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Training and Development Policy Wiki

Page History: Training Transfer


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Page Revision: 9/7/2012 9:03:38 AM


Training Transfer

Training transfer (also known as the Transfer of Training) is the learner's ability to apply that they have learned back on the job.  The goal of training is to transfer learning into performance, which in turn leads to improvements in agency results. 

Effective transfer of training practices are key to improving the imapct of training efforts.  Traininig transfer is not an event; it is a dynamic and complex process.  Mutiple factors need to be taken into account when trying to maximize training transfer.

Many training professioanls commonly assume that training is transferrred from training to the job.  This means that it is assumed that whatever is learned during training will be retained or remembered over time and used in the right situations.  However this is usually not the case.  Trainees generally give training programs positive reviews and go back to the work with sincere commitments to change their behavior.  However, they usually return to their old habits in short order.

The purpose of transfer planning is to develop a system that gets all stakeholders working together instead of training being developed and delivered in a vacuum.  Many professionals employ various strategies to various degrees.  What is typically lakcking, however, is an organized, systematic approach to their application.

Why is Training Transfer Relevant

In 2010 the American Society for Training and Development estimated that U.S. organizations spent about $171.5 billion on employee learning and development and $1,228 per trainee.

With the increased austerity of government resources, an evolving workforce, and the increased focus on measureing and justifying investments, training investments are coming under increasing scrutiny.  The use of effective transfer of training principles can help maximize the effectiveness of trainingi initiatives.

Many forces make effective training initiatives critical.  Some forces include:

  • Increased interdependence among agencies
  • Employee development
  • Talent retention
  • Increased reliance on human captial
  • Increased focus on linking training to agency strategies
  • Emphasis on quality of publc service
  • New technology
  • Changing demographics/diversity skill deficits in the workforce.

It is vital to design and implement effective training programs to help address these forces and further agency objectives.

Estimates range that only about 10-20% of training is transferred into the workplace.  When training does not transfer it is likely that trainees and supervisors will question the benefit of their investment in the training.  Time and money are both wasted.  Conversely, fully utilized learnign is perceived as valuable and demonstrable.  Using effective transfer of training strategies can help to demonstrate the value of training initiatives.

Factors That Affect the Training Transfer

Training transfer is affected by many different stakeholders.  These stakeholders can be grouped into four categories:
  • Supervisors
  • Trainers
  • Trainees
  • Co-workers

All four stakeholders must have a strong interest in training initiatives, agree to work together to support the full application of the training on the job, and be committed to making the training investment pay off. 

Training transfer can also be viewed from the standpoint of when transfer strategies occur.  Transfer strategies can be viewed from teh standpoint of three different timeframes:

  • Before Training
  • During Training
  • After Training

Transfer strategies are not simply picked at random.  They picked while considering the stakeholders, timeframes, and many other variables.  For example, whether the training will be created in-house or will be provided by a vendor will have a significant impact on the transfer strategies that are available to use.fff

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