Overview of Transfer of Training: From Learning to Performance


  • Mary L. Broad

    Corresponding author
    1. Performance Excellence
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      Ed.D., principal with Performance Excellence in Chevy Chase, Maryland, has consulted internationally with public and private sector organizations on transfer issues. She is an associate professor on the adjunct faculty for George Washington University's graduate Human Resource Development program.

3709 Williams Lane, Chevy Chase, MD, 20815. E-mail:mary.broad@astd.noli.com


This article explores the background, current state, and emerging trends in transfer of training. Transfer of training can be denned as, ensuring full application of new skills and knowledge to the workplace. Typically, past training efforts have focused on ensuring learning by trainees, and not on supporting the transfer of that learning to performance on the job. Today's organizations recognize effective workforce performance as a strategic asset in the global competitive economy but face problems in attaining high performance. Experience of successful organizations shows that key stakeholders (managers, trainers, trainees, and others) must be closely involved in all phases of the design, development, and implementation of training and other performance improvement efforts, to achieve and maintain effective workforce performance. However, both managers and human performance professionals frequently overlook the need to gain stakeholder involvement to support full transfer of new skills to the job. A successful program in a government agency, and recommendations for transfer strategies for technology-based learning, illustrate the collaboration of stakeholders which is necessary to achieve high levels of transfer of skills to the workplace.