You cannot get good results in Level 4 Evaluation (Results) if you didn’t get good results in Level 3 (Transfer). And you cannot get good results in Level 3 unless you are able to get good results in Level 2 (Mastery). And the Level 1 (Satisfaction) happiness index – is just that. Don’t be confused with that leading to success – although its absence can be the proverbial boat anchor. But that mostly depends on the motivation of the Learner – a Recruiting/Selection issue versus a Training/Learning design issue.
So besides the responsibilities of managers for insisting on application/transfer of the new knowledge/skills – and not the CLO falling down on the job – what can affect transfer?
It most likely won’t Transfer if the content wasn’t authentic” enough. What’s enough versus what is not enough? Only Pilot-Testing with representatives of your Target Audience can help you assess what is “authentic enough.” But usually the analyst/ designer/ developer better have what Neil Rackham called a “valid success model” to base the design upon. See Neil’s 56 minute video on Training Design Criteria here.
And then there is good versus bad instructional design. Training versus Telling, etc.
Next is the application exercises – what we refer to in PACT as the APPOs – which follow the INFOs and DEMOs. If the application exercises do not ring true to the learners who are really performers – there is only a slight chance that learning will occur – due mostly to the robustness of the human being – able to learn despite bad design/ bad content.
Are your application exercises Micky Mouse – or real enough and meaningful enough for time to be spent in practicing the application of the content?
When the Learning is over – do the Learners/Performers know what to do when they get “back to the ranch?” Or will this be something for them to figure out? When the new learning proves to be a bit of a struggle to adopt/adapt – will they “bail” on it all? Have their managers been prepared to reinforce the new behaviors/thinking despite the results not being reinforcing to start?
For me – anchoring all of my Instructional Design to a Performance Model – has been the secret to success. Getting the client and other key stakeholders together to first view the view of Performance Competence – and concur – is key. Back to the valid success model.
Back to the Neil Rackham 56 minute video – and to the Geary Rummler 46 minutes video on Performance-Based Training – for anchoring your content to Performance Analysis – and employing a solid approach to Design.
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