Have you ever been to a conference or training and picked up great ideas to implement right away after returning to work? Fast forward a few weeks, and you are guilty of using the same old techniques without any changes. I will admit I have done that in the past before I understood the value of reflection. Once I started seeing the benefits of reflection, I made it a part of attending any training. 

Also, as a course designer, I often put myself in the learner’s seat to understand how to absorb the learning content more effectively. I am excited to share with you a few easy steps that have personally helped me make the most of my training programs. 

Step 1: Set a personal goal. 

Start with thinking about how each professional development training enhances your expertise in the field of library marketing, reaching readers, or making an impact in your community. Write down the goals you hope to achieve after your training. Make sure they are attainable. Your goals can be “increasing the circulation of new mystery and science fiction e-books by 10 percent in the next year” or “posting consistently five times per week on your library’s social media pages to grow follower count.” These specific goals will help you approach your daily tasks at the library with new perspectives. 

Step 2: Review your notes as soon as possible after training. 

Did you know that learners forget 50% of what they learn if they do not review it within 24 hours? And that number jumps to 65% if not reviewed within a week. Even a brief review pays off. Make sure to set aside some time to review your training materials. You can use a notebook to write down ideas you have learned from your peers and instructor during the training. After that, brainstorm how you can implement those ideas in your library work.  

Step 3: Take advantage of all the wonderful resources designed to help you succeed at the library. 

One thing to keep in mind is that learning does not start and stop with the training sessions. You must put to use all the things you have learned after the training as well. I am embarrassed to confess that I always received great resource packages after my training but had trouble managing the time to go through them. Thankfully it was no longer a problem once I started bookmarking all the links to resources in my browser tabs. Now I check these assets from time to time to help me with my work. 

At Learn with NoveList, our instructors have designed every training course with practical, library-specific examples needed to help you succeed at the library. If you are enrolled in a live course, you get unlimited access to the post-training session activities that include a summary of all the materials taught in the course. You also receive emails with handy tools to help you with your library work. Remember to take advantage of all these materials. 

Step 4: Reflect on your learning experience. 

The end of training is a great time to reflect on your learning. Set time aside to reflect on what you have learned from the course and the skills that you have developed. (In fact, reflecting on what has been learned can increase your performance by 23%.) Look ahead and consider what needs to be done to utilize your newly acquired skills. Ask yourself questions like, “What data do we need to promote our library better and faster to our patrons?” or “How can we create engaging and informative emails?” Use your learnings from the training to respond to these questions.  

Lastly, don’t enjoy the benefits of learning and reflecting alone. Share your newly acquired knowledge with your peers and work together to create meaningful and lasting positive changes at your library.  

At Learn with NoveList, our training approach helps you continuously learn through a structured process that drives a learning loop of awareness, growth, and reflection. We have a set of learning objectives, tasks, and activities that ensure every learner is able to reflect on what they are learning and build confidence in their application of new skills and resources at their library. 

Your staff is your library’s most valuable resource, and ongoing professional development keeps their skills sharp and relevant. We can help build the confidence and capacity they need to represent your library more effectively to readers, whether it’s at the desk, in the stacks, or through book displays, newsletters, and social media.

Naima Rashid is an Engagement Consultant at NoveList. She is currently reading What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad.