A variety of tools are available to keep the participant engaged and focused on the transfer of learning to the job (application and impact). Figure 6-5 provides a list of techniques to enhance results from learning.

Figure 6-4. Example of Performance Contract

Performance Contract

Participant: Manager: Program Manager: Objective: Increase sales with existing clients by 20% Evaluation Period: Jan – March

Improvement Measure: Monthly Sales Current Performance: $56,000/mo. Target Performance: $67,000

Action Steps


Meet with key clients to discuss issues, concerns, opportunities.

Jan. 31

A. What is the unit of measure? Monthly sales,

existing clients

Review customer feedback data—look for trends and patterns.

Feb. 1

B. What is the value (cost) of one unit?

25% profit margin

Counsel with “at risk” clients to correct problems and explore opportunities for improvement.

Feb. 2

C. How did you arrive at this value? Standard value

Develop business plan for high-potential clients.

Feb. 5

D. How much did the measure change during the evaluation period (monthly value)? $13,000

Provide recognition to clients with long tenure.


E. What other factors could have contributed to this improvement? Changes in market, new promotion

Schedule appreciation dinner for key clients.


F. What percent of this change was actually caused by this program? 40%

Encourage marketing to delegate more responsibilities.


G. What level of confidence do you place on the above information? (100% = Certainty and 0% = No confidence) 30%

Follow up with each discussion—discuss improvement and plan other action.


Intangible benefits: Client satisfaction, loyalty Comments: Excellent, hard-hitting program

Figure 6-5. Examples of Application Techniques

Making Learning Stick
Action Learning Sticky Blog
Action Plans Sticky Heat Map
Application Checks Sticky Kit for Managers
Do Not Disturb Sticky Learning Community
Do Now Sticky Microblog
Feel-Felt-Found Sticky Objectives
KISS: Keep It Simple or Supervised Sticky Wiki
A Little Help From Friends Strategy Link
Live Pilot Thank-You Note
Manager Module Threaded Discussion
Note to Self Transfer Certificate
Picture This Virtual Tutor
Pop-Up Reflections What's Wrong With This Picture?
QR Codes Wrap It Up

Source: Carnes, B. (2012). Making Learning Stick: Techniques for Easy and Effective Transfer of Technology-Supported Training. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.


A final area of design involves creating a role for the managers of the participants. As mentioned earlier, this is a very powerful group and having specific items, activities, tools, and templates for them can make a tremendous difference in business results.

The Most Influential Group

Research has consistently shown that the managers of a group of participants are the most influential group in helping participants achieve application and impact objectives, apart from their own motivation, desire, and determination. No other group can influence participants as much as their immediate managers. Figure 6-6 shows how learning is transferred to the job, using three important groups of stakeholders involved in this success: participants, their immediate managers, and the program manager. Three timeframes are possible: prior to the program, during the program, and after the program.

This matrix creates nine possible blocks of activities to transfer what is learned from a particular program to the job. The transfer not only includes the behaviors and actions that must be taken (application), but also the impact that must be obtained (impact measures). For example, the participant can be involved in preprogram activities to set specific goals to achieve before the program is implemented (block number 4). During the program, the participant will plan specific actions to improve a business measure (block number 5). After the program is conducted, the participant will apply the material, achieve the business impact improvement, and report it to interested stakeholders (block number 6).

Figure 6-6. The Transfer of Success to the Job


Before During After










Program/ Manager




In another example, the manager can meet with the participant and set a goal before attending the program (block number 1). During implementation, the manager completes a manager's module or provides coaching as part of it (block number 2). After the program, the manager follows up to make sure the material is used appropriately and the business impact has been achieved (block number 3). The process continues until activities are identified for every block.

Research on this matrix shows that the most powerful blocks for achieving learning transfer to the job are blocks 1 and 3. Unfortunately, managers do not always see it that way. They underestimate their influence. They must be reminded of their influence and provided tools that take very little time to apply to ensure the result of the project is used and drives the business results. This is one of the most powerful areas to explore for improving business results.

Preprogram Activities

At the very least, managers should set expectations for participants involved in any type of activity, program, project, event, or initiative. It only takes a matter of minutes to set that expectation, and the results can be powerful. Preprogram activities can range from a formal performance contract, described earlier, to an informal, twominute discussion prior to being involved in the program. A full array of activities should be provided that take very little time. Even a script could be helpful. The important point is that managers must be reminded, encouraged, or even required to do this.

During-the-Program Activities

Sometimes, it is important for the manager to have input into the design and development of the program. Possible activities include having managers (or at least someone representing the manager group) help design program content. Also, managers could review the content and serve as subject experts to approve it. Managers could be involved in a manager's module, learning parts of the process, providing one-on-one coaching for participants needing help with specific parts, or just observing the program (or a portion of it). Managers could serve on an advisory committee for the program or review the success of others in the program. The key is to connect the manager to the design and content of the program. Manager involvement will help focus the program on business results, which they will find extremely important.

Post-Program Activities

The most basic action a manager can take is to follow up to ensure the content of the project is being used properly. Suggesting, encouraging, or even requiring application and impact can be very powerful. Managers should be available to provide assistance and support as needed to make the program successful. Just being available as a sounding board or to run interference to ease the application may be enough. Although not necessary, post-program activities can be more involved on a formal basis, where managers actively participate in follow-up evaluations. Managers may sign off on results, review a questionnaire, follow up on action plans, collect data, or present results. In any case, they make a difference.

Reinforcement Tools

In some situations, a management reinforcement workshop is offered to teach managers how to reinforce and guide the behaviors and actions needed to achieve a desired level of performance in business measures. Reinforcement workshops are very brief, usually ranging from two to four hours, but can be extremely valuable. In addition to the workshops, a variety of tools can be created and sent to managers. The tools include checklists, scripts, key questions, resources, and contacts needed to keep the focus on results.

Sometimes managers volunteer for a coaching role where they are asked to be available to assist the participants with a formal coaching process. In this scenario, managers are provided details about coaching, how to make it work, and what is required of them. This is extremely powerful when a participant's immediate manager serves as a coach to accomplish business results.


This chapter focused on what is necessary to achieve business results from a design perspective—designing the communications, expectations, roles, content, and tools that are necessary for a participant to be fully involved. A program with the proper design, combined with a participant who is motivated to learn, will make achieving success a reality. Participants will explore connections to use the acquired knowledge and increase the tenacity to implement the tools and techniques. This approach provides the readiness, motivation, commitment, and tools needed to help achieve business alignment. The remainder of the book presents case studies.

< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >