings, not just in training.  I love the new Inscape sales program and management program that both use this technology!
  • Most videos available from commercial companies are digital files.  These can be previewed on these companies’ websites and they can be posted on your company’s intranet (paying a license fee of course).  Instead of pulling people together to view a video, ask them to view the link at their convenience.  Their viewing can easily be documented if necessary.  Post follow up questions on an intranet, Outlook, or elearning forum.  (Click here for a few of my favorite commercial video companies, if you missed them last time.)
  • Web cams make it easy to record informal video.  (I saw a webcam on a keychain recently.)  While a “talking head” isn’t recommended, there may be product demonstrations or safety procedures that could be easily recorded on a webcam and distributed via internet, intranet or iPod (see next item).
  • Many people these days have easy, anytime internet access with their phones.  Digital video files can also be provided on the company intranet to be downloaded for just-in-time viewing on iPod and other MP3 devices.
  • Don’t forget about customers, clients, vendors, and others outside your organization.  Is the information they need being conveyed by the most up-to-date, effective, time-efficient means?  Could providing just-in-time visual learning for them increase your company’s competitive advantage?

The key here is to provide visual learning on-demand, when people need it and will use it.  If you still think that videos can only be shown in the classroom, think again.

Until next time…


Three more resolutions.

January 15, 2010

You have just under 11 ½ months before the end of this year, and if experience is any indication, these 11 ½ months will go by fast. In my last Sticky Note, I suggested three new year’s resolutions for trainers and designers. Today I make three more suggestions for you to consider as you begin a new year. Remember, if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. I hear many trainers whine (yes, whine) that management doesn’t support their training, but I often see that these same trainers don’t do what is within their power and reach to make the training stick. Yes, forces outside the direct control of the learning and development department play a role in the transfer of training to the job. But there are many things that trainers, designers, and training managers can do to make it stick. Focus on what is possible, not on what isn’t.

  • Conduct a “technology audit” of participants and potential participants. What hardware do they have?  Software? Specifically, do they have sound cards? I find that often trainers design e-learning or pre-post-work that may call for technology that participants don’t have on their computers. With the increasing use of social media to support training (watch for another Sticky Note on this in the near future), it is important to know what participants have. Don’t be like the training department in a Fortune 500 company that went to great lengths to use social media and related technologies to follow up training…..only to find out later that many participants didn’t have access to the particular technology. The IT department may be the best source of information here.
  • Review the colors used in the classrooms, e-learning platforms, or specific courses. Yes, the colors. Do the colors on the walls, furniture, and floors support the training? Researchers have known for years that certain colors invoke specific emotional states, and we know that emotional states play a part in learning. For example, red tends to be energizing and supports movement and assertiveness. Blue tends to be calming and supports a reflective state of mind. There is more information about this in my new book, Making Learning Stick. Here is a chart on colors, mental associations, and how to use them to support certain messages.
  • Start using thank you notes. A client of mine recently said he started sending a brief note to participants and to their bosses immediately after training. “It didn’t take but a few minutes, and I can see that it’s making a difference as far as bosses supporting and reinforcing the training,” he said.

Remember, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten!

Until next time…