Here’s an idea I came up with and used successfully when I was at the American Management Association: The Virtual Follow-Up Session.
How many times has a student attended training and was eager to try out the newly-acquired knowledge and skills back on the job only to be stymied. When we attended the training, we may have thought we understood what was being taught, but back on the job we find that we didn’t understand it as well as we thought, and rather than make errors in applying it to our work, we return to the old methods. Or… we run into a roadblock in the implementation that wasn’t discussed in class and we’re stymied?
What now? The class is over. The instructor isn’t available to us. What do we do?
As trainers, we may have received great ratings in the end-of-course evaluations, but what good is the training if the participants can’t use what they learned back on the job?
The Virtual Follow-Up Session is a 60 – 90 minute video conference or conference call held about two weeks after the class concludes. The host can make use of a conference software (you can take look at this now here) to schedule the event beforehand and send out the invites. Several days before the call is scheduled, the instructor sends an email to participants to collect their questions and concerns. These may include questions such as
– “I thought I understood this topic when we discussed it in class, but back on the job I find that I didn’t fully understand it. Can you go over this topic again?”
– “I ran into one of the problems we discussed in class and I tried what was recommended, but it didn’t work. Can you suggest another approach to overcome this problem?”
– “I ran into a roadblock that we didn’t discuss in class. Any suggestions on how to get through it?”
At the AMA, we tried holding these sessions for our corporate customers. We found that only about one-third of those who attended the class participated in the follow-up session, but almost everyone who took part in the follow-up session felt it was very valuable.
Give it a try, and let me know how it goes.