learning that sticks

Make It Stick: Design Learning That Transforms Teams

Imagine walking into a training session, not with sleepy eyes and low expectations, but charged with excitement, ready to tackle problems that really matter. This isn’t just another day at the office; it’s a day that could change the way you work.

Every business faces its unique set of challenges. As a trainer, I dive deep into these issues, tailoring each session to reflect the hurdles my clients face every day. This isn’t about abstract theories or generic strategies; it’s about real problems that need real solutions.

Why does this approach work?

Because when people see their day-to-day challenges mirrored in training scenarios, they pay attention. They’re not just learning; they’re engaged in a process of discovery that feels immediately relevant to their roles and responsibilities.

Learning sticks when it’s necessary. When a session directly addresses the pressing needs of a team, the stakes are higher, and the outcomes are more significant. People aren’t just passively absorbing information; they’re actively seeking it, wrestling with it, and understanding it on a level that goes beyond memorization.

But here’s the trick—it’s not enough to present problems. The key is to guide learners through the process of finding solutions themselves. This is where strategic learning comes into play. It’s about creating scenarios that mimic real-life challenges so accurately that the skills your team learns can be applied as soon as they step back into their roles.

And when learners find their own solutions, they own those solutions. The knowledge gained becomes part of their professional toolkit, a set of skills they know how to use because they’ve already used them. This is learning that not only sticks but becomes a natural extension of the team’s capabilities.

Now, think about the impact of such learning on a team’s morale and productivity. When team members see the direct benefits of a training session—when they experience firsthand how new skills can solve real problems—they’re more likely to embrace continuous learning as a key part of their career development.

This approach also fosters a culture of problem-solving and innovation. Teams trained to think critically and creatively about real-world challenges are teams prepared to lead, adapt, and excel no matter what the market throws their way.

So, how do you start?

First, identify the most common and pressing challenges your team faces. Don’t rely on guesswork; ask them, survey them, and get to the heart of their daily frustrations and obstacles.

Next, develop training scenarios that reflect these challenges. Make sure these scenarios require the application of new skills and knowledge, pushing your team to think differently, to experiment with new solutions.

During these sessions, step back a bit. Let your team take the lead in finding solutions. Facilitate, don’t dictate. The goal is to encourage exploration, discussion, and discovery, creating a learning environment that empowers rather than instructs.

After each session, regroup. Discuss what worked, what didn’t, and what could be applied immediately. This reflection turns abstract learning into concrete, actionable strategies that your team can start using right away.

Keep the momentum going. Regularly update training materials to reflect new challenges and solutions. As your industry evolves, so should your training. This keeps learning relevant and keeps your team engaged.

And always, always celebrate the wins. When a team member uses something they learned to make a real difference, highlight it. Let everyone see how new skills are translating into real-world success.

This method—focused, relevant, engaging—is how you create learning that sticks. It’s how you transform an ordinary team into a powerhouse of skilled, motivated problem-solvers.

Start today. Because the right kind of learning is not just about filling minds with information; it’s about sparking change that drives your whole team forward.