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Transfer of Learning Boosts!

Jun 18, 2019

You recently did a training for XYZ Childcare Center.  The training went great, everyone was engaged and many great ideas were shared.  The teachers who attended were excited to add strategies mentioned into their classroom.  While you are visiting a center, you see one of the most active participants and ask her about how the changes in her classroom have been going.  She looks at you with a blank face.  Her response, she does not even remember what she was going to implement and as a result has not made many changes in her classroom.  Your heart drops.   All that hard work planning the training and the excitement and engagement from the participants just fizzled before you. 

What happened?  The participants were engaged, you limited the amount of content to avoid training overload, and you had great interactive activities. 

Memory is not concrete and participants will only retain parts of the content.  How much varies depending on type of training, length of training, and type of learner.  Interested in learning more about memory retention, check out this article: https://www.worklearning.com/2010/12/14/how-much-do-people-forget/

While the exact amount of information retained by participants will vary, the most important take away is that participants will not retain every detail learned, even if they were passionate about the subject.  Trainers need to use creative methods to help participants recall and retain the information. 

Transfer of learning activities are a great tool that can be used to help participants retain information.  When planning the most effective TOL there are a few things to keep in mind. 

  • Extend beyond the training session.
  • Actively involve participants.
  • Relate back to the content.

Some examples of TOL activities to help participants retain information.
calendar TOL

Calendar Remind:
At the end of the session ask participants to pull out their cell phones and at selected intervals (the next day, 3 days after, 2 weeks after) have participants put a reminder on their calendar to send them a notification.  Provide prompts or questions for the participants at those intervals related to content.


mentor TOL
Have participants pair up with another participants.  Have participants share contact information and plan dates/times that they will get together and update each other on the changes they made.  Use prompts or checklists to guide what participants will talk about. For example, after a training on proper diapering procedures have participants set a date to visit each other at their center.  With a diapering checklist have the other participant observe diaper changes using the checklist.

Dawn Griffin
(Northern Bluegrass Region)