Learning transfer – the what and the why

Learning Transfer Research 2017 – INSIGHTS FOR IMPACT is a new research report launched this month, from Lentum Ltd and Lever Transfer of Learning. As the title states, it focuses on making an impact around learning transfer and it’s the first in a number of years to look at this issue globally.

To discuss this research we were delighted to have Mark Arneill, Founder of Lentum Ltd, as our guest on the Lightbulb Moment webinar series.

You can watch the recording of the free webinar from Wednesday 19th July at 10am UK time.

The introduction of the paper states: “Learning transfer is a decades old problem. Businesses globally have grappled to understand how best to increase the performance of their workforce in order to improve productivity, efficiency and engagement.”

What is learning transfer?

The reference in the report uses the 2015 definition from Jefferson, Pollock & Wick (The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning: How to Turn Training and Development into Business Results): “The ability of a learner to successfully apply the behaviour, knowledge, and skills acquired through learning to the job, with a resulting improvement in job performance.”

The focus here is on job performance, which should be the focus of all learning interventions in the corporate space. If we aren’t impacting what people do in their work why are we bothering?

There is a delineation here between “behaviour, knowledge and skills” which is an important one. Often in L&D people start with “what do people need to know?” rather than “what do they need to do?”.

Starting with the knowledge aspect drives a content delivery approach, rather than a practical approach to change behaviour. You can read more about this on Cathy Moore’s fab website for her Action Mapping approach to organisation challenges.

An overwhelming 66% of respondents suggested learning transfer "could be improved"

From the Learning Transfer research report by Lentum and Lever

 

Why is Learning Transfer important?

It’s a fundamental part of our job in L&D. If we teach something in our classroom, and the attendee can’t replicate that in the workplace, what was the point of them coming to class?

Of course, there’s all sorts of different learning situations and contexts, not just a face to face classroom. So, for any learning intervention at all, why bother with it if it isn’t helping people to do something?

This is why it’s important that we understand the issues and challenges around learning transfer.

In the report the authors Mark Arneill and Emma Weber state: “Learning needs to be more efficient and more integrated into business impact and outcomes. Increasing
the amount of learning transferred from 10%-20% up to 70%-80% or more will give organisations a significant advantage.”

 

You can learn more

If you haven’t already, remember to download your report.

To get to grips with some of the research insights, discuss where the challenges and gaps are, and ideas on solutions, you can watch the recording of the webinar with myself and report co-author Mark Arneill.

As part of the registration people asked questions, such as:

  • How to get it right?
  • How to make learning stick with sale people?
  • How to measure impact and ROI
  • In a fast paced change environment, what helpful hints do you have to make learning stick?
  • What encouraging messages can we share when highlighting the relevance and application of learning?
  • What can make it more likely to stick?

We answered these in the webinar.

Add your thoughts below!

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