Top Tips to apply your learning!

How much do you remember about the last training course you attended? How much of it have you applied?

This is the single biggest challenge I see when delivering training programmes…making sure my clients and their delegates get a return on their investment.

Every time I deliver a session, I’m fully aware of the costs involved – for my time, the delegates’ time, possibly venue hire, and the cost of time away from the business. If you’re going to invest all this in training your people, why would you not want to maximise the chances of it sticking afterwards?

For the programmes we offer at PeopleUnboxed, we recommend a blended approach consisting of post-course application activities, 1-to-1 coaching conversations, and digital components including our MemoryBox app.

However, here are just a few simple and effective tips to consider after you’ve attended a course, or to suggest with your team when you’ve sent one of them on a course….

  1. Prioritise commitments – set yourself a number of commitments at the end of the course (where possible making these measurable using SMART), but don’t try to do everything at once or you’re likely not to achieve any of them! Pick the 2-3 most important ones and focus on those first. Once they become a habit you no longer need to focus on, revisit your list of commitments and pick a new one.
  2. Build into your PDP – it’s well established that around 70% of learning is done in role – we’ve all heard the saying practice makes perfect! After a course, before you forget what you’ve learned, ask yourself how you can use the information regularly within your role to embed it. Build this aspect into your PDP and review regularly.
  3. Schedule regular reflection time – at the end of a course, having spent a day focussed on ourselves and our development, we have the best intentions to apply the learning. However, life gets in the way! Once back in the real world, with all the distractions of our regular day job and home life duties, our personal development commitments often fall by the wayside. To overcome this, it’s critical to plan time in the diary for your own development. This can be as simple as 30 minutes a week or an hour a month, just to reflect back on your commitments and how you can apply them at work this coming week/month, and maybe a glance back over any relevant training materials to refresh your memory. When blocking this time out, be sure to pick a time you’ll stick to. For example, if you choose 4.30pm-5.00pm on a Friday, when it gets to the end of that week and you have some last minute things to get done, you’re likely to drop the personal time.
  4. Collaborate with a course buddy – this is a great way to keep yourself honest and increase accountability! Share your commitments with a friend, maybe one that attended the same course if possible, and ask them to follow up on you. You can return the favour for them too. Perhaps you agree the same weekly reflection time even, to review progress.
  5. Use your 1-to-1s proactively – put time aside in your weekly/monthly catch ups to update your line manager on your progress. Be proactive with this – don’t wait to be asked how it’s going, be prepared to talk through what you’ve changed, what’s gone well, what challenges you’ve faced, and what support you need from them to continue your personal development journey.