August 2012
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TD Magazine

Three Ways to Help Employees Practice What They’ve Learned

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Before employees can even attempt to transfer training to their work, they have to confidently believe that they can actually perform the skill they have been taught. One of the most important things to do is to ensure that employees will have a chance to practice their skills once the training is over. Here's what learning pros can do to make sure employees can try out their newly acquired knowledge.


Get the right people on the bus. Make sure that people who are in the training really need to know what is being taught to do their jobs.

Get the timing right. Make sure employees attend just-in-time training—a course offered shortly before they will need the skills in their jobs. It doesn't make sense to teach people information and skills they won't be able to use for months; they will forget it anyway.

Make sure the manager is on board. Nothing is more wasteful to the organization or confusing to an employee than to be taught one thing in training and told something completely different by his manager. Even if the manager doesn't actively block learning transfer, she may fail to reinforce it, or fail to create opportunities for employees to practice their new skills. Clearly defining the business outcomes and benefits is an important part of getting managers on board. It makes it easier for them to see the payoff.

These tips were adapted from the August 2012 Infoline, "Ensuring Learning Transfer," by Randy Pollock and Andy Jefferson. For more information, visit

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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