There are various coaching solutions that when used in conjunction with education and/or training within organizations greatly enhances the transfer of knowledge to the use of and/or application on the job. The purpose of this research paper is to explore the impact of coaching, when used in conjunction with traditional training methods and how integrating various coaching solutions enhances learner (employee) productivity and performance, in addition to maximizing training and development investment spend.
Knowledge Transfer or Learning Transfer is defined by Alexander and Murphy (1992) as
the process of using knowledge or skills acquired in on context in a new or varied context.
Positive transfer occurs when learning in one context improves performance in some other context, according to the International Encyclopedia of Education (1992)
Scrap Learning defined by Berk (2008) is
learning which is successfully delivered but not applied by the learner to their job or the measurable amount of learning that is lost after training.
Instructor-led training the e-Learning Competence Center describes this as
a learning event organized by an instructor and held at a particular location
E-Learning to mean that
you develop skills and obtain knowledge using electronic means.
Corporate Training Expenditures
In today’s rapidly changing and competitive business environment, high-skilled human capital is critical for organizational success – and comes with a price. Training Magazine (2011) reported that U.S. training expenditures—including payroll and spending on external products and services—jumped 13 percent to $59.7 billion in 2011. Some 32 percent of respondents reported that their training budget increased—up from 24 percent last year. Likewise, training payroll increased substantially, from $25.7 billion to $31.3 billion, and spending on outside products and services jumped more than $2 billion to $9.1 billion. Corporations spent over 52.8 Billion dollars on training expenditures in 2010, so it’s understandable that growing attention is being given to “scrap learning.” Training that results in low yield through the lack of direct application to the job results in high costs, both direct and through lost opportunity, time and energy within organizations.
Training Delivery Methods
In 2011, 41.6% of training hours were delivered by a standard-delivery instructor -led in a classroom setting (45% by small and midsize companies vs. 30% for larger organizations), 24% of hours were delivered using blended learning techniques (a combination of methods; similar for small, mid and large sized companies) and 21.9% of hours were delivered via online or through the use of computer-based technologies (larger companies at 28% vs. 20% for small and midsized). 1.3% of training hours were delivered via social networking or mobile devices, according to Training Magazine (2011).
The types of training programs which were delivered online in 2011: Executive Development 39%; Management/Supervisory Training 48%; Interpersonal Skills (e.g., communication) 38%; IT/Systems Training (e.g., enterprise software) 60%
Desktop Application Training 59%; Customer Service Training 36%; Sales Training 42%; Mandatory or Compliance Training 73%; Profession/Industry-Specific (e.g., engineering) 50%, as reported by Training Magazine (2011).
At a Knowledge Advisors Symposium in Washington, D.C., Dr. Robert Brinkerhoff (2010), an expert in training evaluation, estimated that scrap learning rates can be as high as 50%-80% of all learning delivered. In others words, up to 80% of dollars spent by companies on developing their people is not transferred. Reports indicate that only about 10% of what is learned in training is applied on the job (Fitzpatrick, 2001). In order to increase performance, achieve business results and measurable impact, successful application from learning programs is critical.
Xerox Corporation, for example, has carried out several studies on coaching. In an article published by Business Wire (2001) they determined that in the absence of follow-up coaching to their training classes, 87% of the skills change brought about by the program was lost. For example: Sales people try out the new skills for a few sales calls, find that they feel awkward or the new method isn’t bringing instant results and subsequently, go back to their old ways.
According to a study conducted by Holton, Bates and Ruona (2000), the literature on transfer of learning has been largely concentrated in two areas. The first is about understanding what the transfer of learning is and what affects it. The second involves the measurement of transfer factors. Since Baldwin and Ford (1988), researchers have generally viewed transfer as being affected as a system of influences. In their model, it is seen as a function of three sets of factors: trainee characteristics, including ability, personality and motivation; training design, including a strong transfer design with appropriate content; and the work environment including support and the opportunity to use. This research paper will focus primarily on the last variable – the environment (support and the ability to use).
According to Wick, Pollack and Jefferson (2010), the single biggest source of learning transfer fails in the post-training period (50-75%) which is attributed to the lack of management engagement, accountability and follow-thru. Brinkerhoff (1995) discovered, however, that learning transfer rates increased 12% when management was engaged in the process.