An effective training intervention is one where the desired learning outcomes are achieved.

In order to achieve this the learning outcomes must be clearly defined. Often this is regarded as a simple task, when in practice it is not.

Learning outcomes should be driven by the desired change in behaviour that is being targeted. To identify the learning outcome first define how you want behaviour to change.

Don't confuse this with purely attitudinal change, although that is part of the equation, it should also address the 'technical skills' change that is required. One without the other will have a limited, and perhaps negative, impact on your business.

Designing training interventions, either face to face, virtual or through self-directed means, that really change behaviour in the manner outlined above, works most effectively where a four stage approach is applied.

1) Define the problem

The first stage is to define the problem that the change in behaviour is designed to overcome and communicate the need for change to those that need to change.

2) Provide a medium for the targeted changed behaviour

The second stage is to provide a medium for the targeted changed behaviour to be modelled in, typically a simulation or an engaging experiential activity. This provides an opportunity to practice, seek feedback and then refine the targeted behaviours.

3) Discuss, identify and challenge

The third phase is to discuss, identify and challenge the organisational barriers that inhibit the targeted change in behaviour.

Removing resistance to change is critical to successfully transforming behaviour. It is possible to identify through carefully structured questionnaires whether your team are; adopters of change, indifferent to change, or active blockers of change.

The training intervention is aimed at turning adopters into champions, those that are indifferent into adopters and highlighting blockers for challenge.

4) Show how to embed the behavioural change

The fourth and final element of an effective training programme is to show how to embed the behavioural change in the day-to-day operations of the business.

We have found that our promo-film challenge activity has been very effective at building emotional commitment to change.


In summary changing behaviour, in our experience, is most effective when you highlight why the change is needed, what the change should look like, what barriers need to be removed to facilitate the change, and how to embed the change into the fabric of the business.

As I type this it all seems so self-evident, and of course it is, however central to success is the quality of the experiential activity that is deployed in the process.

At MDA Training we specialise in the design of simulations and experiential activities that help our clients change behaviour.