Making Training Stick

As people developers we know that simply attending a training course doesn't guarantee improvements back at work. The course can be well designed and structured, the trainer can apply expertise, skills and stage craft in its delivery, but will the participant make a real difference back at work? Research shows that between 11-18% of people do not actually do anything differently as a result of undertaking training.

What can we do to improve this percentage? Of key importance to the overall effectiveness of the learning process are the conversations the line manager has with the course participant before and after the training course. These can be described as:

  • The 'pre-course' or 'alignment' conversation - Setting time aside before a training course to prepare to learn is an important first step. This development conversation aims to:
    • Help the course participant recognise the importance of the training.
    • Gain a clear sense of direction and purpose.
    • Identify what needs to be learned.
    • Ensure the course is rooted in the real world of work.

    In order that people are able to make the most of the course, they need to consider questions such as:

    • Why am I on the course?
    • Where does it fit with my development and the current business context?
    • What will be covered on the course?
    • What do I need to learn / what are my development objectives?
    • How will the learning be applied back in work?
    • What does my manager (and the business) expect of me?
    • What will I be expected to do differently / better afterwards?
  • 'Post-course' or 'follow-up' conversation - This development conversation aims to facilitate the transfer of learning back to the workplace.

    The conversation is especially important in reinforcing the learning process and for identifying how their new found skills will be used to add organisational value. They should be used to draw out and make sense of the key learning; identify whether development objectives were met; identify how the learning will be shared and used to add value. Finally, the conversation should result in a clear set of supported implementation actions that will be delivered against.

So what's the problem?

Unfortunately, not all line managers have the knowledge, experience and coaching skills needed to effectively conduct these key conversations. Up to now their quantity, quality and subsequent implementation actions have been outside the immediate control of trainers, the end result being that the majority of training doesn't stick.

An innovative solution

Lumus™ has recently developed a pre-course 180 degree feedback process that results in the production of a Training Course Workbook designed to guide and facilitate meaningful pre- and post-course development conversations, ensuring participants' work performance is really changed as a result of a course.

How does it work?

  • Step 1 - Questionnaire Completion - This part is simple and user friendly. The participant and their line manager go online and complete a short questionnaire built around the behavioural competencies you would see if the participant were doing a 'great job' in those areas covered on the training course.
  • Step 2 - Production of the Training Course Workbook - Their feedback is then inserted into an easy to use workbook that provides a structured conversation agenda and includes comprehensive guidance notes, easily understood feedback data, key questions to be discussed / answered and space to capture the learner's key development objectives / expectations from the course. The complete guide is then produced as a PDF and emailed to the course participant and their manager.
  • Step 3 - Pre-course 'alignment' conversation - The layout of the guide supports even very inexperienced managers in having the clear and meaningful development conversations that result in employees being fully prepared and able to make the most of their training course.

    The guide takes approximately 45 minutes to complete and establishes:

    • Agreement of the current performance situation including strengths and development areas.
    • A set of meaningful development objectives and expectations from the course.
    • How the learning will be applied back in work.
  • Step 4 - Post-course 'follow up' - The workbook also includes a post-course section used to facilitate and record what was learned and how it will be applied. The section identifies:
    • The key learning (or re-affirmed) points from the course.
    • How well the course met the participant's development objectives.
    • How the learning will be shared with other team members.
    • A plan to implement the learning to add value to the organisation, including how its success will be measured.
    • Any implementation support needed.
    • How progress will be monitored.
    • Any barriers that may hinder the application of the learning and how these will be overcome.

So what?

PSA Training and Development (a sister company of Lumus™) has recently used this innovative approach with Nestle Waters and Staffordshire University with overwhelming success.

To the best of our knowledge, no other training providers are using this 21st century approach to an age old problem. To find out more about the 180 Degree Feedback Training Course Workbook and how to ensure real return on training investment, contact the Lumus™ team on +44 (0)1291 637380 or email

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For further details about Lumus™ please call +44 (0)1291 637380 or email

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