So what did you learn in class?

You know you’re in trouble when supervisors ask employees, “So what did you learn in class?” You can be sure there’s no post-training coaching going on for that topic, can’t you?

Here’s some sobering research that creates a “Doh!” moment: A 2006 ASTD study on the causes of poor training found that 20% was due to events prior to training and 70% was due to problems in the “application environment.” Only 10% of the problems were related to the training itself!

So potentially 90% of our attention should be focused on what happens around training. Yet what do we do? We focus 100% on the training event itself.

Here’s a related research factoid from our book J4 Learning: A 2008 survey of a large number of employees who had just completed training found that 15% didn’t try the new skills on the job. 70% tried them and failed. And only 15% were able to successfully sustain the new behaviors.

Do you have a “How to coach …” supervisor training program for every topic in your course inventory? Or is there no further mention ever of what was learned in training? Do employees actually get punished during their learning curve for trying newly trained behaviors and messing up?

Training isn’t an event. It’s not a separate function. It should be totally integrated into everyday processes. Supervisors have to know the content themselves. They need to be trained to coach to it. The performance management system must reward employees who try and master new behaviors. It’s time to give what happens around training the attention it deserves.