“That was such a brilliant wedding. The best I have ever been to, and for sure that means the marriage will be a success!”
Or… who has ever blamed a failed marriage on the poor quality of the wedding ceremony?
And yet, in the L&D world, we seem to do this all the time when we measure a training event as a way of predicting future successful performance, or we blame poor performance solely on poor training.
For sure, there will be an ‘afterglow’ from a wonderful wedding, or training, that will carry on into real life. It is a great place to start, but how the sentiments and promises made at the event are transferred into day-to-day life is what really counts.
If you want ‘performance’ after a wedding, or a training event, there is more work to do. A lot more!
Just as a successful marriage cannot be achieved by a great wedding ceremony, so successful performance cannot be achieved by great training alone.
You need transfer, so that what you promise as a result of the event, happens. You need ongoing activities and improvements to support that transfer. You often need help from people around you to make a real success of things.
A training course, without lots of attention on learning transfer, and activities related to learning transfer, is going to be a wasted training course. You need to set people up before the course with a mindset that the course is but one step in many on a journey. You might tell people that it is a five-day programme, and only one day of it happens to be in the classroom. I am sure if you were talking to someone before their wedding, you would be talking about the wedding as an event, albeit a significant one, on the journey to happily ever after.
Before the big day you might line up the support crew and get them to commit to providing their support. You might design some activities for after the event to capitalise on the big day. And I mean more than just a honeymoon! That is far too short to make a significant difference to ongoing success.
Then there are things you can arrange for people to do on the big day, like make a few promises as to how they will behave in the future. They should be setting some goals and doing so publicly in front of friends and colleagues who will hold them accountable.
The real changes happen after the big day, whether that day is in the church or in the classroom.
What do you need to keep people doing, and practising? How can you help them keep the memories of the day, and maintain them so they are there, guiding everything they do? Those promises, those goals, those aspirations from the big day are just the start. So, how can you help people bring them to life so they become the way they live.
The next time you are designing a training event, think like a wedding planner who knows there is more than just a wedding going on. The event needs to make a lifetime shift. It needs to span from before the training day, to well after. It needs to do much more than just be a great day, it needs to change people, and to do that you need to think how you will follow it up and transfer learning from the training day into people’s lives.
Perhaps wedding planners and instructional designers have something to offer each other?
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