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Are You Reinforcing Learning?

Are you reinforcing the learning you provide for your employees? Simply having employees sit through a workshop isn’t sufficient. The learning starts there but certainly does not end in the classroom.

My clients are increasingly interest in ways to reinforce and continue the learning from the workshops I provide to their employees (whether face-to-face or virtual).  Here are some ways that we are working with clients to reinforce the learning from workshops:

  • Action planning. Action planning is a component of every workshop I conduct. It enables the participant, in conjunction with his/her manager, to develop a plan for how they will apply their new skills and knowledge back on the job, with the support of their manager.
  • Readings. Through follow up readings, participants in the workshop program are able to continue to learn and further increase their knowledge.
  • Case study. Through the use of case studies to be worked on out of the classroom, participants spend time in teams practicing their new skills and knowledge. They return to the classroom to present their findings/solution to the case study.
  • Mentoring. Provide mentoring to enable support after the learning. Through mentoring, especially for workshops that are focused on leadership and other critical skill development, participants are able to practice their new skills under the tutelage of a more senior individual within the company. Mentoring enables for individualized support.
  • Portal. For those clients were we are running longer-term leadership development programs, we are utilizing portals to enable sharing of information, documents, and problem solving in between workshop sessions. The portal becomes a place where the participants in the leadership program can support each other and get answers to their questions as they begin to apply their skills.
  • Follow up sessions. Follow up sessions – 2 – 3 hours in length – enable for participants to come back to the classroom to discuss how they are progressing against their action plan and in the use of their new skills and knowledge. We basically ask the following questions: What is going well? What is not going so well? Where else is help needed?
  • 360 feedback. For some leadership and project management workshops, we use 360 feedback (through online surveys and interviews) to understand how well the new skills are being applied back on the job. This feedback is especially of value when we are leading workshops on leading teams, managing troubled projects, managing change or supervising others.
  • Management sessions. Spending 1 – 2 hours with management/leadership enables us to discuss the workshop we are providing their staff and plan for their support. I have yet to have management tell me they will not support their employees as they begin to use their new skills and knowledge. Sometimes they just need to know how to do so. This management session enables us to work out a plan for the type of support that will be needed and how they can provide that support.

One or a combination of these reinforcement techniques will enable you to ensure that the learning is being applied after the workshop ends. A workshop alone is not sufficient; participants must have a way to continue to learn and get support for applying their new skills and knowledge.

What are your ideas for reinforcing the learning? Please share with others in the Comments field below. Thanks!

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