How do you make learning “stick”? That’s the million-dollar question for most corporate trainers. Behavioral change takes awareness, motivation and application over time – and time is a limited resource. Maybe you have four hours, one day or even two days to improve a skill set. Regardless of the duration of training, we all fear that our participants fill out their “smile sheets” and go back to doing exactly what they were doing before the training.

Modern technology makes it easy to extend the learning, keep people accountable, sustain motivation and create behavioral change. One tool you can use to sustain learning and create behavioral change is the post-training webinar, delivered about one month after the program.

Why offer post-training webinars? Much of the training delivered in a one-day (or shorter) session will not stick with participants. Hopefully, they gain more awareness and understanding of the skill, but many participants default to old behaviors within days of the training.

Your goal is to help training participants stay focused and practicing so they become proficient. Research shows that if there is support following the training, participants are likely to continue to improve these skills. This support may include touchpoints with the instructor and/or fellow participants, further learning materials, and – most critically – support from their managers.

Some of this research was done by Roy Pollock, from The 6Ds Company. He emphasizes that the manager is critical to ensuring progress and also highlights the importance of having multiple touchpoints after training to ensure learning transfer. Pollock suggests a call with the participants after about one month and another after 60 to 90 days. As you plan your training follow-up, be sure to prepare ahead of time for a successful outcome.

If you are facilitating a post-training webinar or group conference call, include the following elements:

Explain why they are having this webinar conversation and the WIIFM (“what’s in it for me”), and briefly reviews highlights from the program.

Engage participants with strategic questions to prompt them to share with and learn from each other. Prepare specific questions ahead of time, such as:

  • What have you tried from the class at your meetings or in your daily interactions? What has worked, and what hasn’t? (If it’s quiet, call on someone by name or offer examples you’ve heard from other classes.)
  • Who has had a chance for a one-on-one with your manager to discuss your learning and development goals?
  • How can we continue to support you? (You can gain valuable insights here and should be taking notes.)

Offer to answer specific questions or clarify concepts from the training. If you didn’t have enough time to practice a skill in the face-to-face session or want to have a few participants practice it again, include time for this type of exercise.

Also, keep in mind these best practices for post-training webinars:

  • For small classes, keep notes of what each person is working on during the classroom session, and include that information in the virtual discussion. It helps keep the conversation focused and productive. Be each learner’s accountability partner!
  • Always call on individuals by name in virtual training; don’t ask open-ended questions to the group and expect them to respond. Let them know in your opening that you will be calling on specific people. When you do call on individuals, use their name first and then paraphrase the question. The goal is to create a conversation, not to embarrass anyone.
  • Use humor and a conversational style. If you hear crickets after asking a question, you can say things to break the awkwardness like, “And the rest of you?”, “This is the interactive part…”, “How’s this landing with you?”, or, “Come on, guys, don’t leave me hanging.”

Following these post-training webinar best practices will support participants on their learning journey toward growth and career success!