This month marks the debut of our column, "Everything DiSC Pulse," in the "Training Today" section of Training magazine. Every month, we'll give you the learner's perspective on training: what's important, what works, and what doesn't work for learners. And every month, we'll elaborate on our findings here, online.
For our first column, we asked 4,967 training participants about common training techniques that may have been included in their most recent training experience and how the presence (or absence) of these elements impacted their job effectiveness. (Participants could select as many elements as applied.)
Rather than simply asking if the techniques improved the training experience, we wanted to understand if the rankings could be translated to improved job effectiveness. We found that when training included problem-solving exercises, multiple examples, practice, and action planning, participants noted a significantly greater impact on self-perceived job effectiveness.
Psychologists know people remember material better when they put effort into learning it. For instance, one classic study found that participants who solved difficult anagrams in their learning remembered significantly more information then participants who solved easy anagrams in their learning (Tyler, et al., 1979).
When faced with a problem-solving task, we engage the material on a deeper level. We look at information from different angles, think about the big picture, and make connections. All of this work has a payoff. In fact, of all the training practices discussed here, problem-solving activities had the biggest influence on training effectiveness.
In our study, 86 percent of participants said their training made them more effective at their jobs when they were challenged to solve problems as part of the training. On the other hand, only 33 percent who were not challenged to solve problems agreed the training made them more effective at their jobs. As a bonus, problem solving also seemed to have a big impact on the participants' enjoyment of training.