Gagne's Nine Levels of Learning
Training Your Team Effectively
Level 1: Gaining Attention (Reception)
Start the learning experience by gaining the attention of your audience. This change in stimulus alerts the group that learning will soon take place.
Apply: Gain attention by raising the volume of your voice, gesturing, showing a short video on the topic of instruction, or using any other event that brings the period of "waiting for the lesson to start" to an end.
Level 2: Informing Learners of the Objective (Expectancy)
Next, you must ensure that your team knows what they need to learn, and that they understand why they're about to learn this new information.
Apply: Explain to your team what they will have learnt by the end of the session. Then, explain how their learning is going to benefit them, and the organization.
For example, you might explain that the new process that they're going to learn about will save the organization 20 percent in overhead fees. Because of recent budget cuts, the new lower-cost process will help your organization avoid laying six people off in your department. Now that your team understands why they're learning this new information, and what the risks are if they don't learn it, they'll be more motivated and more receptive to your training.
Level 3: Stimulating Recall of Prior Learning (Retrieval)
When your people learn something new, match the new information with related information or topics they've learned in the past.
Apply: Review any previous learning that you've done with your team, and apply it to what they're learning now. Also, ask your team if they have any previous experiences with the topic, or if they have experienced the problems that the training is trying to resolve. Then make connections between what they are learning, and their previous learning.
Level 4: Presenting the Stimulus (Selective Perception)
Present the new information to the group in an effective manner.
Apply: Organize your information in a logical and easy-to-understand manner. Try to use a variety of different media and styles (such as visual cues, verbal instruction, and active learning) to suit people with different learning styles.
Level 5: Providing Learning Guidance (Semantic Encoding)
To help your team learn and retain the information, provide alternative approaches that illustrate the information that you're trying to convey.
Level 6: Eliciting Performance (Responding)
At this stage, you need to ensure that your people can demonstrate their knowledge of what you've taught them. The way that they show this depends on what they're learning.
Level 7: Providing Feedback (Reinforcement)
After your team demonstrates their knowledge, provide feedback and reinforce any points as necessary.
Apply: Imagine that you've taught your team a new technique for handling difficult customers. After several role playing scenarios, you notice that a few team members aren't assertive enough to calm the customer in this fictional "tense situation." Your feedback and tips point out their mistakes so that they can correct them.
Level 8: Assessing Performance (Retrieval)
Your team should be able to complete a test, or other measurement tool, to show that they've learned the material or skill effectively. Team members should complete this test independently, without any help or coaching from you.
Level 9: Enhancing Retention and Transfer (Generalization)
In this last stage, your team members show that they've retained information by transferring their new knowledge or skill to situations that are different from the ones you've trained them on.
Apply: Repeated practice is the best way to ensure that people retain information and use it effectively. Make sure that your team has enough opportunity to use their learning on a regular basis. Schedule "practice runs" if you've been training on a new process, or have a follow-up session to review information or skills.
As people become more proficient, schedule in variants of the practice runs and expose people to different situations, so that they become comfortable generalizing.