What's the secret to training success?

What's the secret to training success?

Written by Professional Academy Tutor and Guest Blogger, Kathryn Knights

As a runner and race enthusiast I know how important it is to train. However, it wasn't until recently that I realised in order to be really successful at running I needed to do some exercise activities that didn't involve running. The same approach can be applied to the workplace. To get the best out of your training courses, you need to complement them with a range of different learning and development activities.

As with any new commitment in life, undertaking some sort of formal training can be daunting and it can be hard to know whether you're benefiting from it. After you've done your research and decided which course to study, you order your course books and feel ready to start learning. You attend the course and hopefully pass with flying colours. Then what? Do you put your books back on the shelves, your course notes in the loft and carry on with your day job in the same way you did before the course?

You  will have no doubt invested a considerable amount of time and money in your training course. To get the best out of it you should never treat it as a stand-alone activity. Your training course should form part of a personal development plan (PDP). This should be your career statement of where you want to be and how you're going to get there.

You can build your PDP by asking yourself the following three questions:

  • What activities will help me grow in my role?
  • What will the benefits be to me and my company of undertaking these activities?
  • In what timescale will I achieve these activities?

70/20/10 Development Model

The first question is probably the hardest but a simple way to approach it is to use the 70/20/10 development model (see figure 1). The model was created in the 1980s by three researchers and authors working with the Center for Creative Leadership who were researching the key developmental experiences of successful managers.

The model states that 70% of an individual's learning comes from 'on the job' activities, 20% from 'near the job' activities and 10% from 'off the job' activities. Figure 1 gives you a flavour of the types of activities you could undertake but is by no means exhaustive. You will notice that training courses fall into the 10% category. Only by adding in activities from the 20% and 70% categories will you reach your career goals.

If you include a training course in your PDP ask your line manager to be involved in supporting you along the way. Before the course, be clear on your expectations of what you hope you achieve. During the course, make sure you feedback to your line manager how you are getting on. And after the course make sure you have a full de-brief to agree how you will apply the learning in the workplace.

Your PDP should be written by you and agreed with your line manger, who plays an important role in supporting your learning and development activities. Refresh your PDP every year but bear in mind that it can be changed throughout the year, if required. For example, maybe your timescale to become a sales manager has moved from three years to five years as you'd like to take a career break. As long as you keep your PDP up to date you'll know you have something to check back on at regular intervals to ensure you're on the right path.

And finally, remember that you should take ownership of your own learning and development. Your line manager is there to support you but the drive and ambition must come from within.

If you need help with writing your own PDP or developing PDPs with your team contact me on LinkedIn or find out which of Professional Academy's qualifications contain the right PDP elements for you by contacting an adviser today!