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How to Develop Good Habits Using Training

What’s your workplace training goal? While there can be many, the main goal of all workplace training is to change behavior from what they are presently doing to what we want them to do. In other words, we want our learners to drop bad habits and develop good habits. This means, as you analyze the behavioral gap, one of the most important questions you can ask is, “What habit am I trying to develop in the learner?”

What Habits Do You Want to Develop?

All workplace behaviors or skills are learnable. When you repeat a behavior enough times it becomes a habit. Your job as a trainer is give your learners  enough practice to develop good habits.

How Do Habits Develop?

According to B.J. Fogg, a Stanford University Professor and researcher, a behavior is the result of a what he calls the habit loop.

This is what the habit loop looks like:

develop good habits

This model shows that a behavior results from a cue that leads to a routine that is reinforced by a reward.

His research shows that if we want to change a behavior, we need to change one of these values. Your job as an instructional designer or trainer is to determine which of these factors can help you make the change you want quickly, so you can begin to develop good habits in the learners.

Let’s take a quick look at an example.

Changing a Behavior

Let’s say your customer service manager comes to you wanting you to create a training program. After asking questions, you determine the behavior gap is how the customer service representatives are handling calls for a certain product. Let’s call it product A.

More research show that product A recently received some changes. The manger communicated the changes to the service representatives through an email. Further research show that most of the service representatives either had not understood the changes or had not taken much time trying to understand the changes.

Your job is to design and deliver training that changes the service representative’s behavior. Your goal is to develop good habits for handling product A calls.

In this case, the cue is the product A call. You are not going to be able to change the cue. This leaves you with routine and reward. You can use one or both for developing the habit you want.

You can do this by getting the learner to practice the right routine enough times. Research shows that this is about 40 times. Using the habit loop, you cement the right behavior by rewarding them each time they do the behavior correctly.

In a classroom, this could be something as simple as positive reinforcement. You could tell the learner “Good job” or have the class give them a round of applause. You could also give them a healthy or unhealthy snack. You might give them a unique looking certificate of completion.

In an eLearning environment, this could be turning the practice into a game where the learner gets points as they progress. It could be going down a path toward a finish line each time they give the right response. They could join a special team as they complete certain parts of the course.

The key is to get the learner doing the right behavior by rewarding them in a way that keeps them involved and engaged. You want them to keep doing it until the behavior becomes solidified. This is one of the quickest and simplest way to develop good habits in workers.

Developing Good Habits in Your Business

As you can see, you can develop good habits by designing training that reinforces the right behaviors. By keeping the habit loop in mind, you can quickly close the learning gap and have your employees doing the behaviors you need.