Nov 222011

Training Transfer and the Learning Management System

Training Transfer: By Barbara Carnes,, via her 11/22/11 Sticky Notes Newsletter

Your learning management system (LMS) is a great administrative tool for course registration, student tracking, and end-of-course evaluation.   But are you using it to drive and support better transfer of training?

In addition to administrative tasks such as course registration, student tracking, and evaluation surveys, an LMS can deliver training content (e-learning and live virtual classes), communicate with students and their supervisors, support collaboration and trainee interaction, and support mobile learning.  The latest trend in LMSs is performance management so that development plans in the employee’s performance review can be linked with available classes (internally and externally), and tracked.

So how can an LMS drive and support better transfer of training?  Here are some suggestions:

  •  Use the email feature to automatically send a pre-training note to students at a prescribed time prior to training (no earlier than one week in most cases).  Summarize what they will learn in the training and how they are expected to use it in their jobs.  Also remind them to expect to give their full attention to the training with limited access to emails, IMs, and text messaging.  This last point is especially important for students who will be taking e-learning or live virtual (webinar) classes.
  • Use the email feature to automatically send a pre-training note to students’ supervisors.  This note should also summarize, perhaps in more detail, what the participant will learn and how it can be applied to their job.  In addition to reminding the supervisor to plan for job adequate coverage during the time the participant is in training, this email should also ask supervisors to plan for skill practice and use as soon as the participant completes the training.
  •  Add a short video to these emails from the CEO, senior leader, or other influential manager describing the importance of the training and how the skills support the organization’s mission, goals, and objectives.  Don’t stop at one – use a montage of several video clips to drive this message home.  Desktop web cams make these videos easy and affordable. Many organizations are using YouTube to house (link to) for non-confidential employee messages.
  • Use the social media and collaboration tools available in many LMSs to promote or require trainee interaction before and after the class.  Studies show that when trainees interact with one another about their learning, they have higher levels of learning and transfer of training.  Specifically, set up a discussion board prior to face-to-face, e-learning, or live virtual learning.  Pose questions such as “What has been your biggest challenge with______?”, “How do you think having ____ skills will enhance your ability to do your job?  To advance in your career?”  Use the same sort of discussion board for post-training discussion and include questions such as “What has been your biggest challenge in applying ____?”   Consider other social media and collaboration tools such as Yammer, (internal Twitter) and a wiki (everyone contributes to FAQs and tips/pointers for using the skills).
  • Use the LMS survey tool to find out how skills are being used 6 weeks and 3 months post-training.  Consider withholding credit for the class until this survey is completed.  Share results with participants’ supervisors.


To Discuss how these Solutions will add value for you, your organization and/or your clients, Affinity/Resale Opportunities, and/or Collaborative Efforts, Please Contact:

Tom McDonald,; 608-788-5144; Skype: tsmw5752

training transfer, McDonald Sales and Marketing, LLC