Introducing the Rastsmith Learning Creation Blog

Every family struggles at some point in their lives. When their struggles outstrip their resources by too much, they can end up needing extra help. Over the course of my career, I have worked with many organizations, governmental and non-profit, who step in to fill that gap with services or material goods. Those organizations, like all good service providing organizations, are constantly looking for ways to improve their outcomes by improving the services they provide.

Some look to evidence based or evidence informed practices that complement their current services. Others collect data on how they are creating outcomes, and make changes from there. Still others do a combination of those approaches, or look for a new service model entirely. All of these approaches depend on being able to change the way that staff and volunteers do their work when no one is observing them.

Teaching someone something new, and actually having them consistently change their practices based on that information is called training transfer. Training transfer is not a given – research shows that most trainings create less than 10% transfer. That means that 1 out of every 10 people in the training will change the way they work (or less).

However, there are a lot of things that can improve these numbers. Using a multi-modal approach that takes into account learning styles, using the learning process to move information from short term into long term memory, and actively engaging the learners to the material are just a few examples of things that improve training transfer.

The reality is that so many of the small (and large) organizations I have worked with do not have anyone on staff who knows how to make these kinds of trainings. They have dedicated and competent training coordinators who could run them, but no curriculum developers who also have the background to understand the underlying themes and issues. So training transfer continues to suffer. When transfer suffers, outcomes suffer – and that really means that families suffer.

I am starting this blog to share the why’s and how’s of building these kinds of trainings with social service and family preservation organizations, as well as anyone else who wants to build trainings which create change. Welcome to the new Rastsmith Learning Creation blog. I hope you have lots of questions.

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