Tired of investing in training that doesn’t work?

by Kathi Antonson

Unfortunately, your experience is not unique. It is not uncommon for organisations to invest money and time into training only to have a minimal impact once the participants return to their day to day work.

In fact, 85% is the average failure rate in learning and development programs. Put another way, 17 out of every 20 participants never do anything different after attending training.


A Brinkerhoff Study on Typical Training Investment fully explored and illustrated the investment for a typical learning and development project. Check out this graph and notice that ‘pre-work’ and ‘follow-up’ see little investment.

What does that look like in the real world? In typical training programmes, the emphasis is put on the actual learning event, often the “in the room training time”, while significantly less attention is placed on preparing participants to learn and supporting them as they integrate their learning into their existing way of working.

Let’s change an 85% failure rate to an 85% success rate

Within the same study, Brinkerhoff found that effective learning programmes had different investment patterns. Half of the resources that go into effective learning programmes are focused on ‘follow-up’. In contrast to typical learning programmes, effective learning programmes resulted in 85% of the participants incorporating their new learning into their way of working.

What does this mean for our clients?


When we work with clients to develop their unique learning programmes, we emphasize preparing the participants to learn. And, perhaps most critically, we recognize that cementing learning is vital to the success of the programme. How participants are supported in the workplace as they attempt to apply what they have learned will make or break a learning programme investment.


Experience tells us one size does not fit all in how “pre-work” and “follow-up” happen in the workplace. That’s where our team’s creativity and expertise allow us to provide programmes that are customised to each organisation’s unique culture and goals. There are, however, consistent elements within programmes. Effective learning programmes:


  • Are explicit about what people will learn and where they can implement it before the training event
  • Ensure managers of the participants are aware of the learning taking place and their role in supporting it
  • Implement a multifaceted approach to encourage, monitor and support the learning initiatives


Caboo approaches developing learning programs for our clients with a holistic perspective. Today one of our missions is to see that 85% failure rate, flip to the 85% adoption rate demonstrated with effective learning programmes. We do this through research and thought partnership. We get nerdy and craft a unique programme journey to suit where you are, and where you want to go.


Our experiential group training activates the whole person and we keep participants engaged as they practice zooming out to the big picture and digging into practical stuff they can use today. Support, often one-to-one coaching or facilitated follow-up meetings, allow programme participants and their teams to move through the sometimes awkward phase of integrating new ways of working.


We care (a bunch) about how people are affected by our work. That’s why we listen and measure as we go and adapt when needed to enhance programme engagement and results.

Are you ready to create a learning programme that supports your business goals?

Drop us an email info@caboo.com

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