Cover Image
close this bookDesigning Human Settlements Training in African Countries - Volume 2: Trainer's Tool Kit (HABITAT, 1994, 182 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentForeword
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentThe lecture
View the documentVisual aids
View the documentQuestion and answer
View the documentDiscussion
View the documentDemonstration
View the documentSimulation
View the documentThe case method
View the documentCritical incidents
View the documentRole-playing
View the documentInstrumentation
View the documentBrainstorming
View the documentNominal group technique (NGT)
View the documentForce field analysis
View the documentAction planning
View the documentOther learning transfer strategies
View the documentPerformance analysis & needs assessment
View the documentTraining impact evaluation
View the documentTraining the staff to train
View the documentCoaching
View the documentTeam development
View the documentRole negotiation
View the documentIntergroup conflict intervention
View the documentOrganizational goal setting
View the documentA closing note

Other learning transfer strategies

Learning Emphasis




Organization Focus




All the beads in the world won’t make a necklace until you string them together.

- Korean Proverb

The learning environment and the daily work environment for the participants of a training programme are like two different worlds. The learning environment is a “closed” situation in which learners are encouraged to think about and practise new skills and behaviours. Here, the emphasis is on experimentation, and the rewards go to participants who are willing to step out and try new things.

The daily work environment for most participants in training is quite different. The emphasis, in most cases, is on conformity with established work habits and practices. Experimentation is rarely rewarded in this environment. In fact, there may be severe penalties for doing things differently unless prior approval is obtained.

The implications for learning transfer between these two environments is all too clear. Without adequate preparation, the transfer of learning may be doomed to failure. For example, it would be disastrous to send a training participant who has been taught the values of participative management back to a work environment in which the methods used to accomplish work are strongly autocratic. It would be disastrous, that is, unless the participant has developed strategies for coping with the situation. Such strategies might include:

1. Encouraging gradual change by personally demonstrating the value of participative management in motivating people to top performance in such a way that the managers and supervisors can see the results for themselves.

2. Locating managers who share your management philosophy and working with them to develop strategies for influencing the work practices of other managers.

3. Learning to cope with the personal frustration produced by having to associate regularly with autocratic methods and ways of thinking.

The point is, there are many aspects of the working environment - values, policies, procedures, personal practices and, even, the physical layout of offices - that can discourage a training participant from attempting to apply new behaviour and skills. These work environment aspects, plus resistance from past personal habits, can present the participant with a potent obstacle to learning transfer.

Earlier in the tool kit, the training participant was introduced to force-field analysis as a powerful tool for analysing and planning for change. There are two other excellent learning-transfer tools that can be used to link the learning environment to the world of work. They are: (a) learning contracts, and (b) planning for learning transfer.

LEARNING CONTRACTS

One of the best strategies for assuring back-home application of new skills and behaviours is the so-called “learning contract.” A unique feature of the learning contract is that it is negotiated before a person leaves for the training. The intention is to create a bond of understanding and mutual expectation for specific improvements in performance between a person to be trained and that person’s supervisor. As a result of the contracting process, both tend to feel accountable for and committed to the transfer of relevant skills and behaviours from the learning environment to the work environment. You might say that the person to be trained has received his or her marching orders and knows in advance what he or she is supposed to bring home from the training.

Written learning contracts are more useful than oral ones. The process of negotiating a learning contract in writing proceeds as follows.

Step 1

A meeting is arranged between a person who will be attending training and the supervisor or supervisors. Those to attend the meeting are furnished with literature on the programme and asked to read it and to be prepared to discuss performance improvements they would like to see as a direct result of the training.

Step 2

At the meeting, discussion focuses on: (a) what training opportunities are available to programme participants, (b) areas of skill improvement or behaviour change that are reasonable to expect from a participant in this programme, and (c) specific ways that programme learning’s can be put to use in bringing about desirable skill improvements and behaviour changes at work.

Step 3

A written contract is prepared to document needs and expectations expressed at the meeting. The document is circulated among those who took part in the meeting.

Step 4

The learning contract is signed by the person to be trained and the supervisor or supervisors concerned. The contract is taken by the person to be trained to the programme. It may be shared with the trainer. It can serve as a blueprint for actions by the participant to make the most of the learning experience.

A suggested format for a pre-training contract for learning is shown on the next page.

The Learning Contract (A Pre-Training Activity)

Name: _______________________________________________________________________
Title: _________________________________________________________________________
Organization: __________________________________________________________________

1. Why does my participation in this training programme seem to be a good investment of time and money for my organization?

_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________

2. In what specific ways can my work unit benefit from my participation?

_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________

3. On what specific areas of knowledge, skill, attitude and behaviour improvement should I concentrate my efforts as a participant?

_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________

4. What specific help, support and encouragement do I want from my supervisor in order to apply what I learn to make the intended performance improvement?

_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________

Signed:

______________________________________________________________

Participant

Date

______________________________________________________________

Supervisor

Date

______________________________________________________________

Supervisor

Date

Planning for Learning Transfer

Training programmes vary in length and complexity as do the skills and behaviours to be learned from them. Some learnings may be germane to the job requirements of all participants. Others may relate to only a few of the them. Either way, the ultimate responsibility for what is learned rests with the participants themselves.

A trainer can help participants consider possibilities for using new concepts, practices or skills to improve the way they perform in their work. One technique is to invite them to assess the value of what they have been learning to their own work practices and to plan specific changes in job performance that make use of these learnings. This is done by asking them, at regular intervals, to complete an assessment form. How often the assessment is done depends on the length of the programme and the complexity of the material. In most cases, assessments should be completed by participants at least once a day and/or at the end of a block of related learning material.

A form suitable for use by a trainer in helping participants assess the back-home transfer potential of specific learning content is shown on the next page.

Participant Learning Assessment Form

Name: ______________________________________________________
Programme: _________________________________________________

Date: ________________________

1. On a scale of one to five, how would you rate your level of satisfaction with today’s training as a learning experience for you? (Put a check mark)


Figure

2. What accounts for your rating?

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

3. What did you learn today that you feel can significantly improve your job performance?

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

4. How do you intend to begin using what you learned?

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

5. What action or actions might you take to improve your chances of using what you learned to improve your performance in the next 30 to 90 days?

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________