How do you ensure the transfer of training from the classroom to the workplace? As the saying goes, “Learning is a process, not an event.” This three-part series looks at the three stages of the learning process: The Transfer of Training SeriesPart 1: “Class beginsbefore it starts “Part 2: “Classroom activities that make training stick ”Part 3: “Follow up after the class ‘graduates'”Part 3 examines the importance of the post-class checkup. Following up with clients emphasizes that you back up what you’ve taught and are genuinely interested in the successful learning process of their employees. Use one of these approaches to ensure that the transfer of learning took place. If you want to add a suggestion, post a comment at the end of the article or send us an e-mail .
Send follow-up surveys
Give your students a week or two to digest the new information they’ve learned. After that time, send an electronic survey or post a survey on your Web site to find out how they’ve incorporated their knowledge. In the survey:

  • Ask questions related to the subject matter.
  • Request job-related examples and files that piggyback on the training material.
  • Solicit feedback. Now that your students are back in the “real world,” ask them to identify topics that need more emphasis during training.

Conduct follow-up interviews
Two follow-up sessions should take place with the client managers after training.

  1. Within a week after the class, ask for any immediate feedback they’ve received from employees.
  2. Check back a month after the class to find out whether the training has addressed the job needs identified prior to class. Also ask what other needs could be met.

Why is following up so important? You should use the opportunity to identify additional training needs for the group, meaning more business opportunities for you. Please keep in mind that you need to be consistent and show genuine concern for their employees’ learning to be considered for any additional training opportunities. If the managers don’t like the feedback they received or feel that you’re just there to take their money, they’ll look for better service. I have used a different training company for follow-up lessons due to the previous trainer’s lack of interest in my needs.

In-house? Do some sleuthing
Are you a permanent on-site trainer for a company? If so, it’s important for you to regularly schedule yourself for “on-the-floor observation” with the people you trained. After a class, investigate how well the employees are applying the skills taught by walking around, sitting down and observing, and asking them how they’re doing and if they need any help. See what skills are being applied, what skills aren’t, and what you can do about it. Schedule this time with the manager or supervisor first, of course. Some managers might not want you in their space without permission, so be wary.

Use graduates as mentors
Some companies set up mentoring programs for new employees and people who have just learned a new skill or job. Work with the managers and supervisors to identify those mentors. Using former students as mentors not only adds support to the new learners, but boosts the morale of the graduates.

Track help desk calls
You’d be surprised what you can learn from tracking help desk calls. Simply ask the help desk to track all the calls they received within the first two weeks after a class. Have them note any patterns in topics or callers. This will help you identify areas in the training that may require changes. It’s possible you were a little weak in teaching some sections of the class that relate to what’s going on in the field.

If you find weak areas, talk to the managers and get their input. It’s possible that some one-on-one sessions and/or a quick two-hour refresher course are needed.