Your education offerings only produce business value when participants transfer their learning to their work.
Their applied learning to their job is the real reward of your education efforts.
This means that your education offerings should be delivered in ways that are the easiest to learn and apply. Not delivered in ways that are easiest to create and present.
The Two Vital Questions
Whether your organization’s education programs are seen as valuable or worthless depends upon the response to two really important questions says the authors of The Field Guide To The 6Ds.
Your participants ask:
1. Can I actually do this the way I was just taught?
Obviously, the answer to this question comes at the end of the presentation. However, the presenter must keep it in mind from the development to the delivery of the presentation.
Of course the majority of presenters want yes response to this question. But to get a yes response, the presentation must address
That the learner (participant) feels:
- Confident in their ability to apply the new information.
- That an opportunity exists to apply the new information.
- That there are ample ways to get help if they need it when applying the new information.
Confidence comes from experience. If participants get to practice the new behavior in a safe environment, their confidence increases. One way to increase confidence is to ask participants to mentally visualize applying the new behavior. They can actually practice the new action in their mind.
Also, follow up tips and job aids can help boost confidence. And they help ensure a yes response.
2. Will I even make the effort to apply this information?
The second question is more difficult to get an affirmative response. It has to do with learners’ motivation to change their attitude, behavior and skills.
In order to even make an effort to apply the new information, the learner must feel that:
- The presentation was relevant, practical and useful.
- The presentation convinced them that the new attitude, behavior or skill is better than what they did in the past.
- Their new efforts will be acknowledged and rewarded in way that they value.
Useful For Evaluations Too
These two questions should also be adapted for your education evaluation surveys.
If you are not asking participants if they feel prepared to use the presentation on the job, you are missing the real value of the presentation. If an education program scores low on this question, then the program needs to be changed.
Measuring how the learner actually uses the presentation on the job is more difficult. Yet it is critical to the success of your education offerings. At a minimum you should ask the participant after a period of time if they applied the presentation and if it worked.
What questions do you use on an evaluation to gauge a participant’s perception to apply what they have learned? How do measure if a participant actually used what they learned in your education program?