The Learning Transfer Manifesto

I am loving the work of Gretchen Rubin, author of Better than Before, and host of theHappier podcast. Gretchen’s most recent blog talked about the power of creating manifestos. She finds that when you distil your ideas into a clear list, your understanding will improve and you’ll get a much better sense of what you’re trying to achieve.

This got me thinking about learning transfer. So many people I speak to in the L&D industry find their head spinning as they try to navigate transfer, reinforcement, embedding, sustaining and retention of learning. With so many different terms floating around in the L&D industry it can be difficult to get clear on how to meet the challenge of transferring learning back to the workplace after a learning initiative. So I thought what better time to set things straight with an easy to follow learning transfer manifesto.

As Gretchen Rubin says with her manifestos – this is not necessarily what you will always do, but it’s what you can aspire to do when implementing a learning transfer solution.

  1. Consider whether your initiative is designed to stretch or supportemployees – if it is “stretch” and it’s of high strategic importance then learning transfer is critical

  2. Be clear about what is going to happen after the initiative. Pre-program learning modules and action planning is great, but it’s useless if there is no specific learning transfer plan in place to support the action.

  3. Look at your organisation’s maturity and resources available to decide who should deliver your learning transfer. Be mindful that the manager is not the only option for supporting learning transfer. Success will depend on their level of expertise and time available.

  4. Be aware that content reminders are not as powerful as change reflection. Structured reflection after an initiative will facilitate genuine behavioural change.

  5. Create a process to hold employees accountable to themselves with their learning transfer

  6. Use a calibration tool to measure progress over time – get employees to calibrate where they are at with their action plan goals at the program, and then again throughout or at the end of the learning transfer.

  7. The telephone is the secret weapon for productive and cost effective learning transfer. Using the phone rather than face to face follow ups means the individual will feel less self-conscious, and are more likely to be open, honest and vulnerable to facilitate sustained behaviour change.

  8. Ensure your process goes beyond ‘ticking the box’.

  9. Be mindful of the timeline that you collect the progress review data across, and ensure you aren’t just collecting happy sheet data at a Kirkpatrick/Phillips Level 1. Go deeper – find out if they have changed and met business objectives.

  10. Most importantly, enjoy the learning transfer process! Keep refining your process and improving your business results from learning.

Whenever you’re planning your next learning initiative, take a moment to consult with the learning transfer manifesto. Ask yourself, where you can turn your aspirations into a reality and implement elements of successful learning transfer to create business impact from learning.

If you don’t know where to start – call us! 02 8221 8833.

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Emma Weber is the founder of Lever – Transfer of Learning and developer of the Turning Learning into Action™ (TLA) methodology. Emma’s firm belief, and the platform on which she has built her successful global business, is that the key aim of learning in the workplace is to create tangible business benefits. She established Lever to help organisations and their employees convert learning into effective action back on the job. Under her guidance Lever now delivers TLA programs throughout 20 countries and in 12 languages. A recognized authority on the transfer of learning, Emma has been a guest speaker on learning effectiveness at conferences in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and the USA. Her book ‘Turning Learning into Action: a proven methodology for effective transfer of learning’ was published in March 2014 by Kogan Page. Emma’s second book, ‘Making Change Work: How to create behavioural change in organizations to drive impact and ROI’, co-authored with Jack and Patti Phillips of the ROI Institute, was published on May 3rd, 2016 by Kogan Page.

Emma Weber

Emma Weber is the founder of Lever – Transfer of Learning and developer of the Turning Learning into Action™ (TLA) methodology. Emma’s firm belief, and the platform on which she has built her successful global business, is that the key aim of learning in the workplace is to create tangible business benefits. She established Lever to help organisations and their employees convert learning into effective action back on the job. Under her guidance Lever now delivers TLA programs throughout 20 countries and in 12 languages. A recognized authority on the transfer of learning, Emma has been a guest speaker on learning effectiveness at conferences in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and the USA. Her book ‘Turning Learning into Action: a proven methodology for effective transfer of learning’ was published in March 2014 by Kogan Page. Emma’s second book, ‘Making Change Work: How to create behavioural change in organizations to drive impact and ROI’, co-authored with Jack and Patti Phillips of the ROI Institute, was published on May 3rd, 2016 by Kogan Page.

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