How To Make Training Stick

March 28, 2014 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

How To Make Training Stick
by Ivan Teh RunningMan

It's one of the biggest questions in the continuing education and training industry, and one of the issues that adult / andragogy trainers struggle with on a daily basis.

How do we ensure that training truely sticks, that learners retain and carry over the skills and knowledge learnt to the workplace, and actually apply what they've learnt, even after a lengthly period of time?

Asked by everyone from managers to trainers, and even the leaners themselves, the search for this answer has lead to countless studies and research, ranging from the behaviour of your brain, to 'tricks' trainers use during facilitation.

In my initial research into How To Make Training Stick, I've decided to focus on 4 ways:

1. Self-Explanation
2. Applying
3. Simplicity
4. Follow-Up

How To Make Training Stick

Each of these 4 ways to make training stick encompass several steps that trainers or learners can perform to increase the likelihood of training being retained and transferred, thus increasing its effectiveness.


1. Self-Explanation

Self-Explanation is when the learners attempt to explain what they learnt. This aids in memory retention, because coming to an internal realisation, or an 'A-Ha!' moment, makes the learning much more meaningful, not to mention the small sense of accomplishment that accompanies it. This makes Self-Explanation much more effective than simply 'telling' or 'lecturing' learners, which mainly affects the short term memory.

As trainers, we should try to facilitate our learners to come to that internal realisation with Self-Explanation, by asking targeted questions about the key learning points of a topic. Furthermore, the ability to recall, relate and contextualize the training for learners also aids retention, as learners will find it more relevant and useful.

Self-Explanation can take various forms, as long as it requires the learners to process what was learnt in their minds, such as verbally answering questions in their own words / paraphrasing, or taking notes.

Methods of Self-Explanation:
  • Answering Questions
  • Taking Notes
  • Paraphrasing / Putting It In Their Own Words
  • Silent Thinking
  • Self-Study

2. Applying

Practice makes perfect, and this is true when it comes to Applying. Being able to show application / apply what was learnt is a basic standard to show competence in learning. Applying is useful because it allows learners the opportunity to exercise and practice their learning in a controlled, non judgemental environment, where making mistakes is part of the learning process and not a life-and-death situation.

As trainers, we should allow for ample Applying opprtunities for learners, in various forms. Applying also aids leaners to contextualize the learning, and demonstrate the relevance in a real world context. Furthermore, repeated use of Applying in learning allows learners to build confidence and in the long term, good habits.

Applying can take various forms, the most common of which is testing (multiple choice, short answers, essay, demonstrations), group discussions, case studies, brainstorming, mindmapping, and role plays. Some lesser used, but still useful Applying techniques include ranking of information, telling stories, debating both sides of a topic, and teaching others (the best way to learn).

Methods of Applying:
  • Testing - Quizzes, Multiple Choice Questions, Short Answer Questions, Essays, Demonstrations, Presentations
  • Case Studies
  • Group Discussions
  • Role Plays
  • Brainstorming
  • Mindmapping
  • Ranking
  • Story Telling
  • Debates
  • Reviewing Videos

3. Simplicity

Simplicity is all about breaking complicated or large chunks or information into smaller, more manageable sizes, and presenting it in a logical, yet uncomplicated manner, using visuals and appropriate pacing. The human brain is unable to absorb large or unwieldy sets of information, and is prone to discarding information, or 'tuning out' when presented with this.

From a learner's perspective, effort will be required to properly process and sort the information received. Thus, Simplicity aids not only in understanding, but also in communicating the information, and preventing misunderstanding. Simplicity is also useful for planning and presenting information in small, logical chunks, building on the knowledge that came before.

Trainers can achieve Simplicity by using visuals in presentation, step by step instructions, and pacing the delivery of information such that 1 learning point can be covered within 10 - 20 minutes. After each learning point, have the learners practise Applying or Self-Explanation.

Methods of Simplicity:
  • Leveraging On Current Technology
  • Including More Visuals
  • Step By Step Instructions
  • Infographics - Flow Charts, Graphs, Pie Charts, Bar Charts
  • Pacing / Spacing Out Content
  • Logical Flow Of Content / Building On Prior Knowledge
  • Repetition
  • Showing Relevance / Contextualise / Relating
  • Short Chunks / Bite Sized Content
  • Emphasis

4. Follow-Up

Research has shown that Follow-Up is among the most important steps which takes place post-training, and yet is also among the most neglected. Lack of Follow-Up could be a result of apathy from the learner, a unwillingness or laziness to change, a lack of support from their management, and unsupportive working environment, or simply being overwhelmed by day to day life.

Learners can actively pursue Follow-Up by being disciplined in transferring and applying the learning, or by having a 'learning buddy' to encourage one another, but that only goes so far. Management support and intervention is crucial in this stage of post-training, both in developing a supportive working environment, as well as a commitment to change by applying the learning. Follow-Up from training has to be top-driven.

For trainers, Follow-Up can also be implemented as part of a training, but it requires a shift in mindset to view the last day of class not as 'the end of training', but really 'the beginning'. Trainers can incorporate Follow-Up actions post-training, such as mystery shopping, sending articles to learners to work on, reviewing with management the various areas identified for change / growth, or conducting post-training refreshers.

Methods of Follow-Up:
  • Timeliness
  • Reminders
  • Mystery Shopping
  • Management Support
  • Conducive And Supportive Work Environment
  • Buddy System
  • Post-Training Content / Homework
  • Referesher Training
  • Providing Feedback To Management
  • Self-Discipline
  • Daily / Regular Practice And Repetition
  • Appraisals Of Performance


These 4 ways is by no means the sole methods on How To Make Training Stick, but rather, areas which I feel trainers and facilitators of the continuing education and training industry should focus on in order to increase the effectiveness of adult / andragogy training.

Attribution & Sources:

Rapid Learning Institute, Rapid Learning Insights Blog:

Mind Flash, The Daily Mind Flash Blog:

Jill McGillen, Carolyn Balling. 25 Ways to Make Training Stick. Next Turn Consulting, 2012.

John Dunlosky, Katherine A. Rawson, Elizabeth J. Marsh, Mitchell J. Nathan, and Daniel T. Willingham. Improving students’ learning with effective learning techniques: Promising directions from cognitive and educational psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, January 2013, Pages 4-58.

Andrew C. Butler. Repeated Testing Produces Superior Transfer of Learning Relative to Repeated Studying. Journal of Experimental Psychology: American Psychological Association Learning, Memory, and Cognition, April 2010, Vol. 36, No. 5, Pages 1118–1133.

Bennett L. Schwartz, Lisa K. Son, Nate Kornell, Bridgid Finn. Four Principles of Memory Improvement: A Guide to Improving Learning Efficiency. The International Journal Of Creativity & Problem Solving, 2011, Vol. 21, No. 1, Pages 7-15.

Nate Kornell, Robert A. Bjork. A Stability Bias in Human Memory: Overestimating Remembering and Underestimating Learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 2009, Vol. 138, No. 4, Pages 449-468.

Doug Rohrer, Harold Pashler. Recent Research on Human Learning Challenges Conventional Instructional Strategies. Educational Researcher, July 2010, Vol. 39, No. 5, Pages 406-412.


Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store

March 27, 2014 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store
30 River Valley Road
Clarke Quay Central Fountain

1 Harbourfront Walk
VivoCity The Plaza

252 North Bridge Road
Raffles City External Quartzite

23 Serangoon Central
NEX Market Square

70 Collyer Quay
Customs House Terrace

Gourmet Ice Cream Pop-Up Store Pleasure Seeking

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 9
Ambience & Setting: 8
Food & Beverage: 9
Service: 9
Value for Money: 8
Spent about SGD $20 per person.


Since 26 July 2013, the Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store has been operating as a pop-up store, opening for about 1 month in various locations around Singapore. After having operated at Clarke Quay, VivoCity, Raffles City, NEX Mall, and Collyer Quay / Customs House Terrace, the Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store has now ceased operations for the time being.

Ambience at the Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store is classy, chic, and elegant, befitting the premium ice cream sold by Magnum. I loved the large 'M' sign made with ice cream sticks, and the various Magnum inspired paintings on the walls. Also loved the lights, shaped like chocolate chips. Colour theme throughout the Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store is chocolate and velvet, invoking a feeling of luxury, decadence and indulgence.

I find staff at the Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store to be upbeat and happy. Mostly comprised of part time students, the Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store staff are polite, friendly, efficient, and very knowledgable on the menu, able to share good advice.

The Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store offers one-of-a-kind Magnum ice cream creations, including desserts and cocktails. Can't get these anywhere else but here at the Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store! The desserts and cocktails are creatively named, and look totally beautiful / sexy / appealing. There is a small selection of savoury main dishes, but I passed these over for their desserts!

The Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store also allows you to customise your own Magnum creation, with a total of 18 different toppings! Name your creation, and share it on the Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store facebook page!


The Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store operates in each location for around 1 month. This limited time opening, as well as a seasonal menu, means you should visit Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store when you can!

Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store Pop-Up

Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store Exterior

Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store Signage

Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store Interior

Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store Lights

Menu items are creatively named and designed beautifully, and feature Magnum ice cream in some way. Prices are relatively affordable per dish, costing around SGD $14 - $19.

Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store Menu 01

Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store Menu 02

Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store Menu 03

Velvet Serviette

Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store Coaster

Create Your Own Magnum ice cream (SGD $7) with 18 Magnum Toppings! Staff tell me only a plain vanilla Magnum ice cream is used as the base, so as not to ruin the flavour of the toppings. Use as much or as little as you want! Then choose 1 of the 3 Magnum Chocolate Coating Dips, either milk, dark, or white.

18 Magnum Toppings

3 Magnum Chocolate Coating Dips

Sweet, dreamy, decadent... Apt descriptions for A Midsummer's Night Dream (SGD$ 18). A beautifully painted white chocolate sheet blankets a vanilla Magnum ice cream, studded with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, topped with pretty edible flowers. Almost too pretty to eat, the presentation is a work of art. Heaven on a plate.

A Midsummer's Night Dream 01

A Midsummer's Night Dream 02

A Midsummer's Night Dream 03

A Midsummer's Night Dream 04

The Magnum version of an adult Hot Chocolate, the Cosy By The Fireplace (SGD $16) consists of a tall glass of rich hot chocolate, enhanced with Bailey's and a vanilla Magnum ice cream stirred in, topped with fluffy caramelised marshmallows. Lovely and warming, and not for kids.

Cosy By The Fireplace 01

Cosy By The Fireplace 02

Cosy By The Fireplace 03

Cosy By The Fireplace 04

The Milkshake For The Tipsy (SGD $15) consists of Magnum milkshake cream, which is essentially a vanilla Magnum ice cream mix that is laced with Bailey's Irish Cream, then garnished with a chocolate wafer stick and Magnum chocolate coins.

Milkshake For The Tipsy 01

Milkshake For The Tipsy 02

Milkshake For The Tipsy 03

Milkshake For The Tipsy 04

The Drunken Pear (SGD $17) is beautifully presented, with a vanilla Magnum ice cream covered in chocolate sauce strips and strawberry sauce strips, topped with fresh herbs. The base are fresh pears poached in wine till soft, wines used include Merlot and Chardonnay. Fragrant, tasty and delightful to eat.

The Drunken Pear 01

The Drunken Pear 02

The Drunken Pear 03

The Drunken Pear 04

The Magnum Milk & Cookies (SGD $12) features fresh, home made crumbed chocolate chip cookies and whole double chocolate cookies. Topped with a vanilla Magnum ice cream, fresh mint leaves and a tangy lemon citrus reduction, garnished with a Magnum 'M' symbol made with cocoa powder.

Milk & Cookies 01

Milk & Cookies 02

Milk & Cookies 03

Milk & Cookies 04

My own Magnum ice cream creation, The Sinner. Coated all over in Dark Chocolate, sprinkled with crunchy Pistachio Chips and chewy Desiccated Coconut for a bit of naughty fun, add in a little Sea Salt for a salty contrast to cut through the sweet, and you have a sinfully good dessert!

The Sinner - Dark Chocolate, Pistachio Chips, Desiccated Coconut, Sea Salt 01

The Sinner - Dark Chocolate, Pistachio Chips, Desiccated Coconut, Sea Salt 02

The Sinner - Dark Chocolate, Pistachio Chips, Desiccated Coconut, Sea Salt 03

The Sinner - Dark Chocolate, Pistachio Chips, Desiccated Coconut, Sea Salt 04

My own Magnum ice cream creation, The Saint. Coated all over in light White Chocolate, sprinkled with crunchy Almond Flakes and Rose Petals for a bit of elegant fragrance, add in a little Chilli Flakes for a spicy contrast to cut through the sweet, and you have a heavenly good dessert!

The Saint - White Chocolate, Almond Flakes, Rose Petals, Chilli Flakes 01

The Saint - White Chocolate, Almond Flakes, Rose Petals, Chilli Flakes 02

The Saint - White Chocolate, Almond Flakes, Rose Petals, Chilli Flakes 03

The Saint - White Chocolate, Almond Flakes, Rose Petals, Chilli Flakes 04

Magnum ice cream is sold in most major supermarkets in Singapore, and there are up to 10 different varieties available, including Magnum Classic, Magnum White, Magnum Dark, Magnum Almond, Magnum Double Caramel, Magnum Black Espresso, Magnum Pink Marc De Champagne, Magnum Mint, Magnum Gold, and Magnum Chocolate Infinity.

Magnum Classic

Magnum White

Magnum Dark

Magnum Almond

Magnum Double Caramel

Magnum Black Espresso

Magnum Pink Marc De Champagne

Magnum Mint

Magnum Gold

Magnum Chocolate Infinity

The Goldfinger (SGD $11) was my least favourite. A halved vanilla Magnum ice cream is coated in chocolate sauce, while the other half is wrapped in a thin crepe. Garnished with peanuts, chocolate shavings and edible gold nuggets, this dish is pretty to look at, but taste is just decent.

Goldfinger 01

Goldfinger 02

Goldfinger 03

Goldfinger 04