Using technology to support learning transfer.


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The primary objective of any learning intervention is clear: to increase knowledge acquisition and change behaviours. Whether that comes in the form of compliance training, upskilling and reskilling or refresher training – the objective is ultimately the same. We want our people to transfer the knowledge and skills they’ve acquired away from the classroom.

But all too often L&D spend the majority of their time focusing on delivery methods, smile sheets and completion rates – none of which support our ultimate goal. So how can we use technology to encourage our people to apply the learning away from the classroom? Well, first things first, let’s agree on a definition:

What is learning transfer?

According to experts, learning transfer is the art of taking skills and behaviour learned in a training environment and transferring them to one’s role. And if this doesn’t take place, organisations have essentially wasted the time and money invested in the training course. But sadly, it’s very rare, with some estimates putting the successful transfer rate of training between 10-22%.

What role does technology play?

Like many areas of L&D, technology is a facilitator in transferring learning to the workplace, rather than a tool to do so. But, in today’s world, we rely heavily on technology. We use it to make sure we’re up on time for work, to connect with friends, family and colleagues across the globe in just a few clicks, to manage projects more efficiently in the workplace. Technology is at the heart of almost everything we do in the modern world – and learning is no different. Here are three ways in which technology can help you encourage your people to apply learning in their day jobs:

  1. Build psychological safety

One of the biggest barriers our learners face when it comes to applying newly learnt skills or knowledge on-the-job is the fear of failure. This fear of failure means our people will procrastinate on tasks, deter using them and as such – sabotage their own chances of success. All whilst the learning they acquired is becoming less and less easy to recall (and in turn, apply).

To overcome this, our people need environments that they feel safe and comfortable to try – and of course, safe and comfortable to fail in. And a great way to facilitate that environment is by encouraging collaboration and engagement amongst teams. Tools such as Totara Engage create a sense of community amongst learners and provide quick and easy access to key information in the flow of work. Combining both of these provides a sense of camaraderie amongst your people, and allows them to quickly double-check their knowledge before applying it in the real world. And applying new knowledge and skills doesn’t seem so scary when you have the support of your colleagues and learning platform behind you, that’s for sure.

  1. Provide coaching and feedback

To ensure learning is being transferred to the workplace appropriately, managers and coaches need a space to provide feedback, tips and words of encouragement to team members. And a talent experience platform is a great space to do just that. They provide a space inside the learning platform that gives trainers and subject matter experts a direct connection to learners, to provide this all-important feedback. Plus, if needed, trainers can nudge learners in the right direction to refresh their knowledge and skills through eLearning or on-demand resources, all from within one platform.

  1. Make learning social

Social learning is a great way to encourage behavioural change in the workplace. Learning platforms that facilitate social learning provide visual concrete examples of the learning in action, rather than bombarding employees with countless theories in the hope they find meaning amongst it all. For this reason, learners are more inclined to – and confident in – applying their learning in the workplace. They’ve witnessed exactly how it is done and know what they need to do to use their newly acquired knowledge or skills.

So, if you’re looking for ways to make your learning last in the memories of your people, and make sure they actually apply it at work – it’s time to think about learning transfer. If you want to learn how Totara TXP can help aid this process, get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.