Train Transfer Sustain | Moving Past the Training Event


By Dr. Conrad Gottfredson and Bob Mosher
You’ve trained them. Now what? They go back to their desks, immediately apply what they learned, and voila—increased performance. Not quite.
There’s more to it than just the training event. In fact, there are two additional phases in the learning ecosystem that must be addressed to achieve learning success.
Train. Transfer. Sustain.

Think of your learners as ‘performers’, now set them on their journey with the overall destination being competency.
To become competent in our ever-evolving business landscape, performers must clearly master things. You have to train people up to a point of mastery. You definitely do not want a pilot flying a plane without first mastering the lift and landing.
One of the challenges of the journey to mastery is that learners achieve a level of mastery at different rates. So, in any given event, in any given period of time, you have a range of mastery levels that happen and are happening.
Then, within this range, we also have the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve. This is where performers, once back to work, begin to forget, at a very rapid rate, whatever it is they have mastered and learned in their event-based experience.
So how does one ever get to their destination—competency? It’s one thing to master something, it’s another to be competent at it. Take for example a story Bob tells on this topic, he received an A+ in accounting while in undergrad, but there was no way he was prepared to actually do your taxes. Mastery did not transfer to competency.
The journey does not end at mastery; your performer must get to some level of competence. This stage is a crucial one as it is where all the different “mastered” pieces are integrated together to form a whole. And they are integrated through our experience as we apply those mastery items to our job, all while adjusting and adapting them.  
Transfer is a challenge for performers as they refer back to the training event where “they practiced in class” “were given real-life scenarios” “put in a hands-on lab that simulated the workflow…”, trying to make sense of it all.
But, at the end of the day these are all still practice situations—not the actual workflow.
To further complicate things, not every performer’s workflow is the same as the next, and your workflow today is different than tomorrow. So, making that journey of taking whatever it is that is mastered, integrating it with one’s existing skillset, and becoming competent, more skilled, more able to do what is needed to do on the job is no small feat!
And to complicate things, what is current ‘now’ may not be current an hour from now. So, it’s not only how a performer transfers to competency, but how do they remain competent? To become a better performer over time—that’s the Sustain stage.
And the driver of that stage—the element of change.
When we do things over and over again, we master things. We become competent. Then it changes. That challenge of overriding old skill sets with new skill sets is the greatest learning challenge that there is. You really can’t train your way out of it. No organization can afford to do that.
So, to unlearn and to relearn that is the real challenge.
The need for Train, Transfer, and Sustain has been around forever. People have always had to leave an event and be on their own with their newfound skills and knowledge. We haven’t, and aren’t, giving people the tools to truly navigate the transfer and sustain stages.
But with the 5 Moments of Need Methodology, we do.
And we do so by focusing on the Moment of Apply and building solutions and tools to support people at the Moments of Apply, Change, and Solve. Then, their digital coach if you will, is with them at the critical stages of Transfer and Sustain.
We can intentionally make a difference and it changes everything. It brings greater efficiency to every part of that journey through Train Transfer and Sustain.
The journey’s destination is again, competency and the time to competency. With the Five Moments of Need approach, and Train Transfer Sustain as your deliverable, we see time to competency reduced considerably due to what is enabled beyond the Training stage.  
This blog was excerpted from Episode 3 of our Performance Matter Podcast.
To learn more about the Moments of Apply, Change, and Solve visit our resources page.

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