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Practice Leads to Lasting Performance

Identifying ways to transform training and performance improvement from presentations to learning experiences

You’re listening to an in-service for a new tray and confidently feel you understand the info; however, several days later you receive the tray and discover you are lost. Has this ever happened to you? I have experienced this, and it was pretty discouraging.


Let’s compare two situations: Remember the first time you read a driver’s manual or saw people swimming in a pool. How much do you remember? Now think back to your driving lessons, driver’s test or the first time you learned to swim in a pool. You may remember pieces of each of those situations. Chances are you remember more and continue to use skills from the situations where you were participating and practicing.


Now let’s think for a minute if you were expected to successfully drive after only reading the manual or successfully swim by seeing another person swim. How safe and successful would you have been? Probably not at all! There are reasons why we have driver’s tests for drivers and swimming tests for lifeguards.


Why is it that we expect our teammates to remember and apply every detail of an in-service by listening to a 5 to 30-minute presentation? Furthermore, why do we expect this without measuring what learning occurred or what skills were developed after the in-service? You can’t expect performance without allowing for practice. Training that requires speedy memorization will not help technicians reach their peak performance. Fostering learning where employees experience the flow of a process, make mistakes and draw their own conclusions is where lasting learning occurs.


Catering to different learning styles, creating hands-on learning experiences and measuring training will lead to a strong workforce with sustained departmental success. Next time you provide an in-service, see if you can check these boxes:

  • Visuals, demonstrations and props are included

  • Learners have the hands-on opportunity to mirror the instructor’s demonstration

  • Learners can practice the process and receive coaching to affirm or correct their application

  • Knowledge checks or quizzes are included throughout the training

  • Learner’s ability to successfully demonstrate the process is assessed before they work independently

Sara Wynn – Senior Manager, Training

My mantra as a training professional: I unlock, guide and foster growth for the potential that lies in myself and others through learning. The magic in training others is not in providing knowledge or information to others; it is in guiding others to opportunities, resources, and experiences that allows them to steer and unfold their own learning journey. I have been an Educator with STERIS since August 2013.