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The Key to Training Success in Exactly One Word

Employees return from a conference with energy and enthusiasm and new ideas only to drown in a tidal wave of voicemail and email messages waiting for them.  A new LMS is rolled out to great fanfare only to have enthusiasm fizzle three months down the road.

The more I work on training projects, the more I’m convinced that there is one word, one concept, one key ingredient that will ultimately determine the success or failure of a training initiative: momentum.


This thought was inspired, in part, when I read this recent post by blogger Ashley Robinson.  I encourage you to check out the entire post, but basically she shares the idea of not getting bogged down in this season of New Year’s Resolutions and instead offers the idea of committing to one word.  It sounds like a simple concept, but whittling down a bunch of thoughts and ideas and arguments and data into one word is quite a challenge.  It requires careful consideration and reflection on how to get to the most fundamental element of the matter.

Arguments can certainly be made that training will succeed or fail based upon sound instructional design, incorporating adult learning principles, establishing a relationship between the trainer/learner/learner’s manager, ensuring any learning intervention has a direct connection to professional development goals or identified learning gaps.

In the end, I believe that it can all be boiled down to momentum.  In order to create momentum, learning should indeed be fun (for more on this, check out Juliette Denny’s recent post), learning should indeed have good design, it should include managers in the process, learning should include effective assessments and take-home job aids.

But if all of these elements haven’t created momentum for the learning to be transferred to the job, the success and stickiness of training will surely fizzle.

A good question to keep in mind the next time you’re gearing up to design a presentation or training program is: how will my presentation facilitate momentum?

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