bridging the gap

Bridging the Gap from the Classroom to the Workplace – What’s the Secret?

The success of encouraging employees to train further and take courses is long recognized. In fact, companies that offer comprehensive training programs see a 24% improvement in their profit margins over those businesses that spend less on employee engagement and development. As well as this, 68% of workers claim that training and professional development is the most important company policy they look for when choosing a new job.

Unfortunately, not all training is created equally.

…In fact, a McKinsey study found that historically, only a quarter of respondents have found training to be helpful in improving employee performance. The bottom line is that training must come with an understanding of how to bridge the gap from the classroom to the workplace. Without this, you will never achieve true knowledge retention, as there’s no way to put what you learn into practice. McKinsey show this in reality, where trainees can forget as much as 70% of what they’ve learned within an hour!

Forbes give their own insight to the research from McKinsey, and highlight a few key areas to focus on if you want to see the potential benefits come into fruition for your own company.

  • Plan first – People aren’t starting with nothing, they are not a blank slate. It’s important to know exactly what your specific teams want to get out of training before you start.
  • Sprints, not marathons – small bursts of productive learning are proven to be better than trying to teach staff everything about one topic.
  • Real-world environments are far more complex than the classroom. Application is essential – individuals need to be able to see how to apply what they are learning to their own workplace and reality, or it will never stick.
  • Look for both interesting and useful – the combination of these two factors helps trainees to remember what’s being taught, and put it into action.

From having a clear idea of what you want to get out of your training, what we call the tactical opportunities you’re looking to gain, to planning short bursts of training that can be readily applied to your teams, these are goals that are built for real-world results. Following these guidelines can make the difference between innovative and successful training, and wasting valuable resources on a training program built for failure.

Creating a contextual element to your program

This advice is invaluable in choosing the right program for your business needs. Before you can even begin with a training solution, precision coaching can help you work out what you need, identifying your real-world placement and providing guidance and tools on how achieve specific things in your own environment. Look for coaches who have mastered the balance of engaging and immersive training sessions that employees of all stages enjoy participating in, at the same time as providing practical value that enhances engagement and results.

You coaching choice cannot be ‘one size fits all’, because in reality this doesn’t exist. The strongest solution for Agile training offers a highly facilitated experience that helps your company reach targeted objectives in your exact real-world setting.

This should start by understanding your workplace, its culture and challenges, and what you want to get out of the training you’re having. Without this element incorporated, your business will suffer from what is known as interference, where information is not learned deeply, and as much as 75% of the knowledge could be forgotten within as little as six days.

Each business is different, and no two teams are exactly alike.

When the coaching and training techniques are both part of an ongoing process, you know that you can follow up as much as you need, working with key stakeholders to get the most out of this journey. This enables you to walk away with the tangible deliverables and improvements you need for your own business objectives and to enhance employee engagement. Understanding the road map for your training, you can revisit your goals at any stage of the process.

Cognitive science has proven that in order for training to be successful it needs to build on existing knowledge, in a cyclical way. Trainees need to then use the information enough for the brain to recognise how important it is, and the benefits it can provide.

With a clear Agile roadmap which can be revisited at the relevant junctures, teams are given the autonomy to own their own development. Rather than give over responsibility to a third party, effectively outsourcing their own success, managers and staff are invited to control the maturity of their projects in their own hands, creating useable, interesting skills that have true value, and bridging the gap between the classroom and the workplace once and for all.

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