How do you ensure the transfer of training from the classroom to the job? As the saying goes, “Learning is a process, not an event.” There are three stages to the learning process that we will look at over the next few weeks: 

  • Transfer of training: Before training begins
  • Transfer of training: On the job
  • Transfer of training: After training

Part 1 will examine the importance of class preparation. Trainers need to begin working on a class long before it starts so that students will leave with skills that can be readily transferred to their jobs.
Pretraining activities
The following ten activities should be done before training begins to ensure the transfer of classroom skills to on-the-job experience:

  1. Create a job-focused curriculum.
    The curriculum must be broken down into concise skills that are based on job needs and not on software capability.
  2. Design the courses.
    When designing training courses, remember that they need to include job-related objectives and tasks. They also need well-described prerequisites, which list the skills—not just previously taken courses—necessary for the class. It’s always best to divide the material into smaller sections that can work in hour-long or half-day courses, especially if there are problematic scheduling demands.
  3. Incorporate learning tools.
    Always include a variety of learning tools in your curriculum. People learn in different ways, so it’s important to take the time to try to find different ways to reach each student. Multimedia and built-in software tutorials should be used to present information as a visual backup to reading and lectures.
  4. Develop quick reference tools.
    Create effective and efficient quick reference tools that the students can take back to their jobs. Job task learners need reference materials that are designed, not for the training manuals, but for the job procedures themselves. The training manual is a reference tool in itself, so it’s important not to get the two confused.
  5. Create macros and templates.
    Training time and training value can be enhanced if the department or systems group can automate commonly used forms and formats into macros and templates.
  6. Prescreen learners.
    A very important part of designing your training strategy is to prescreen your class members. Screening helps ensure that you’re scheduling the right people for the right class at the right time. You have to make certain that the students who have signed up for your class have mastered the prerequisite skills. This will also help you in managing class expectations.
  7. Interview students and managers.
    This may or may not apply, based on the type of training you’re involved in. This step suggests that trainers take the time before class to interview key managers and students to make sure the course(s) to be taught can meet their needs. Be prepared to discuss and provide alternative solutions if there are problems.
  8. Train managers in the learning process.
    View yourself as a facilitator in the learning process, and train the managers and the students about what their roles should be during the course. You need to make sure that your training curriculum is meeting the manager’s needs. Both trainees and managers should understand what each course covers. They’ll also need to know what is expected of them after training, since what they do with what they learn will greatly impact their jobs.
  9. Set up student and manager agreements.
    This is another suggestion that may or may not apply, based on the type of training you’re involved in. Learning agreements allow the manager and trainee to meet and decide on the following:
  • Each other’s expectations for the class
  • How the student will incorporate new skills into the job
  • How much extra time and effort will be needed to do so
  1. Prepare the learners.
    Develop a checklist designed to make sure students understand that they’re responsible for learning what they need to during the course. This makes the students responsible for learning certain topics and getting all of their questions answered during the training session. Send a similar checklist to the managers to help them get their money’s worth from the training session.

These are just a few suggestions to help managers and students get the most out of training. In Part 2, we’ll discuss the transfer of training as it pertains to going back to the job.
If you have any suggestions or activities to add to this list, please let us know by posting a comment at the end of this article. If you have any topics you’d like to see more information on, please send us a note .