39 Consolidate Learning

YES! AND… Facilitate. Innovate. Transform – Creative Gorilla # 39

A lot of training is ineffective because companies don’t encourage people to consolidate their learning back at work before sending them off on the next course. The learning organisation is useful. The learn and dump organisation is not…

“The process of learning requires not only hearing and applying but also forgetting and then remembering again.”

John Gray

Statue Moscow

“Stop. Do you really need that course?”

Do you or people you work with find yourself on another training course before you’ve had time to consolidate the last one?

Out running the other day I was thinking what training courses I might do this year. It then struck me that perhaps I might spend my time more constructively if I implement some of the things I have learned in the last couple of years.

Now that doesn’t mean I have implemented nothing. I use a lot of the facilitation and training material I have learned, in my day to day work. But I know I could use a couple of days to review the course materials and identify some of the subtler points.

When it comes to marketing though, I know I have not implemented a number of the ideas I have identified in the self study courses I have bought. In fact I know a couple I haven’t read!

That led me to think about the concept of the “learning organisation”. Talking to the Head of Training for a client the other day, he mentioned that he had just sent out a note to fellow attendees on a course he had attended a year before.

He asked them if they had followed up on what they had agreed they would do after the training. To their credit they all answered honestly. Sadly, none of them had done anything, even though this course covers a topic fundamental to the company strategy.


Instead of investing yet more money in further training courses it could be useful to check that previous learning is being used well. It might be more economic to invest in short follow up workshops to encourage people to begin applying their learning.

Or it could be as simple as requiring people to spend a couple of hours after a course to revise what they learned and to identify what they can implement. The latter is useful for independent workers too.


  • As an individual – before you book that next training course…stop. Think back over the last three courses you have attended. Could you usefully revise the materials? Could you implement some of the learning? Might you find a few people who could attend a revision day with you?
  • For your team – ask people how they have applied their learning from a recent course. Encourage them to use some “training time” to revise materials from previous courses.
  • For your organisation – ask your trainers how the company might use the set down stage in training more effectively. Could you require people to undertake a project to give you pay back on your investment? Could you encourage them to run revision workshops where people could go and revise materials (individuals might be revising different courses) and discuss how they could implement their learning?

To Close

I have decided that I will not attend any courses this year (well, maybe just one) but I will be attending networking events run by two companies whose courses I attended in the last couple of years. These informal learning events help me to meet more people, get new ideas and give me a break from work at a very reasonable cost compared to conferences.

Conferences. Now there’s an area for an article on wasting time and money…

John Brooker I Facilitate, Innovate, Transform.

Yes! And… We facilitate leaders and teams in medium to large organisations internationally to:

  • Make Meetings Outstanding
  • Make Transformation Simpler
  • Turn Opportunities in to Reality

Imagine what we can do for you…

Contact John or Kate Brooker:

Speak: +44 (0) 20 8869 9990

Write: [email protected]

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