- by Denise Dudley, Ph.D., SkillPath Co-founder
- March 2, 2012
It always feels good to know you’re ahead of the curve. But when it comes to learning transfer—a popular buzzword gaining ground in 2012—I can proudly say this is something SkillPath has been doing and excelling at for over 20 years.
What exactly is learning transfer? The term refers to the application of knowledge, skills and attitudes learned in training. Let’s say you attend a seminar on conflict management. Then, the next day at work, you use some of the techniques you learned to effectively mediate a disagreement between two employees. Or you respond to a colleague’s put-down without losing your temper. That’s learning transfer.
The problem is, learning transfer doesn’t always happen. In fact, it’s been estimated that less than half of the skills and information taught in training will be transferred to the job after training.
As a training professional, I very much believe in the importance of learning transfer. After all, the purpose of training is to change behavior and improve performance. If that doesn’t happen, all the time, effort and money invested in training is for naught.
So the million-dollar question is: How do you know before you enroll in training that what you learn will stick? Look for these signs—they’re all proven components of successful learning transfer:
- A safe and controlled learning environment
- Individual assessment of existing skills
- Clearly stated learning objectives
- Interactive format interwoven with dynamic lecture
- A workbook that keeps you focused during the training and serves as a reference back on the job
- Opportunities to practice and get comfortable with new skills
- Engaging exercises and activities that boost retention
- Instructors who are experienced trainers and subject matter experts
- Focus on practical skills—not just theory
- Individual reflection and exercises that deepen self-awareness
- Effective visuals and multimedia that engage learners
- Realistic examples of how skills apply to the workplace