Keeping the Fires Lit

The nagging question for anyone who has ever led a training session has to be: “Did they get it?”  In the quest to make training more meaningful, researchers in Personnel Psychology evaluated how supplemental training materials given out after the usual training session effected progress.  Managers learning interpersonal skills were put into one of four quasi-experimental groups.  While some received no follow-up to the standard training session, others were given upward feedback (i.e. notes from their subordinates on their progress), a workbook of self-coaching follow-up activities, or both.

Surprise, surprise – participants in the follow-up groups showed more progress with the training. Also, having both supplemental materials was better than having just self-coaching materials, although those with both or with just feedback had the same level of performance.  That’s pretty good news for trainers. There certainly are ways to make your message stick a little longer.  It means some extra work past training time, but it may benefit your organization to keep a little fire going under trainees by noting their progress, giving feedback, and providing supplements aimed at helping them achieve their goals.


Tews, M. J., & Tracey, J. B. (2008) An empirical examination of posttraining on-the-job supplements for enhancing the effectiveness of interpersonal skills training. Personnel Psychology, 61, 375-401.