The curve of optimum performance encompasses the final transition to competency for learners. Most of the terminal learning objectives of the training program have been met, but there are still further refinements to be made, and expectations of future performance to be set.
Many training programs are designed to bring learners up to the point of optimum performance (or never make it that far at all),1 but the best programs also plan for future talent development. There are two particularly effective means of decreasing the learning curve during optimum performance:
Before a training program draws to a close, it is important to ask learners how they might be able to innovate in two ways:
- How they can improve the training program itself
- How they can improve upon the functional or soft skills being taught in the training program through business process changes. When learners transfer their knowledge so that it applies to hypothetical contexts, it helps them to retain knowledge long-term and master a particular subject.
Intensive one-on-one coaching is normally offered for high-end leadership development or sales training programs.
However, any training program can benefit from the establishment and follow-through of periodic coaching appointments with learners to ensure that they are continuing to perform at the highest level. Coaches can be functional thought leaders in certain areas of expertise within a company internally, or they can be trainers, or they can be hired as third party contractors. The benefits for long-term talent development cannot be understated.
We will be sharing information on decreasing the learning curve on our blog through the Timing is Everything series, but to read more now download the Timing is Everything White Paper!
- Saks, A., Haccoun, R., & Belcourt, M. (2010). “Managing performance through training and development.” Cengage Learning: Boston.
- Kolb, D. (1976). “The Learning Style Inventory: Technical Manual.” McBer & Company: Boston.
- Leonard-Cross, E. (2010). “Developmental coaching: Business benefit–fact or fad? An evaluative study to explore the impact of coaching in the workplace.” International Coaching Psychology Review 5(1), 36-47.
- Kilburg, R. (2000). “Executive coaching: Developing managerial wisdom in a world of chaos.” American Psychological Association.