The transfer of learning

The new learning architect

Throughout 2011 we will be publishing extracts from The New Learning Architect. We move on to the fourth part of chapter 7:

A formal learning intervention is only successful if it results in lasting change in the learner’s behaviour on the job. In their 1992 book Transfer of Training, Mary Broad and John Newstrom estimated that “…merely 10% of the training dollars spent result in actual and lasting behavioural change.”

When assessing what made the biggest impact on transfer of learning, the authors looked at three different parties – the learner’s manager, the trainer/facilitator and the learner themselves – at three stages in the process – before the intervention, during and after. They found that the greatest impact was made by the learner’s manager in setting expectations before the intervention; next most important was the trainer’s role before the intervention in getting to know the needs of the learners they would be training; third most important was the manager’s role after the intervention.

Before During After
Learner’s Manager 1 8 3
The trainer/facilitator 2 4 9
The learner themselves 7 5 6


Transfer of Training by Mary Broad and John Newstrom, Basic Books, 1992

Coming next in chapter 7Strategies for formal learning

Return to Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6

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About Clive Shepherd

Clive Shepherd has written 244 post in this blog.

Clive is a consultant specialising in the application of technology to learning and business communications. He was previously Director of Training and Creative Services for a multinational corporation and co-founder of a major multimedia development company. For four years he was chair of the eLearning Network.

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