supervisor support
supervisor support

Supervisor Support

(SOO-purr-vEYE-zor SUH-port)

liquid elements


What is Supervisor Support?

Supervisor support is a strategy of engaging a training participant’s supervisor to help support the learner before and after a learning experience in an effort to ensure skill transfer to the job.

Other Common Names

Other common names for lesson plan include:

  • People Management


Key Properties

While different supervisors will have different approaches to people management, some primary properties of this element that influence training experiences include:

  • The supervisor provides specific feedback to the learner on current performance or needed skills.
  • The supervisor sets performance goals with the learner.
  • The supervisor identifies ways for the learner to meet performance gaps.
  • The supervisor holds the learner accountable for performance.
supervisor support

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Elements that Bond with Supervisort Support


Perhaps the most common way for training designers to engage their learners’ supervisors is through handouts, self-assessment forms, or action plans that are shared with supervisors once a training program has been completed. I’ve seen some training programs go so far as to mail carbonless or photocopied action plans to a learner’s supervisor.

follow upFollow Up

Sending a survey to your learners’ supervisors at some point 30 to 90 days following the conclusion of your training program could help prompt a follow-up conversation between supervisors and those who completed the program. Follow-up surveys also help you collect Level 3 data (transfer to the job) that is not self-reported by your learners, but rather an outside observer (their supervisor).

text toolsText Tools

If you’ve secured permission to send text message reminders to the supervisors of your learners, you can automate goal setting and discussion prompts that will help managers engage their direct reports in targeted conversations. Without such prompts, some supervisors may want to support and follow up with your learners, but may not know enough about the training program to have a productive conversation.


Pre- and post-test information, narrative observations, or activity results are all data that could be shared with supervisors to let them know how a learner progressed through a training program. If you’re designing e-learning content, this data can be generated fairly easily through your LMS. For instructor-led courses, collecting data can be more challenging, but if it’s part of the initial course design (and not something you decide to do at the last minute), then you can offer some valuable insights to managers.

goal settingGoal Setting

Some training programs have extensive pre-work, including the required completion of 360-degree feedback instruments and information on how to sit down with a supervisor to set goals based on the results of that feedback and the learning program’s objectives.


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