10 Effective Strategies to Foster Commitment from Training Participants
When it comes to training sessions, it’s crucial to ensure that participants are not only engaged but also committed to applying what they have learned. The closing of a training session presents a unique opportunity to reinforce this commitment. However, many trainers often overlook this crucial moment. In this article, we will explore 10 strategies for making the closing session of your training active and impactful in eliciting participant commitment.
Note: The following tips appear in Elaine Biech’s new book 101 More Ways to Make Training Active, as contributed by Kenneth Stein, Ed.D, CPLP, SPHR, Successful Endeavors. Jim and Wendy Kirkpatrick are also contributors to the book.
1. Action plan
Encourage participants to develop a detailed action plan outlining how they will implement what they have learned when they return to their jobs. This exercise helps them visualize the steps they need to take, making their commitment more tangible.
2. Paired commitment
Pair participants with someone else and have them make a commitment to take specific actions together. Ask them to exchange contact information and encourage them to follow up with each other within 10 days to discuss their progress and offer support.
3. Email progress
Create an email list where participants can report their action progress to share with the entire group. This platform allows for accountability and provides a space for participants to celebrate their achievements while motivating others.
4. Reward success
For trainers who have a continued relationship with the participants, consider rewarding success. Whenever positive news is reported about participants’ on-the-job behaviors related to the training, surprise them with a small token of recognition or appreciation. It doesn’t have to be expensive; it’s the gesture that counts.
5. My SMART objectives
Ask participants to write SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) for their action plans. Encourage them to share these objectives with the rest of the group, sparking inspiration and generating ideas among participants.
6. Partner Planning
Allow participants to pair up with someone of their choice to create action plans and provide each other with ongoing support and ideas for implementing what they have learned. This collaborative approach helps strengthen commitment and fosters a sense of community.
7. Memo to me
Have participants write a memo to themselves, clearly stating what they commit to achieving within the next month. Instruct them to seal the memo in an envelope, address it to themselves, and collect the sealed memos. After 30 days, mail these memos back to participants as a reminder of their commitment and as an opportunity for self-reflection.
8. Expert support
After participants have created their action plans, encourage them to circulate their plans among other participants. This allows them to gather email addresses of individuals who can provide expert support and answer any questions as they implement their plans, further fostering commitment.
9. Read me a story
Select a relevant children’s book, such as “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss, to close out the training session. Sit in a circle and have participants take turns reading the book. Engage in a discussion about the book’s implications and encourage participants to share how they intend to apply what they have learned.
10. Dear Boss
Ask participants to write a letter to their bosses, explaining what they have learned and how they plan to implement it. Although these letters are not actually sent, they serve as useful outlines for participants to discuss their learning and implementation goals with their supervisors.
By implementing these 10 strategies, trainers can effectively ensure that participants remain committed even after the training session concludes. Engaging and reinforcing commitment is essential for maximizing the true potential of any training program.
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