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Increasing training effectiveness in law enforcement

When designing your next training, consider how you will promote not only learning, but learning transfer

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Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for all my colleagues in public safety, and it’s about training effectiveness.

The goal of training is for the learner to improve their competence, skill, and performance. The learner is expected to gain new or expanded knowledge and be able to apply it in their everyday job. This concept is sometimes referred to as “learning transfer.” To determine if the training provided to the learner is effective, you must assess how well the training supports the transfer of what was learned to the learner’s job.

How can agencies make sure this learning transfer occurs? A few things to think about:

First, if you aren’t already, build post-training tests or evaluations into your lesson plans. These will help your agency assess whether the learner gained any new knowledge or skill from the training.

Also, look at the format of the training. This is particularly important in e-learning. Are there scenario-based, role-playing, or practical application exercises beyond the basic lecture format? Does the training include periodic knowledge checks, quizzes, or observations?

Finally, consider implementing delayed evaluations. A delayed evaluation takes place several days or weeks after the learner returns to the workplace. They have now had the opportunity to apply what was learned during the training, and are better able to evaluate how useful the training was. Delayed evaluations should also include a follow-up with supervisors to find out how the training has impacted the learner’s workplace performance.

Remember, an evaluation that only explores learner satisfaction does not measure the training’s effectiveness.

When designing your next training, consider how you will promote not only learning but learning transfer. I can guarantee you that it will result in an employee who conducts more effective searches, writes better reports, or applies newly acquired life-saving skills.

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off.

Get more tips from Gordon here.

Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.