Post-Training Reinforcement in the Workplace

By June 28, 2018 No Comments
Post Training Reinforcement

“I hear and I forget. I read and I remember. I do and I understand.”
– Confucius [i]

In 2017, the U.S. training expenditures rose to 93.6 billion dollars from 70.6 billion dollars in the previous year.[ii] Companies are spending billions of dollars on this critical component of success, but many organizations are missing the mark when it comes to following up after the training. Development doesn’t end just when the program concludes; it’s only just begun.[iii]

The NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science shared some interesting statistics on adult learners and their ability to remember and retain what they’ve learned. They found that:

  • 5% retained information when they’ve learned from a lecture.
  • 10% retained information when they’ve learned from reading.
  • 20% retained information from audio-visual.
  • 30% retained information when they saw a demonstration.
  • 50% retained information when engaged in a group discussion.
  • 75% retained information when they practice what they learned.
  • 90% retained information when they teach someone else or use it immediately.[iv]

Development Doesn’t End Just When the Program Concludes – It’s Only Just Begun

After looking over the findings, we are able to see that higher retention happens when learners practice what they’ve learned and used what they’ve learned immediately. Learners need to receive information, understand why it’s important, then have time to work with it and understand the application to make it meaningful.[v] Having regular opportunities to practice skills on the job promotes retention. Learners change their behavior when managers provide continual reinforcement through a series of communications and activities before, during, and after the training takes place.[vi]

Considerations While Incorporating Training After the Training

Define the Solution – The key to successful post-training, whatever the topic, is to reinforce the “why” behind the information and instruction are given during the training. In order to get employees continued buy-in and engagement, management must reinforce the solution and the reasons behind it.[vii]

Set Employees Up for Success – Having employee involvement in the planning and evaluation is valued and creates buy-in, so ensure that the employees can weigh-in throughout the process. This can range from self-selection of activities to individual goal setting.[viii]

Provide a Coach – Coaching is about removing the obstacles that lie in the way of each person achieving the greatness within him or her.[ix] Coaching is a process of scheduled and consistent sessions that focus on employees’ strengths and areas of performance improvement. Coaching helps inspire and motivate employees to improve knowledge, increase skills, and change behaviors to drive greater performance in the workplace.[x]

Incorporate Employee Accountability – Identifying specific expectations, including actions, goals, and timing for the employees. By setting milestones you make each employee responsible for their prioritization and success.[xi]

Facilitate Self-Direction – Many adult learners dislike feeling obligated or forced to do something. The more trainers, coaches or management allow for individual influence and self-directed learning opportunities in training programs, the more motivated the learners will feel to continue engaging in it.[xii]

Provide Ongoing Feedback and Support – It is important that managers are involved and work with employees to make sure milestones are being met, and that the information is correctly being executed. This is a great opportunity for managers to offer praise, constructive criticism, and guidance.

For more on how your organization can reinforce training after the training, visit our Learning and Development Talent page.

[i] “12 Famous Confucius Quotes on Education and Learning.” OpenLearn, The Open University, 13 Mar. 2017,

[ii]  (New York residents only). “Training Industry: U.S. Expenditure 2017 | Statistic.” Statista,
[iii] Kirsch.ti-avatar, Julie, et al. “The Manager’s Role in Reinforcing Learning.” Training Industry,
[iv] Cathy Bodine PhD, CCC-SLP. From Millennials to Traditionalists: Teaching and Learning Strategies of Generational Learners. NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science, Arlington, VA, 2010,
[v] “How Much Content Is Too Much to Retain?” Main, ASTD Press, 9 June 2017,
[vi] Kirsch.ti-avatar, Julie, et al. “The Manager’s Role in Reinforcing Learning.” Training Industry,
[vii] Admin. “Don’t Let Training Go in One Ear and Out the Other.” Training Magazine, 26 Mar. 2016,
[viii] Kirsch.ti-avatar, Julie, et al. “The Manager’s Role in Reinforcing Learning.” Training Industry,
[ix] Freifeld, Lorri. “Constructive Confrontation: The Key to Successful Coaching.” Training Magazine, 1 Dec. 2017,
[x] Freifeld, Lorri. “How Coaching Helps Employee Retention.” Training Magazine, 31 Dec. 2014,
[xi] Kirsch.ti-avatar, Julie, et al. “The Manager’s Role in Reinforcing Learning.” Training Industry,
[xii] Freifeld, Lorri. “9 Ways to Maximize Motivation for Workplace Training.” Training Magazine, 10 Jan. 2018,