Start with Why
If you want to create lasting impact, you need more than cut-up reminders of your training material. Simply sending emails or reminder messages to your training participants does not lead to behavior change. Read more about the difference between reminders and reinforcement here.
Instead, begin by thinking about your objectives for reinforcement. What are the desired behavior changes you want staff to make, or the new knowledge you wish to impart?
Reinforcement objectives differ from training goal. A typical training goal fits the pattern of "you will be able to do ... after the training." Again, the focus is on the ability to do something, not whether it is actually done. With reinforcement, focus shifts away from the model of being able to do something and toward a more sophisticated model of evaluation and mastery.
Verbs accompanying the reinforcement model include do, use, master, and evaluate or analyze. To design a reinforcement program that has impact, you must determine your reinforcement objectives.
What do you want learners to come away from the training with, a new model of behavior or a new set of skills? You may need to tweak the wording of your reinforcement objectives. After you determine your reinforcement objectives, you can start to develop the program.
We recommend designing a reinforcement program that has the critical elements outlined in our Comprehensive Reinforcement Program Checklist.
Once you have designed the course program, go through it again and check each of the connections. Will learners naturally be able to move from awareness to knowledge and skills to application?
Did you make three connections in your messages for every assignment? We recommend a 21-point approach, where 19-21 points is excellent and 15-18 points is very good. Under 10 points is very weak and will not reinforce skills.
If learners begin changing their behavior as a result of completing the reinforcement program, ask them to provide feedback on the program. Building a survey allows learners to reflect upon their experience.
Continue to refine your objectives and establish your goals. Download our Comprehensive Reinforcement Program Checklist to learn how to design a strong training reinforcement program.