We all know that employee training and development is important, crucial to an organization’s success. But how can we ensure that it is effective? How do we know if training affects actual job performance? Training professionals have coined the term learning transfer to describe the learning that takes place after the training, the kind of learning that is translated into doing.

Many experts agree that a supportive work environment can increase learning transfer. There are many things an organization can do to support learning. A few common threads include:

Encourage learners to create goals
Talk with learners about how the training will affect job performance
Explain the new skills obtained in the training will improve job performance
Learners should create goals that directly impact their job behavior

Follow-up is essential
Learning transfer occurs after the training ends, find opportunities to keep the focus top of mind
Coaching has a direct impact on learning transfer
Learning buddies help to share new knowledge in a more social atmosphere
Mentoring allows someone other than a direct supervisor to help with learning transfer
Find creative, social ways to reinforce learning – picnic lunch, bulletin board, electronic newsletter

Space out learning opportunities
Learning takes time to apply, be sure to give enough time and attention on reinforcement and integration of the material

Learning happens in the everyday interactions after the formal training workshop has occurred. Creating an environment and culture that is receptive and encouraging to the learning that happens will encourage actual learning transfer – which impacts job behavior and performance.