Training Professionals: Put this Article in Your Pocket

If you are involved in workplace training at all, you should read this: The Science of Training and Development in Organizations: What Matters in Practice. I saw this article recommended on LinkedIn via Will Thalheimer’s blog, Will at Work Learning. There is so much relevant information in this 28 page–really 22 page if you ignore the references–review article that it’s hard to summarize it in a short post. Also, I don’t want you to read my summary, I want you to read the actual article because it’s that good. It is an academic paper, but it takes a practical approach to the research and provides checklists to help you implement the recommendations they make based on the research and theory.

I’ll just leave you with a few quotes that I found most interesting and repeat my humble request to go read this amazing article!

“Leaders often send the signal to training developers, either directly or inadvertently, that there is no time or need to diagnose training needs. This leads to suboptimal training.”


“One should be careful not to oversell or create false expectations when communicating about forthcoming training programs. Trainees should understand how the training is relevant to successful job performance but should receive realistic previews of what and how content will be covered.”


“What happens in training is not the only thing that matters—a focus on what happens before and after training can be as important. Steps should be taken to ensure that trainees perceive support from the organization, are motivated to learn the material, and anticipate the opportunity to use their skills once on (or back on) the job.”


“As we will note later, what supervisors do and say about training affects the trainee. Smith-Jentsch et al. (2001) found that one misdirected comment by a team leader can wipe out the full effects of a training program.”


“Arthur, Bennett, Stanush, and McNelly (1998) conducted a metaanalysis of skill decay studies and reported that the day after training, trainees exhibit little to no skill decay, but 1 year after training, trainees have lost over 90% of what they learned.”


2 thoughts on “Training Professionals: Put this Article in Your Pocket

  1. instructionaldesignthatsoars says:

    Another read to consider is Instructional Design That Soars. Guila Muir’s Kite Method is used around the country and taught at many universities.

  2. Brian Washburn says:

    I caught this article on Will Thalheimer’s blog a few weeks ago. I thought it was so powerful that I had a bunch of training folks at my organization read it, then we discussed it over lunch. There’s a lot in there!

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