One of the most honest questions that Aquinas has received in the past several months was, “What does training pull-through mean?” The inquiry came from an individual with some experience in training and was meant to be rhetorical. Upon considering this question, however, there is great depth to this remark.

For many years, we have seen research quoting how quickly information is forgotten after a training event. There have been countless articles in industry publications about the value of training pull-through to increase learning transfer and retention. While these articles often explain that training pull-through is very important, they rarely explain “how” to do it.

Based on our years of experience working with clients in developing, executing, and measuring training, there are four key questions you need to ask initially to develop a pull-through plan.

1. What are the learning objectives we are attempting to pull-through?

Seems simple, right? Your pull-through plan should directly relate to the objectives you had heading into the training event. True “pull-through” training requires that you focus on your original objectives to ensure learning transfer. In other words, focus your pull-through on specific learning objectives you are trying to “pull-through”.

2. Are you pulling-through knowledge? Skills? Application scenarios?

Once you are grounded in the learning objectives, evaluate whether you are trying to pull-through knowledge, skills, or the application of both (i.e. objection handling a clinical objection). The “point” of the training will drive the “process” not the other way around. One of the biggest mistakes we have seen is someone saying, “We need to use this system to test our learners about how to close…”, but the system doesn’t support someone demonstrating a skill. In these cases, we often counsel our clients to consider focusing on the point, rather than the process or system.

3. How can I involve the learners?

Well-developed learning pull-through should engage the learners. If the learning is based in knowledge-transfer, then use assessments, quizzes, and responsive systems to test them. If the learning is skill based, ask learners to demonstrate via videos or teleconferences. Part of the reason learning transfer is successful is because it allows time for the learners to compare what they have learned to what has happened since the training event. Allow the learners to evaluate, explain, and compare their experiences and you will have a much greater rate of retention.

4. What learning transfer processes can I use? What is my company/group comfortable with? How can I use technology?

As mentioned above, the point drives the process; however, at some stage, you need to decide which processes support the training pull-through. Below is a simplified guide that may help you pick a process that works for you.

These examples may not work for your particular business need; however, they may be a good starting point for a discussion.

Aquinas would be glad to help you devise a successful training pull-through plan and share our knowledge and expertise.

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Given your training experience, how do you effectively pull-through training? How have you successfully engaged learners to ensure knowledge and skills transfer? How do you improve learning transfer and retention?

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At Aquinas, our mission is to develop creative training, skillfully executed, to unleash YOUR success.