September 2021
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TD Magazine

Create a Learning Action Plan

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Behavior change doesn't happen in an hour—it's a long-term process.

Long gone (hopefully) are the days when L&D professionals spent 90 minutes with learners and then sent them on their way with no further action or thought. People don't learn in one-and-done courses, nor does such training lead to a change in conduct in the workplace.


Changing behavior requires a focus on learners, learning design, and the learners' ecosystem, says Fergal Connolly in "Revamp Training to Improve Learners' Performance." Begin by priming participants for what they will learn during the course, for example by sharing endorsements from past learners. Further, involve participants in creating a learning action plan. That learner-generated blueprint outlines how they will implement takeaways from the training course. Ask them:

  • What learning would you like to gain from this program?
  • Why is that important to you?
  • What specific actions will you take?
  • In which situations will you take those actions?

But don't stop there, Connolly advises. Send the action plan to the learner's manager following the training event. Doing so will socially commit the learner to those goals, which increases goal-related performance, and informs the individual's supervisor of the plan's content. That enables the manager to facilitate opportunities for the learner to practice new skills and for the manager to then provide feedback.

These tips were adapted from the September 2021 issue of TD at Work. Learn more at

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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