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IT TAKES THREE : Proficience Group

Friday, September 21, 2018


November 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Industry News

The popular song, “It Takes Two,” recorded in late 1965 by Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston, centered around romantic lyrics depicting many things in life such as: dreams, love, and wishes being so much better with two people instead of one. “It takes two, me and you.”

Same holds true as far as training is concerned. Training is so much better when there is more than one person actively involved in the process. Successful training, where learning transfer occurs, takes three “key” individuals being actively involved. The three are, the: 1) facilitator, 2) participant, and 3) manager. Each one clearly impacts the quality and effectiveness of learning.

A great facilitator, appropriate materials, the right delivery method, and an enthusiastic participant are essential. However, factors external to training are also very influential. Ensuring that employees actually use the learning being delivered must be the top priority during any training initiative. That’s where the manager comes in.

Managers have a tremendous influence on whether or not behavioral change occurs. Managers have the ability to prepare employees for learning prior to training and help coach employees after training. They have some ability to control the work environment allowing learners opportunities to apply and practice new learned skills. Managers can also praise and reinforce successes, as well as correct and coach mistakes. Without the manager being actively involved, engaging and encouraging employees, true learning may not occur.

Learning degrades over time if  individuals forget what they’ve learned, or are not able to apply their newly-acquired skills on the job. Once a skill is acquired and improved upon, habits are formed and behavior is changed. Learning that is not transferred on the job within six weeks is considered to be “scrap learning.”

So what exactly is “scrap learning?” Scrap learning is the learning that is delivered but not applied by the learner. After training, learners may fall into one of the following categories:

  • They never really try to apply the training.
  • They attempt to apply it, but do not witness any worthwhile results.
  • They apply training and get some positive results.

Studies show that the biggest training failure occurs in the post-training phase. Since 70% to 80% of actual learning occurs on the job, it is imperative that the manager be involved.

Managers should be involved in the employee’s training at every step: before, during and after. Prior to attending training, managers should have a brief meeting with the employee, review the course objectives and align those to their specific job tasks and goals. During training, managers should set appropriate expectations of the employee and provide ample resources so the employee can attend all necessary classes.

After training, the manager should review the employee’s action plan(s). The manager must supervise, coach and provide meaningful feedback to the employee as they are applying the newly-learned skills to their job. The manager should also assign projects, tasks and responsibilities to the learner when/where they can hone their new skills.

Training is a tool that when applied, is a catalyst for maximizing human performance. The first step in measuring human performance improvement is to understand the impact the training initiative had on human performance.

So, scrap learning is when the facilitator has designed, facilitated (done their part), the learner attends and participates (done their part – in class), but the learner isn’t able to apply the learning on the job.

Most organizations overlook an important aspect of human performance improvement and development that often makes it many times more effective — manager engagement.

The mantra for training must be, “It Takes Three.”

Train, Coach, Coach, Coach!

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