Volume 15, Issue 1, 2020

1.Recommendations for Well Designed Training

- Mark Roberts

Good training needs thorough preparation. It is important that trainees appreciate the reason for the training, so the business case needs to presented to trainees before they enrol on the course, objectives set, using Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Related (SMART) as a guide. The number of these goals should be limited to what can reasonably be expected in the time allowed. There is the option of increasing quantity by having more sessions, spaced out to give time for practice in between, and this is more effective when there is a lot of material. A multimodal approach gives the benefit of different methods, e.g. lectures, role play, demonstrations. E-learning allows trainees to choose their own pace, and can be highly successful. As there are still technophobes among us e-courses must be user-friendly, maybe to the point of being a game. Enjoyment greatly enhances learning, and this should be borne in mind whatever modes of training are being used.


2. Leadership Training: How to Improve Current Practice

- Jay McCloskey

This paper describes what needs to be done before, during and after leadership training. The start point should be training needs analysis, both as to what the training should involve and who should be trained. The training should be designed to suit the organisation and the trainees, and ideally use a mix of methods, e.g. lectures, e-learning, demonstrations. Afterwards there should be strong support from supervisors, and from the peer group, which makes it doubly important that the training is seen to be valuable. Evaluation is vital to assess the impact of the training. The Kirkpatrick model looks at four areas of outcomes – reaction of participants, level of learning, transfer of new skills to the workplace, and results in terms of benefit to the organisation. This model is popular, but it has been questioned whether fulfilling all four criteria necessarily leads to success.


3. How Can Soft Skills Training Enhance Organisational Performance?.

- Egle Grigaliunaite

Training for its own sake has intrinsic value for the individual, but to be valuable to an organisation it needs to move on to the next stage – training transfer, where the knowledge and skills gained are applied to the needs of the workplace. In hard skills, the connection is generally obvious. It is necessary to perform X, therefore skills in X need to be taught. With soft skills the connection is less clear, but perhaps even more important. The knowledge inside the head could be extensive, but it needs to extend outwards in terms of communication, self-management, managing interpersonal relationships, and making sound decisions. High-level skills combined with disorganisation and antipathy may be no use at all. Hard skills enable people to perform tasks. Soft skills enable people to work together for a common goal.


4.Using Coaching to Address the Transfer Problem

- Jo Minns

Training courses only become fully effective when the new knowledge is applied in the workplace, and continues to be applied over time. There are varying estimates of successful long-term training transfer, some as low as 10%. Even high estimates come with a caveat that the effectiveness fades over time. Post-training transfer strategies are needed to cement the new learning (not to add content). One effective method is one-to-one coaching, if conditions are right. As far as possible, the training environment should mirror the work environment and the training should be clearly relevant to the job and career development. Sufficient time should be given not just to go through the course, but to absorb the new knowledge and reflect on how it will help, to find opportunities to practise, and to discuss results with a view to the future. The coaching environment is good for this.


5.The Role of Supervisory Support in Training Transfer

- Rose Jacobson

For training to be worthwhile, the new skills have to be transferred to the workplace. For this transfer to happen, the trainee needs to maintain a high level of motivation. Part of this is feeling that they have the ability to carry out projects, and that their work is valued. Supervisors need to enhance this motivation right from the start. In the early stages the motivation needs to be for learning, and the supervisor needs good communication skills to convey the value of the skills and knowledge that need to be acquired. After training the supervisor role is more about support, and motivating the trainee to transfer the new skills and knowledge to work. This means emphasising showing the relevance of trainee actions to the success of the project and continuing support when it gets challenging. They should not expect instant excellence, but encourage development and praise successes.


6.Leveraging Supervisor Support to Improve Training Transfer: Applying Foxon’s Process Approach

- Victoria Harrison

Learning may happen invisibly through experience, but for greater reliability it needs to be organised in a way that encourages each stage to develop. The earliest stage is gathering new information, but this only has value when it is applied in the workplace – training transfer. Transfer has its own stages, as described in Foxon’s process model. The first stage is intention, of itself not productive but essential for motivation. The next stage is initiation, the beginnings of applying newly acquired skills at work. The third stage is maintenance, where the new learning becomes habit. Supervisors have an important role here. They need to give time and space for thinking, trying, practising, as well as making mistakes, pondering on these mistakes and learning anew. There needs to be steady supportive feedback, to keep motivation high through the tricky bits until maintenance is second nature. Then perhaps it is time for more advanced training. Learning never stops. .


7.Training Older Workers: Misconceptions and Best Practice

- Arna Hillers

Among the many changes in recent history is the overthrow of the career ladder from age 18 to 65. With an ageing population, in good health for longer, it does not make sense to have a pre-set retirement age. Education has also become more available after the traditional schooling period from school and university. Computer technology has been through a transition period, starting with domination by young whizz-kids, but gradually pervading the whole population. There ae many pensioners using computers for complex projects of their own. There is really no reason to use age as a criterion to end working life. People of all ages benefit from steady updating of their skills and employers also reap the benefit of this. If there have to be adjustments, for example, demonstrating something that younger workers learnt at school, it is well worth the investment to retain staff with long experience.