Transfer Of Learning: Not Just An Afterthought

1651 words - 7 pages

Transfer of Learning: Not Just An Afterthought Why should we focus on transfer of learning/training? Training is an investment. However, studies have estimated that only 10% of training dollars invested result in actual change on the job (Georgenson, 1982). The loss to organizations is significant. In Canada, the annual amount invested in training is estimated to be $4 billion. In the United States, the annual figure is estimated to be more than $100 billion (Gist, 1990). If employees are seen as resources, then money spent on training must be viewed as investments in human capital development. "Transfer" refers to the implementation in the work environment of the skills acquired during the training program, and the maintenance of these acquired skills over time (Baldwin and Ford, 1998).Transfer of learning needs to be a concern to all who plan, teach, evaluate, attend, and support training programs for employees. This rings especially true for our organization as we have training needs in four key areas: · Customer Service · Sales · Computer Skills · Technical Skills Not only do we have to look at the cost/benefit of training design and delivery we need to understand also the cost/benefit of the transfer of learning. Obviously, in our business it would be expensive not only in terms of monies invested but moreover in hidden costs such as poor customer service, low sales, costly technical errors etc. In other words, when we are looking at the cost to benefit ratio when investing into our training needs we need to also analyze the hidden expenses incurred if transfer of learning did not meet our expectations. Therefore, we cannot afford to assume that transfer of learning will take place after the training. We must pro-actively work with trainers, employees, supervisors and management to support transfer of learning into our organization.There is a growing recognition of the "transfer problem" in training as concerns are raised that much of what is learned fails to be used in the workplace. To solve the transfer problem, there must first be consensus as to the meaning of the transfer of learning.Defining Transfer of Learning J. Kevin Ford, associate professor, Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, believes to define transfer of learning one must first ask the following four questions and there you will find the meaning in your answers. Transfer of learning can take on multiple meanings depending on the way trainers, planners, and implementers answer the following four questions.1. What do you expect to change during an organized educational experience? 2. What behaviors and in what settings do you expect the learner to apply the newly acquired knowledge, skills or attitudes? 3. What are the Barriers or Inhibitors to the effective Transfer of Learning? 4. How long do you expect the acquired knowledge, skills or attitudes to be maintained over time? Transfer of learning can take on a multitude of meanings...

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