Strategically Reinforce Training

When thinking about blended learning, don’t just think about the “class.” Think about the full program, which includes the experience that will make the learning stick.

At Training’s Online Learning Conference in Chicago in September, I spoke on the topic of “Unflappable Approaches to Reinforce Online Training Outcomes,” and we had a lively discussion about blended learning choices.

When I think about blended learning, I don’t just think about the “class.” I think about the full program. It’s about the experience that will make the learning stick. You can’t accomplish that with a few videos, or even a two-day class. You need a blend of strategies that will cement the content and move it from training to application.

Our primary audience is sales and marketing executives, managers, and staff. While marketing staff are eager to spend time learning, salespeople, not so much. Yet without sales success, a company won’t grow. So it’s critical that we use creative ways to cement learning and truly change sales reps’ behavior.

Here are the top 10 approaches we have found that will move training from a program to on-thejob application.

1. Videos: Videos aren’t just for synchronous training any longer. Use them to replace synchronous training, as well as to reinforce training once the main program is complete.
2. Tools: You create fabulous job aids and resources during your training, but are you using them to reinforce training and drive higher adoption?
3. Applied practice: Most training programs include practice, but to really see behavior change, it’s the practice after the training ends that’s critical. Incorporate applied practice into formal reinforcement and increase adoption rates.
4. Directed observation: With some jobs, such as sales, customer service, and machine operators, competence can be assessed through observation. Have an expert look for opportunities to take learning to a higher level.
5. Fun quizzes: With all the gaming and testing programs available today, incorporate quick quizzes into your reinforcement. Include explanations for each right and wrong answer with links to learn more.
6. Reinforcement training sessions: The formal learning can continue during team and staff meetings. Choose a key topic and delve into it further. Use it as a learning check to identify where you need to expand your training.
7. Social groups: Consider setting up a private Facebook or LinkedIn group, or a page on your company intranet, and establish a forum for participants to continue their learning from each other. Periodically pose questions and feed content, but primarily let participants ask and answer their own questions.
8. Coaching: Add a coaching element to offer one-on-one feedback and guidance. Whether it’s peer, manager, or training coaching, coaching participants will not only sustain their learning, but also extend it.
9. Manager reinforcement: While managers rarely have the time to fully reinforce training to the extent you’d prefer, giving them a structured guide to use will increase the probability that they’ll do it.
10. Metrics: This isn’t something you’d normally consider as a training reinforcement approach, but what you measure gets monitored. What you monitor gets done. Set metrics at the beginning of the program, then monitor and communicate the results.

KLA Group President Kendra Lee is a top IT seller; prospect attraction expert; and author of the books, “The Sales Magnet” and “Selling Against the Goal.” Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group develops custom sales training programs to help clients break in and exceed revenue objectives in the small and midmarket business (SMB) segment. Lee is a frequent speaker at training conferences, national sales meetings, and association events. To find out more or to subscribe to Lee’s newsletter, visit www.klagroup.com or call 303.741.6636.

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