Making Training Efforts Last

Training for your staff and for yourself is an investment in the future! Why then is spending on training almost always the first thing to be cut when companies are asked to tighten the belt and save cost?

Traditional training approaches which are still practiced widely entail full-day-classes over a number of days. At the end of the training, learners may well have the best intentions to apply the skills they have learned, they will have taken notes and plan to review the materials regularly. The learner then returns to their desk, their overflowing inbox, back-to-back-meetings, in short, they often return to business as usual.

People forget 50-70% of new information within 25 hours regardless of what the information is. It affects everyone the same way. Forgetfulness works independently of IQ, age, and relevance. The German psychologist Herman Ebbinghaus developed the “forgetting curve” (see image) which shows how quickly people forget new knowledge within hours after learning it.

Now it becomes clear why investment in trainings often falls victim to cost cutting and who can blame decision makers when knowing the above.

How can you as a leader or a learner combat the forgetting curve?

  • Do not spend days and days in a row in trainings without any chance to apply, discuss and evaluate newly learned skills! In other words: Choose trainings carefully – they need to entail workshop elements, time for trying out new skills or behaviours, etc.

  • When someone on your team returns to the office after a training, follow up with them regularly. Ask what new things they have learned, how they intend to use them, how using them worked out, how you can best support them. You can ask them to summarize their learnings and share with the rest of the team. Note: This follow-up needs to happen more than once.

  • Should you not have the time to follow up with your staff, ask someone else to do so. Get in touch with your HR department or contact a coach – the investment is worth it.

  • Choose development activities running over a longer period of time with short modules and chances for interaction so every learned skill can be immediately deepened.

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If you find this inspiring and you would like to explore further how we could work together, I am delighted to meet with you for a 30-minute-free-of-charge-info-session