After a workshop, a facilitator asked participants, “What will you do differently as a result of this conference?” They replied, “Good question. I need to think about that.” Participants commented they felt inspired by the session but didn’t know what actions to take.

How do we transition learning opportunities from inspiration to action and provide the support necessary to create behavior change?

To ensure your training investment delivers business results, consider these key steps:

1. Balance macro- and microlearning.

Microlearning delivers specific, just-in-time content that learners can apply immediately. In the information age, individuals want quick answers at their greatest points of need. This approach works well for skill-building or on-the-job “how-to” questions.

When working toward a defined end result, quick answers need structure, and behavior changes require coaching and accountability. For example, one approach combines digital pre-work, virtual pre-workshop prep to train coaches, a hands-on application workshop and post-workshop digital reinforcement. Together, these macro- and microlearning solutions create learning readiness and encourage long-term change. And, because these steps fit within the normal flow of work, participants accelerate performance without sacrificing a lot of time for traditional training.

2. Customize frequency and timing.

When encouraging behavior change, also consider training delivery frequency and timing. Macro-learning engagements include deadlines that create accountability to complete advanced preparation. Microlearning allows flexibility for learners to revisit topics in which they need more practice. Customize your implementation to optimize the nature of your delivery methods.

Also, consider whether competing priorities like compliance training, organizational changes or quarter-end business will impede learner engagement. Intertwine macro- and microlearning with normal business for maximum impact and ongoing engagement. For example, training reinforcement might come through learners’ phones at times they schedule for themselves. Shifting the learning responsibility to the learner works around any distractions.

3. Measure performance to continually identify gaps.

The real test of behavior change is whether people do what you expect after training. Define and measure success before you start; then, recognize whether learners act in an impactful way after they return to normal business. If you still have gaps, you can reassess your approach, determine what else is needed and continuously improve your efforts.

For example, document specific behaviors and skills needed for value proficiency, and identify business analytics impacted by pulling specific value levers. By evaluating quantified and qualified measures, you can successfully help learners achieve excellence or adjust when adoption doesn’t meet expectations.

When learning requires action, we need to take steps to ensure change occurs. We need to provide meaningful and flexible learning application and reinforcement. We also need to create space and time for learning that flows with normal business. Ultimately, we need to hold people accountable for the changes that generate success.