L&D expertise shared by Paul Matthews

Behaviour change, learning workflows, learning transfer… this is a one stop place for articles by Paul Matthews published on other sites.

The articles and blogs cover learning workflows, learning transfer, behaviour change and other areas of best practice to enable Learning & Development to develop their strategy and have the tools to work with so they are trusted by the business.

In the words of Robin Hoyle, Chair of the World of Learning Conference, “Too much of what learning teams do is well intentioned but ultimately underwhelming. Paul Matthews’ excellent work is packed with actionable hints, tips and strategies which will enhance the work of anyone who is serious about ensuring that learning interventions make a positive difference to employee’s skills and an organisation’s capability.”

So read on for things you can use right now, and make a difference. And pop back here now and again to read the latest published articles…

Ask the expert: How can I create a business-aligned L&D strategy with limited resources and time?

Published on TrainingZone 16 April 2024

In response to a reader question, three experts offer their insights on developing an L&D strategy that is actionable, maintainable and fully aligned with organisational goals. Paul Matthews was one of them…

Reader question: With time and change pressures, as well as limited resources, what could be my angle to a suitable L&D strategy that is nevertheless aligned with the overall strategy?

Read Paul’s response as well as Jackie Clifford’s and Robin Hoyle’s here

Learning transfer: The difficulty with creating new habits

Published on TrainingZone 3 April 2024

Why is it so hard to form good habits and behaviours?

Usually, when we talk about learning transfer, our desired outcome is that after employees learn something they will utilise that learning to behave differently, not once, but many times. Doing something a significant number of times means we enter the realm of habits. So, let’s look at habits to help us understand how they can both help and hinder us in our quest for learning transfer.

Read the full article here

Confident smiling businessman standing in an office using a tabletLeveraging AI to Revolutionize Learning in the Flow of Work

Published on Training Industry on 5 March 2024

Learning in the flow of work is not merely about the relocation of learning moments from the classroom to the workflow, but rather is a reimagining of learning as an integral component of work.

The term “learning in the flow of work” describes a departure from conventional training approaches toward a more integrated, seamless learning experience. The methodology embeds bite-sized, digestible learning opportunities within the daily activities of employees. The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) has amplified the potential of learning in the flow of work, offering personalized, efficient, and contextually relevant learning experiences that are deeply integrated into the workflow.

Note that some would consider informal learning, that is, the learning that happens naturally as a “side effect” of work, also a form of learning in the flow of work. Perhaps it is useful to consider learning in the flow of work as being on a continuum from informal to formal. Here we consider the formal end of this continuum where learning is planned and “delivered.”

Read the full article here

Navigating impact: driving impactful change through learning transfer

Published on Training Journal on 17 January 2024

Paul Matthews shares his considerable experience about ensuring that people really do get the most out of their learning experiences.

It would be a rare learning and development professional who doesn’t aspire to creating positive impact within their organisation. This article is not for them. Everyone else, one assumes, wants to make a difference. They seek to make their work meaningful. They yearn for change to occur as a direct result of their activities, and for that change to benefit the recipients of the L&D initiative, their colleagues, the organisation, and the customers or beneficiaries of whatever the organisation contributes to the world.

So, how do you drive impact from learning initiatives?

Read the full article here

The difference between ‘learning workflow’ and ‘learning in the workflow’

Published on TrainingZone on 31 October 2023

Understanding the differences between ‘learning workflow’ and ‘learning in the workflow’ can avoid needless confusion, and help L&D professionals create more effective and efficient training programmes.

Paul Matthews noticed that there can be confusion over the difference between a ‘learning workflow’ and ‘learning in the workflow’; these are not the same thing. All Learning and Development programmes have an end goal they need to achieve. In most cases, the goal is to provide employees with new skills and knowledge, which will lead to them achieving better results.

Read the full article here

City scene reflected in a body of waterFive unexpected barriers to learning transfer

Published on TrainingZone on 10 October 2023

A lack of learning transfer is costing organisations money and preventing employees from doing their jobs properly. Here’s what can L&D do about it.

Learning and development professionals have long been aware of the lack of learning transfer from training events, but typically, little is done about it. Training is delivered, and L&D moves on to the next room of people.

Read the full article here

Go back to basics before embracing shiny new technologies

Published on TrainingZone – 18 September 2023

New technologies may be shiny and their impact on learning and development valid, but they don’t guarantee success. It’s important that the essential groundwork of L&D basics isn’t overlooked and that tech is seen as a supportive tool, not a magic solution.

In today’s fast-paced world, where technological advancements and trendy ideas seem to emerge on a daily basis, it’s easy to be drawn to the allure of shiny new technologies and the latest fashionable learning strategies. The vendors’ promises of improved efficiency, engagement and outcomes can be enticing, leading many organisations to jump on a shiny bandwagon without a second thought.

However, a critical step often overlooked is laying a strong foundation in learning and development (L&D) basics before incorporating these innovations.

Read the full article here

Learning from puppies: Training is for life not just for Christmas

Published on TrainingZone – 6 September 2023

So many people in training are focused on the training day itself. The truth is that so much more is needed beyond this to generate impact. The real outcome is creating capability so why not think of ourselves as ‘capability managers’ rather than ‘training managers’?

Who doesn’t like puppies?

That thought rolled through my head as I watched over the fence of the puppy therapy stand at the CIPD Festival of Work show in June. It was a welcome distraction from the hustle and bustle of the exhibition. What was so endearing was that the puppies seemed to be having as much fun as the people in the enclosure with them.

It reminded me of the phrase coined by the Dogs Trust over 40 years ago: ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’. And that got me thinking about how we often ‘mistreat’ training events. Training is for life, not just for Christmas…

Read the full article here

Setting up learning for success – Part 2

Published on trainingjournal.com – 31 August 2023

In the second of two articles on establishing successful learning, Paul Matthews examines collective responsibility

In the first article in this series we looked at getting clarity on the wants and expectations of the various stakeholders involved in a staff development programme.

If those wants and expectations involve employees changing the way they do their jobs, and that will usually be the case, a ‘team’ effort is needed for those objectives to be realised. This is one of the reasons that far too often the results of training programmes don’t meet expectations. The team does not coalesce around the programme to make it successful.

The learner is central, but without support from others, they are unlikely to fully operationalise the new information they learned on a training programme. That is, the learners seldom succeed on their own in converting their learning into the desired new behaviours and sustaining that new way of working.

This conversion of learning into useful action is at the heart of what is usually termed learning transfer. There are many reasons that the team does not swing into action to support a learner to operationalise their learning…

Read the full article here

Setting up learning for success – Part 1

Published on trainingjournal.com – 24 August 2023

In the first of two articles looking at how to analyse learning need to establish successful training programmes, Paul Matthews focusses on setting expectations.

So, you are running a training programme… Why?

Somebody has asked for it. Perhaps many people have. Who are these stakeholders and what do they actually want? Or more importantly, what do they expect? What they want and what they expect may well be a little different. If you want your work to be considered a success by all the stakeholders, you need to deliver what they want and/or expect. If these expectations are unrealistic, then they need to be managed into something that is realistic and achievable.

The first step is figuring out who is an interested stakeholder. Who will gain or lose when the programme runs?

Read the full article here

office employee at their desk holding a piece of paper in one hand and using a calculator with the otherHow To Identify Training Needs and Measure Your Program’s Impact

Published on trainingindustry.com – 27 January 2023

Let’s go out on a limb here and assume that you want your training course to result in a desired change.

Whatever the desired change is, when facilitating training it’s important to determine what the desired behavior change is and how your training program can help. In this article, we’ll take a look at the steps to effectively measuring and evaluating training needs in an organization.

Read the full article here

Learning transfer requires a learning workflow solution

Published on Chief Learning Officer – 2 November 2022

Learning transfer is dependent on behaviour change and generating reliable behaviour change is dependent on using a learning workflow.

Training, without learning transfer, is arguably a waste of budget and time. So, what does training need to achieve learning transfer? How do we ensure the operationalization of what was delivered, so it becomes the new way of doing things?

Read the full article here

Designing Training Programmes for Behavior Change magazine article with cup of coffee on tableDesigning Training Programs for Behaviour Change

Published in Training Industry Magazine – Summer 2022 issue

When a company invests in learning and development (L&D) initiatives, what do they want to get in return?

Sometimes they need to invest in training to meet regulatory and compliance requirements, but most of the time they want people to do their jobs better. They want their employees to consistently behave in new ways so that they more effectively and efficiently execute the company strategy. They want behaviour change.

Read the full article here


happy man driving car and showing thumbs upA story about learning and development – on a journey

Published in the People Development Magazine on 22 March 2022

Here we are going to discuss an analogy about learning and development to illustrate the critical role L&D have in your organisation.

Just imagine for a moment that you have a rather tired old car. It can get you to the shops and back, and for now, that’s all you need. Then something unexpected happens. As a result, you need to take your old car to a town over 300 miles away. Hmm, that’s a bit further than the supermarket.

Like any sensible person, you take your car for a check to see if it fits the journey. The mechanic has good news and bad news.

Then there is your second story, which is much like the first but for an L&D scenario.

Imagine you are the CEO of a company. It is trading OK, but then you have an unexpected idea, a vision of what could be possible if the company transitioned from what it is now into doing things differently.

Read the full article here

Published on TrainingJournal (TJ) on 19 August 2021

TJ highlights a section of the new book from the mind of learning transfer expert Paul Matthews.

For most behavioural change outcomes you will find the package you design using the approach above will be a blend of many components; it will have content such as elearning or videos, contributions from a trainer, on-the-job practice with feedback, opportunities for discussion and collaboration, and significant manager involvement. It won’t be a once and done event, virtual or otherwise; and it certainly won’t be an old-style training course that has been ‘webinised’.

Read the full article here

Feature: What drives real change?

Published in Learning Magazine in December 2020

Paul Matthews believes behaviour change needs a workflow solution, not a learning one.

Learning without doing does not lead to behaviour change. So, what is a recipe for behaviour change?

Read the full article here

Lego formula 1 car in the pit with lego figureWhy ‘pit stop thinking’ is what L&D needs now

Published on TrainingZone in September 2020

During the current crisis, organisations have taken one of two approaches to adapt their L&D offering, with varying degrees of success. So, will your organisation default to online training, or will you take a pit stop and redesign your approach?

A training course is not just about learning – it is about behaviour change. This is what ‘pit stop’ changes are all about.

Read the full article here

Sign with Purpose written on it, pointing rightHow to establish the real purpose of training

Published in the People Development Magazine in December 2020

I thought the real purpose of training is obvious, but apparently not. If an organisation is spending a lot of money and time on something you would think that observing what they are doing would enable you to deduce their reason for doing it. If I were to look at training in your company, what would I see?

Paul Matthews discusses how to establish the real purpose of training and its importance for sustainable behaviour change.

Read the full article here