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.”


Animated GIFs: Not just for dancing hamsters

Animated GIFs: Not just for dancing hamsters

While working on eLearnings, I realized that animated GIFs are wonderful for demonstrating simple concepts. They can explain a concept more concisely than a still image with a paragraph long caption and they work across all browsers and platforms, unlike flash or even video. I’ve been working on a course about GPS and steering for precision agriculture, and below are some of the animations I’ve created.

Multipath GPS errors occur when the GPS signal bounces off a nearby structure and the receiver can't differentiate which is the "real" signal.

Multipath GPS errors occur when the GPS signal bounces off a nearby structure and the receiver can’t differentiate which is the “real” signal.

I drew the graphics in Inkscape and animated them using the Gimp. It works like a flip book, in that you have to create each individual frame of the animation. In the eLearning courses only one animation would appear per page, so it’s less distracting. So what do you think? Do they help demonstrate the concepts? Hopefully even without a lot of context you understand the gist of it.