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  • November 15, 2019 Event Summary| Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning

November 15, 2019 Event Summary| Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning

December 29, 2019 5:29 PM | Anonymous

By Susan Camberis

Editor, Training Today

Talent Development (TD) professionals work hard to create training that matters. 

Gaining insights on how to do this more effectively was the focus of ATDChi’s November webinar with Andy Jefferson, J.D.  Jefferson is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of The 6Ds® Company in Wilmington, Delaware.  An author and frequent and popular global speaker on the subject of turning talent development into competitive advantage, Jefferson is a co-creator of The 6Ds model and author of the bestselling books The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning: How to Turn Training and Development into Business Results (San Francisco: Pfeiffer, 2006, Second Edition Pfeiffer 2010, Third Edition Wiley 2015). 

The 6Ds model includes steps that will be familiar to most TD professionals:  Define, Design, Deliver, Drive, Deploy, and Document.  Accounting for all of these in your instruction is one way to achieve breakthrough learning.   

If you are looking to enhance your learning offerings in 2020, here are 6 bright take-aways to consider:

1.      Define business outcomes and learning objectives.  Jefferson recommends using learning objectives to communicate with instructional designers, and using business objectives to communicate with sponsors and participants.  To define the goals, behaviors, measures, and results for training, ask four questions:  1.  What business needs will be met? 2. What will participants do differently and better?  3.  What or who could confirm these changes? 4.  What are all the specific criteria of success? 

2.      Design a complete experience that expands beyond the training itself.  Quality guru and process design expert W. Edwards Deming once said, “If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you probably don’t know what you are doing.”  According to Jefferson, reaching higher levels of performance requires looking at learning as a complete experience – one that incorporates preparing, learning, transfer, and achieving results.

3.      Deliver training in a way that makes learned concepts easy to apply.  As Jefferson astutely points out, “The ‘Knowing/Doing Gap’ is a real issue, when it comes to balancing content and practice.”  Most corporate training has too much content and not enough practice.  Active learning with practice and feedback are essential.  Jefferson recommends looking at your ratio of active practice to passive content.  Adjust so that active learning is 50% or more of training time.

4.      Drive learning transfer by planning and managing it, rather than leaving it to chance.  Managers can make or break the success of any program.  Equip managers to drive learning transfer by ensuring that they show interest in the training and have a brief conversation with learners before and after training. 

5.      Deploy performance support to facilitate transfer and application.  Performance support is critical to close the gap between content delivered and content applied, reducing the load on working memory.  For best results, Jefferson suggests combining performance support and accountability.  You can start by reviewing a critical program.  Does your program include performance support?  Provide managers with short, practical guides. 

6.      Document results, not just activity, and continuously improve training.  Managers want to know:  So what?  And, now what?  Measure what matters to the business!  Did you get impact? is the key question.  To get started, Jefferson recommends discussing a critical program with a business sponsor.  What are their criteria for success? 

The 6Ds are a set of processes and tools you can apply to create breakthrough learning in your organization. 

To learn more about how you can apply these concepts to your critical programs in 2020, visit


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