Your courses are only effective if students are able to retain course material and apply it on the job. Without high levels of learning transfer, courses will not achieve their intended objectives and students will not benefit from the information you provide.
While research indicates only about 10 percent of information in training and education programs is effectively transferred, here are 4 proven strategies that will help you maximize the amount of information students will be able to apply as a result of your course:
1. Employ a collaborative planning process. Students will learn and retain more course content if the material is of direct value to them. During the course planning process, speaking with potential students, identifying learner characteristics, and understanding learner motivations will help you build a course that contains the content your students want to receive. Involving them in the planning process will help you to build a course that’s more responsive to actual training needs and, in doing so, you’ll increase the amount of information that students take away after they’re finished.
2. Vary delivery methods. Employing a variety of content delivery methods will help you resonate with students and appeal to different learning preferences. Moving between lecture, video, documents, discussions, and other delivery methods keeps content fresh and provides students with different opportunities to receive content. Varying delivery methods helps you keep students engaged, which increases satisfaction and boosts transfer of learning rates.
3. Provide immediate application opportunities. Research indicates that the most effective adult learning strategies introduce material and then enable students to apply it. Teaching a concept and then practicing that concept in an exercise, case study, or assignment helps you assess student progress and helps students understand and use your material. With studies suggesting application significantly increases course effectiveness, you can improve post-course learning transfer by building in practice opportunities throughout your offerings.
4. Incorporate the workplace environment. The most effective application opportunities provide students the ability to practice course skills in their actual work environments. In many cases, this means employing real-world assignments that integrate course activities into each student’s actual policing activities. While this may be impossible for some courses, connecting content to each student’s real-world experiences reinforces the value of that content and increases the chances students will retain it.
As you build and teach your courses, employing a transfer of learning plan will help you devise effective delivery techniques and track post-course learning transfer. If you include some or all of the tips outlined above, you’ll build a more targeted, engaging, and effective course and your students will learn and retain more of it.
For more information on learning transfer, check out Caffarella and Daffron’s Planning Programs for Adult Learners or our free program planning course at Law Enforcement Learning. Good luck!
The Law Enforcement Learning Team