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How to Ensure that Training Turns into Learning

Training is a process that continues throughout the entirety of one’s career. While some institutions view employee training as a waste of valuable time and resources, numerous businesses believe that adequate training is vital to building a more efficient work environment.

However, formal training presentations and lectures might not be the most effective answer to teaching employees how to perform in the workplace. Compare traditional training in the workforce to traditional education: in grade school, equations are often jammed down our throats so many times that, while I can still remember the Pythagorean theorem, I’m completely oblivious in the fine art of filing taxes.

People need real-life experience in the workforce just as in any other aspect of their lives. In recent years, many businesses have made the switch to nontraditional training and have found that it is far more effective than conventional training methods.

The following is a brief outline consisting of methods a business can apply to training programs to ensure that your employees are actually retaining and learning valuable information from their training experience.

4 Techniques that Transform Training into Learning

1) Real-World Experience

The most important technique to remember when training new employees is to encourage them to take part in day-to-day activities. Lecturing an employee on how to perform certain job functions may not assist their learning process. Some people learn best through kinesthetics- the act of physically performing an action. When training, it is essential that employees directly apply what they have learned to what they will experience in the work force.

2) Challenge Trainees

books learning studying

When performing the duties of their job, employees are bound to run into a challenge or two. The ability to solve problems is one of the most highly sought after skills employers look for in an employee. According to Lonney Gregory, Principal Consultant at Linkage, 70 percent of actual learning is acquired by completing challenging assignments while only 10 percent of learning is acquired through traditional training methods.

Challenging employees allows them the opportunity to think initiatively in order to find resolution. Employees are more likely to learn by finding solutions to challenges they face head-on, rather than simply being shown how to fix a problem on a slide.

3) The Bigger the Risk, the Bigger the Reward

With every challenge comes a good amount of risk. However, taking risks is not always a bad thing. Employees who feel comfortable thinking outside the box are typically the ones with the most innovative solutions. If employees are encouraged to take risks during their training, this knowledge will assist them throughout their entire career. Not only will they be willing to take on more challenges, but they will also feel more accountable for their work. When employees feel accountable for their work, they are able to better apply what they have learned in their training. Overall, pushing the envelope can be a learning experience, for better or for worse.

4) Mistakes Can Be Learning Experiences

The final tip to assist in learning is simple but may seem incomprehensible to some: allow employees to make mistakes.

Typically, mistakes are discouraged in the workplace. However- at least in my own experience- I have found that people are much more likely to learn from their mistakes. The learning period that occurs after making a big mistake allows employees to realize what they did wrong and work to implement a system to ensure that it does not happen again. Mistakes are also crucial to the learning process as making mistakes and learning from that experience will ultimately help them in the long run.

Allowing employees to learn in the manner that they are most comfortable and most similar to the tasks they will be performing is key to ensuring that training turns into learning. Putting employees into real working environments, as opposed to more traditional learning methods, allows them to learn from their training and will ensure success throughout their career. CATMEDIA provides total training solutions for clients in public and private sectors with proven results. Every organization, regardless of size, faces unique challenges in developing and retaining their workforce in an ever-increasing competitive environment.


CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

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