SYL Professional Development

Make Learnings Stick

How to Get the Most out of your Development Opportunity

Are you taking a closer look at “learning transfer”? Are you wondering how to make sure the lessons taught through your leadership training and development efforts stick weeks, months, or years later? There is no magic bullet to ensure people apply what they learn. But there are steps you can take to create leadership programs, experiences and supports that improve the likelihood that lessons will be learned and applied. Over time, new skills, perspectives, or behaviors can be reinforced, until they become unconsciously and competently put to use.

Start to Think in Three Phases:
What happens before and after the formal part of a program or development effort is just as important as the content and delivery. This is true whether the initiative is long or short, in-person or virtual, ongoing or one-time.

As soon as you or someone you know has decided to participate in a development opportunity, the process begins. How do you get yourself or them thinking about leadership experiences, challenges, and needs How do you help them connect to the purpose, content and value of their developmentexperience?

The prepare phase involves good communication about logistics and expectations—but also begins to build an emotional connection to personalize the learning experience or opportunity. It is a chance for the learner to engage and excite —rather than approaching the process as another item on their calendar. Research shows that participants begin to engage in a development experience when they are able to make plans with a boss, mentor, or coach and discuss the support they will need. In addition, learners need information and activities to help them understand how the program will benefit them.

The content of a learning experience is important, but so is the way it is presented. Listening to speakers and reading information is a passive learning process—and information is less likely to stick than processes that connect and engage each person through applied practice. Whether you are working in a live, face-to-face setting or a virtual classroom, consider a mix of activities such as skill-building, action-learning, reflection, simulations, experiential activities, goal-setting and coaching.

Reinforcement and support at work—away from the learning environment and over time—is essential for learning transfer.

Most people need structures that foster the application of new concepts and practice of new skills to achieve behavior change. Learners need support and encouragement to get past the initial awkward phase that accompanies the application of new skills. Some options include action-learning projects tied to real work issues, conversations to help connect new learning to an existing business challenge, follow-up lessons through reading, discussion, eLearning assignments, toolkits or job aids, and coaching focused on making progress on goals.

Written by Tracy Enright Patterson and Diane Reinhold

Questions to Ask Yourself Before, During and After a Development Opportunity

  1. How might you start learning right away?
  2. How might you create opportunities for guided practice and skill development throughout the development opportunity?
  3. How might you create opportunities for the participants to use and continue new learning at work and beyond?

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Farewell my friends…

The SYL Committee would like to wish farewell to our three outgoing committee members.

Adam Johb – Business Development Manager, Biggar & District Credit Union
Adam’s kind heart was always evident when difficult decisions had to be made. His knack for simplifying the situation was extremely important this past year. He also knows how to make you laugh!

S – Strategic thinking – especially this year we’ve learned to think strategically and build other skills that will be helpful for our careers
Y – Yourself – you learn to believe in yourself and that you’re capable of more than you ever thought
L – Lifelong connections – I’ve developed connections from SYL events and being on the committee that will last a lifetime

Courtney Wishlow – Senior Communications Consultant, Conexus Credit Union
Within a short time in the credit union system Courtney has made an immense impact with SYL and Conexus. She is insightful, creative and shoots from the hip! Her generosity and encouragement is valued by all who know her.

S – synergy – we really meshed well, I have built lifelong relationships!
Y – you own it – accountablity, something that was hard, but so worth it
L – learning – this committee taught me a lot and I am so proud to be able to use these skills for so many years to come, thank you!

Cris Richer– Manager Human Resources, Diamond North Credit Union
Cris’ quiet observation of what is going on around him and summarizing it for everyone is a skill not many possess. His sharp wit and vast skill set for all things brought so many ideas to the group.

S – Successful Leaders
Y – Yield
L – Loyalty

That’s a Wrap…Goodbye 2015…Hello 2016!