Use It Or Lose It

How many of can recite the preamble to the Constitution?  Do you really remember what Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally means?  The periodic table?  At one time you probably spent an inordinate amount of time learning one of the aforementioned items and tested fairly well.  And now that information is lost in the gray matter with your middle school locker combination and your first love’s phone number.  It is true – use it or lose it.

Professional development efforts can certainly fall victim in an even shorter time period.  Phillips and Phillips, analyzed over 400 studies overa decade of research found that Failure to Prepare the Job Environment for Transfer is the 7th of 11 reasons training fails.  While your employees sit dutifully taking notes in carefully constructed training programs, it is all for naught if they don’t actually learn how to transfer their learning into their workplace.  The Phillips found that most studies show between 60 and 90 percent of what employees learn in professional development courses isn’t actually applied on the job.

There are many different reasons that this occurs including

  • complacency
  • lack of managerial support and encouragement
  • lack of incentive
  • negative corporate culture

The barriers to your organization’s learning effectiveness – and every organization has barriers – must be known in advance and proactively countered.  These barriers must be addressed throughout your planning, assessment design and implementation process to allow our employees the luxury of using what they learn to better their performance and our organization as a whole.


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