Steve Willis is vice president of professional services at VitalSmarts.
Hardly a training goes by that a participant doesn’t invoke the training version of the Vegas rule: What happens in training, stays in training. Let me explain.
Too often, trainers think the beginning of their course is the beginning of their participant’s learning experience. But if you think about it, the learning experience begins way before 8:00 a.m. on the first day of class (or 8:20, if your classes are like mine). When participants reach the class, they’re actually in the middle of their learning experience. They are bringing with them scenarios, frustrations, and context from past failures. And likewise, the end of the class shouldn’t be considered the end of their learning experience. Good trainers hope and expect that a person acquires much of their learning in the process of doing—of practicing the skills and approaches in real-life situations.
So how does the Vegas rule impede learning? I remember one participant, Angela, who parted with her learning as the training ended. I ran into her a couple of days later and found that although she’d rated the skills as “very useful” on the course evaluation, she was scoring low on her “actually applied the skills” score. What she learned in training had stayed in training—end of story.
So, what are you doing during training to make sure the learning continues outside the classroom? What’s worked and what hasn’t worked? Post your comment below and let me know. Angela needs help!