Didn't We Do Training on That? 4 Strategies to Reignite Past Training

If you held a training program that didn’t stick, you’re not alone. According to a McKinsey study, only 25% of managers report that training changes employees’ performance. The other 75% are left wondering, “Didn’t we do training on that?”

At the 2024 Global Excavation Safety Conference, the author will share a 5 phase process to help ensure you avoid ineffective training events in the future. However, if it’s already happened, good news! All is not lost.

Here are 4 strategies for reigniting a past training, so you finally get the results you want. These strategies can be used individually or, as the case study will show, combined for powerful results.

1. Teach Your Coworkers

Learning happens best when attendees get the opportunity to practice and reflect on what they’ve learned, which makes a post training peer-to-peer learning event a powerful strategy for amplifying the effectiveness of a past training. If just a single team member has attended a training, that attendee can present the highlights to their peers. If multiple coworkers or an entire team attended the same training, assign different parts among groups or individuals who present and teach on their assigned content.

Ask attendees to review the training materials which might include the training manual, their notes, job aids, and a bibliography of additional sources of information. After reviewing those materials, coworkers can present to their peers on the key concepts.

Some key questions for attendees to cover in their presentation might include:

  • What did you find interesting?
  • What do your peers need to know about this?
  • What did you change or should you have changed as a result of this training?
  • What should your peers change?


After the presentation, facilitate a discussion that allows the team to share their impressions, add personal experiences that add more context to the training, and identify action items they want to follow up on or implement as a result of this training.

2. Facilitated Discussion

If the situation does not lend itself to a peer-to-peer presentation, a facilitated discussion can still be very effective. For example, we worked with a mechanical contractor whose supervisors had previously received leadership training. While they had adopted some new behaviors, there was room for more growth.

We guided attendees in recreating their training while they shared their insights on how their communication skills impacted their teams. Attendees identified where they had opportunities for improvement and a skill that would take their leadership to the next level.

3. Gamification

Reviewing past material can be boring for attendees. Especially when it’s material they’ve heard multiple times in past. In that case, gamification can turn it into a fun and competitive experience that allows attendees to demonstrate how much they know and be re-introduced to material they may have forgotten. Quiz shows and matching games are easy ways to cover key information in a short period of time, but if you’re looking to gauge competency with equipment, tools or processes, you could set up multiple stations for employees to demonstrate mastery before moving on to the next station.

4. Challenges

When it’s simply a matter of getting enough practice with a new technique, piece of equipment, or skill, a challenge can encourage people to repeat it regularly until they’ve created new habits around this area. For a limited period of time, participants track their successes. Participants can compete with themselves or their peers to string together more and more successes. Meanwhile, they are building familiarity, confidence, and experience with the targeted behavior.


Here’s an example of how to pull these pieces together to successfully rekindle a past training to increase a desired behavior.

A leader at an international utility company reached out to Habit Mastery Consulting for help improving his team’s safe driving practices many of whom could be driving hundreds of miles a day from one site to another. They had already been through extensive driving training over a period of years. They did not need more driving training. They needed an opportunity to practice the driving skills they already knew they needed, so that it became a habit.

We designed the “Amazing(ly Safe) Race” as a gamefied training experience themed around dinosaurs and vehicles. Participants divided into teams and moved around a race track by giving correct answers on safe driving practices while avoiding hazards— like vehicle destroying dinosaurs.

In smaller groups, attendees discussed how safe driving practices impacted them and why it was important that they drive safely. By the end of the training, participants had chosen a safe driving practice that would make the biggest improvement in their own personal safety on the road. For example, attendees chose behaviors like driving the speed limit, leaving more space between vehicles, not using a cell phone, backing into parking spots, and conducting a 360 walk around before entering the vehicle.

Immediately after the training, participants began practicing their desired safe driving practice in a 60 day challenge. Via their mobile phones, participants received daily reminders and tracked their successes and failures in completing their desired safe driving behavior each day.

Overall, attendees enjoyed the unique training experience. It offered a fun way to revisit material they were already familiar with and provided strategies to put their knowledge into action. At the end of the challenge, participants reported a 157% increase in the safe driving practice they had targeted. In a follow up survey 4 months after the training, they reported sticking with it and being very confident they would continue to stick with it.


More training isn’t always the answer, especially when employees have been through a training on the topic already. Instead, dust off the materials, think outside of the box, and encourage employees to revisit the topic.

Sharon Lipinski


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