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How Experienced Trainers Backload Knowledge Transfer

Posted by Michael Cromwell

Apr 18, 2019

There are (at least) two ways of delivering blended training.  That is to say, combining self service resources such as job aids and user guides in combination with live, recorded, or webinar training.  


The first way, and the seen more often, is referred to as front-loading: delivering extensive training followed by fewer resources after the training.  This method presumes that the attendees are absorbing a great amount of the initial material and will only need the job aids later as a reminder.

With a skilled and savvy instructor, the initial training session can be very productive, but in this method the time needed to deliver all of the material is quite lengthy.  Then, the follow-up materials tend to be light; they serve more a reminders of the skills and lessons taught rather than a true reference. This is the method generally preferred by those who are very comfortable with the knowledge they wish to impart but may not possess the skill set or the resources to produce well rounded and extensive reference materials.


The most common alternative to front-loading is appropriately called back-loading.  As the name implies, it results in feeding a heavy amount of support material in the way of documentation and review after an initial training that covers the basics.

Timing becomes important. If you wait too long to train, the customer isn't ready when they are deployed. This can be alleviated with job aids or a light initial training, but given everything an associate may need to learn for a new phone system this could be troublesome.

Day Zero Knowledge

It appears that the best combination provides a light upfront training followed by more intensive knowledge transfer later on. Day zero training, the training necessary on the day of deployment, can be handled with a simple webinar and job aids. Lay out the important tasks that agents will need to know on that first day. Placing calls, receiving calls, transferring calls, putting calls on hold, voicemail; this tends to be the universal list for telephony deployments. Have one or more sessions that teach and show how these functions occur. Provide a printed quick start guide with tips on how to make these actions happen. Agents with more complex roles like those in a call center may need additional training such as logging in and manipulating unavailable status.

Schedule Additional Training

Additional training for power agents or local admins can be set up later. Provide a time to train these specialists in their new capabilities. The additional training should come a week or two after day zero if possible. This gives adequate time to learn the basics before gaining more information.



Front loading all of your knowledge transfer is a convenient way to impart information, but doesn't align well with how human brains operate. Putting forth just the amount of information necessary at each stage works best.

Topics: Technology, Adoption, Telephony, Training

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