A practical guide to implementing the 5As Framework for making any learning and change intervention in organizations successful.
5As Framework for Increasing Impact of Training Sean Murray interviews Steve Gill about the 5As Framework for achieving business impact from training. This is a 45 minute Webinar with several audience polls and responses to chat room questions from audience.
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How would you answer the question, “Why do you think
learners forget what they’ve learned so quickly?” This is the question that Charles
Henderson asks in the Linkedin Learning, Education and Training Professionals
Group discussion. He has received nearly 700 (and counting) comments which
seems quite a lot for a Linkedin group. He must have hit a nerve.
Maybe it’s the request to keep comments to 10 words or less.
Maybe it’s the northern hemisphere summer down-time that gives some Linkedin
members more opportunity to contemplate this kind of question. I think it’s
more likely that this is a question that cuts deeply into the psyche of
educators and trainers. Respondents are not doubting the implicit assumptions that students and
trainees do not retain everything they learn and that this is an important issue
for schools and businesses. Rather, they readily acknowledge the problem and seem defensive about offering solutions.
When I asked Mr. Henderson about the large response to his
question, he said,
I guess I'm not alone
in believing that retention is the biggest challenge in the L&D profession.
Our industry is tasked with changing the results of our organizations, schools
and communities and we inevitably fall short if the learner doesn't retain what
The responses run the gamut from, in effect, saying that
learners are stupid and lazy to saying that instructors are incompetent and ineffective to saying that senior
management doesn’t know and doesn’t care. Most of the responses seem to be an
attempt at rationalizing the problem and placing blame.
In a way, I think everyone is right and no one is right. If
by “forgetting”, we mean the failure to apply what was learned in school or on
the job, then there are many individual and organizational factors that
to this. It’s not one thing. It’s learners who don’t know why they need to know.
It’s instructors who do not have reasonable expectations. It’s the failure of
managers to encourage and support learning. It’s having no opportunity to apply
new learning within a short period of time. And it’s because nobody is holding
the learner and organization accountable for applying learning. We know from research
that when these are the conditions, application of learning is highly unlikely.
This is true for technical skills as well as managerial and leadership
Learning and the retention of learning cannot be left to
trainers alone. Organizations as a whole must create an environmnet that supports the learning process.
Leaders must make learning a core value, managers must facilitate and support
learning for their direct reports, trainers must provide learning interventions
appropriate for the content, and learners must participate enthusiastically in
the process. Retention of learning is a systems problem, not an individual
employee or individual trainer problem.
Employee engagement is in decline according to a Gallup Inc.
report that was released this month. That might be the case, but without a
shared definition of employee engagement, we can’t agree on what can be done
about it, if anything.
Gallup defines levels of engagement in this way:
(30% of the U.S. population): Deeply committed to the success of their
organization and emotionally connected to its mission and goals. Routinely
willing to put forth discretionary effort.
(52% of the U.S. population): Less emotionally connected to their work and less
compelled to put forth extra effort. They show up for work but generally do
only the minimum required.
Disengaged (18% of the U.S. population): Actively against what the
organization, and their boss, is trying to get done.
In an April 2008 post, I asked this question about the
meaning of employee engagement: Is it about
enthusiasm for one’s job,
satisfaction from one’s work, acting to further the organization’s interests,
dedication to doing the work, applying discretionary effort, involvement in the
business, connections to others at work, emotional attachment to the company, a
sense of empowerment, or a willingness to go the extra mile to get something
done for the company? - See more at: http://stephenjgill.typepad.com/performance_improvement_b/2008/04/define-your-ter.html#sthash.FIP33ezE.dpuf
Sharlyn Lauby, of HR Bartender, offers this as an attempt at an all-inclusive definition:
I don’t have a problem with having different definitions as
long as we are clear about the definition we are using in a particular study or
in any action we take to improve engagement in a particular organization and situation.
Somebody might be enthusiastic about his or her work but not agree with the
direction of senior management, or vice versa. Increasing that person’s
engagement will depend on whether we are talking about attitudes toward the
work or attitudes toward strategic goals. One requires changing an employee's job and the other requires creating a shared vision.
I might quibble with Jane Hart’s assertion that continuous
learning is a new role for learning and development professionals. However, the more important point is that the urgency for this
role shift is growing every day. Workers don’t need a course schedule; they
need to continually acquire new knowledge, new skills, and new attitudes. And
they need L&D professionals to help them with this learning.
Hart writes that L&D professionals must change their
role in these ways:
“order takers” to business partners [working as a partner with team
“packaging” content-based solutions to “scaffolding” frameworks for learning to
take place [creating the conditions
for learning to take place]
a focus on learning to a focus on performance [learning is a means to an
end and that end is performance improvement, whether individuals, teams, or
teaching “old skills” to modeling “new skills” [working and learning in a
collaborative and networked world]
course designers/trainers to performance, collaboration and professional
learning specialists [providing learning assistance where, when, and how it
I would add these other ways that the L&D role must also
From scheduler of courses and
workshops to facilitator of on-demand, informal learning experiences
From resource for information
on-demand to curator of information vital to organizational performance
From content expert to learning
From passive responder to active pusher
The need for this role change will continue and become more
intense. As I wrote in a previous post:
accelerating pace of change and competition means that every employee must be
learning continuously. Course schedules and annual meetings are insufficient.
Managers must make continuous learning part of everyone's job.
T&D professionals have an obligation to meet the
learning and performance improvement needs of
employees. This means a dramatic
shift in role. Resistance to this change is to be expected because designing
and delivering courses and workshops is something that they can control and
therefore is safe and non-threatening. Continuous
workplace learning is ambiguous and messy, but it is imperative that L&D
professionals adapt to this evolving role.