Section 10.3: Facilitation & Strategies to Enhance the Transfer of Learning

Alisha Naresh; Ekta Nandha; Ivan Galay; and Riselle Peralta

How Can Learning Transfer Be Facilitated?

The following are three primary ways to improve the facilitation process of learning transfer:

  1. Modelling practice
  2. Providing feedback
  3. Use of cooperative learning

Apply Kemerer’s framework, which focuses on the three areas of structural expectations, into a guide that improves employee skills and knowledge. Use the ADKAR model to effectively guide the learning transfer process.

In the same article, “Back to the workplace,” Belling, Kim & Ladkin (2004) discuss their findings on four variables or facilitators that support the learning process: job aid, rewards, supervisor and peer support and the opportunity to use learning. Job aid refers to simplified instruction to perform a task. Employees can use this resource as a cheat sheet to accomplish a task, and over time they can memorize the content without having to refer to the job aid. Additionally, management can compensate employees who have successfully demonstrated skills and knowledge from training programs by rewarding their development. The rewards can include increases in wages or salary, one-time bonuses, and job advancements, all of which serve as an incentive for employees to commit to the transfer of the learning process.

Supervisor and peer support are essential components of a learning organization. Employees and managers are not punished for their mistakes and are free to ask questions to develop their KSAOs. In addition, opportunities should be give to use newly acquired skills and knowledge through practical exercises or work, so management can test employee abilities and validate their training and development.


The transfer of training can be facilitated using the ADKAR model. The model guides the change management of a project. In the case of the transfer of training, knowledge and skills are gained through an educational program. In other words, an employee changes by taking part in undergoing a training program. Therefore, an organization can use the same principles in the ADKAR model to guide the transfer of training. The model is an acronym made up of five words: Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement (Creasey, n.d.).

  1. Awareness: Recognize the need to change. Management should take action to build awareness of the training, which can include discussing why the current process is failing, sharing the benefits of the training program, and bringing in sponsors that can advocate for the training (Creasey, n.d.).
  2. Desire: This is one of the most challenging stages in the model. Management must convince employees to undergo the training; this phase is difficult because it is ultimately reliant on the employee to have the desire to commit to training, despite the efforts of managers.
  3. Knowledge: This phase will start training for the organization. Training can only be practical when the organization passes the first two stages first.
  4. Ability: The time when employees employ their newly gained skills and knowledge in practice sessions.
  5. Reinforcement: The organization must reinforce the new training. Actions that can support learning transfer include engaging leaders who can hold employees accountable for applying new skills in their job (Creasey, n.d.). Also, monitoring the progress to track success and ultimately celebrating the success of finishing training can improve morale and reward employee efforts.
Strategies to Enhance the Transfer of Learning

Training Strategies Prior to Creating the Program:

  • Involve trainers and trainees in the planning process
  • Identify outcomes and work backwards, create opportunities to practice

Strategies During Program Creation

  • Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction
  • Visual, auditory, tactile, & kinesthetic learners

Strategies for After Program Creation

  • Where and how trainees can receive support if needed
  • Prepare feedback surveys
  • Develop ways to recognize individuals during training
  • Prepare trial runs of the training to receive feedback prior to rolling it out


For the Supervisor

Pre-, During, and Post training Strategies for the Supervisor:

  • Make sure you are an expert in something before you provide training on it!
  • Gain attention & identify the transfer of learning objectives to trainees

During Training Strategies for the Supervisor: (Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction)

  • Gain the attention of the trainees
  • State the objectives of the learning and recall prior learning
  • Present content
  • Be available for questions and guidance
  • Practice, feedback, assessment
  • Enhance retention and learning transfer

Post training Strategies for the Supervisor: (Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction)

  • Recap
  • Be available for questions and guidance
  • Practice, feedback, assessment
  • Enhance retention and learning transfer


For the Trainee

Pre-training Transfer Strategies for Trainees

  • Provide input into program planning
  • Actively explore the training situation
  • Participate in advanced activities

During- Training Transfer Strategies for Trainees

  • Link with a “buddy”
  • Maintain an ideas and application notebook
  • Plan for applications
  • Anticipate relapse

Post-training Transfer Strategies for Trainees

  • -Review training content
  • -Develop a mentoring relationship
  • -Maintain contact with training buddies

If you are a manager who develops training content, a manager or supervisor who has to teach content, or even a trainee or a student looking to learn new skills or stay current on existing skills, how you transfer the learning to others and yourself is key.  You must remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and ultimately create strategies to enhance the transfer of learning to achieve educational goals set by yourself, your managers, and your organization (Bloom’s Taxonomy, 2002).

Strategies for Program Development

This section will discuss pre-transfer, during transfer, and post-transfer strategies for the instructor, supervisor, and trainee. For this section, those who develop the training content will be referred to as instructors. Those who aid in teaching the material to trainees are referred to as supervisors or managers. Those to whom the learning is being transferred will be referred to as supervisors’ trainees.

Prior to creating training programs, instructors must consider involving trainers and trainees in the planning process. Below are some best practices to identify strategies for the instructor:

Involve Trainees and Supervisors in Program Development 

Supervisors and trainees should be involved in program development as they are the people for whom the training is intended. Also, involving them in TNA and program design provides insight into and helps garner feedback on the program (Transfer of Learning: Planning Effective Workplace Education Programs, 2021).

Identify Learning Objectives Using Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom’s taxonomy is a widely used model when creating learning objectives to classify and define levels of learning into a hierarchy of understanding. At the bottom of the pyramid, there is “remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create” at the top of the pyramid (Bloom’s Taxonomy, 2002).


During Training Program Development

During the program creation, it is important to develop application-oriented objectives, answer how the training investment is relevant for the trainee, provide personal feedback, and test knowledge.

Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction

Incorporating Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction helps accommodate all types of learners, particularly when used in conjunction with Bloom’s Taxonomy. The beginning of the training program should incorporate an activity in which the student’s attention is gained through a series of icebreaker activities. Next, instructors must inform students of objectives and check their understanding of the topic. This should be followed by the presentation of the learning materials along with learning guidance. Students should practice the application of learning alongside the instructor, who can provide feedback (Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction, 2020).

Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, and Tactile Learning

There are four different types of learners: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic learners. Content that is attractive to each type of learner should be included. Learners usually can not categorized into one only type of learner, as most people are a combination of different types of learners. It is essential to take this into account during the training design process (Malvik, 2020).


After Training Program Development

After creating the training program, trainers must:

  1. Inform trainees of where and how they can receive support if needed
  2. Prepare feedback surveys regarding the training
  3. Develop ways to recognize individuals’ needs after training
  4. Prepare trial runs of the training to receive feedback before rolling it out

Strategies for Supervisors and Managers

A study conducted by an Australian energy organization tested the importance of supervisors’  roles in how well-equipped new hires were prior to receiving training, during training, and post-training. The results showed that certain supervisor behaviours contributed to the transfer of learning, including modelling, providing frequent feedback, creating a supportive network within the office, and giving encouragement (Bretz, 2018).

We always think about our role as the trainee, but do we ever consider the supervisor’s role in the transfer of learning? Below are strategies that will help a supervisor facilitate the transfer of learning before it even starts, during training, and post-training.


Supervisor’s Pre-Training Strategies

  • Ensure You’re an Expert in the Training Before You Deliver it

Supervisors and managers need to ensure they are fully competent in the material before they train others. Think of it this way – you don’t want to learn a sport from someone who is not an expert in it.  In organizations with a learning and development department, supervisors can receive support and coaching to help them facilitate training effectively (Bretz, 2018).

  • Gain Attention & Identify the Transfer of Learning Objectives to Trainees

In Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction, the 1st and 2nd events of instruction gain attention and inform trainees of learning objectives before facilitating the learning session. Gaining attention can be achieved through icebreaker activities such as asking thought-provoking questions, introducing one another, a quick game, and ultimately engaging your audience through interactive conversation prior to the learning starts. In the 2nd event of instruction, you want to list your transfer of learning objectives, so the trainees can understand the purpose of the training and what they can take away from the training (Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction, 2020). For effective learning objectives, consider “Bloom’s Taxonomy,” as mentioned earlier in the text.


Strategies During Training for the Supervisor

Effective strategies while executing the transfer of learning can include a variety of ways. The most important thing not to do – is read off the slides and not engage your audience. Here, we will discuss practical strategies for the transfer of learning during training:

  • Stimulate Recall of Prior Learning

Ask trainees to recall any of their prior experiences with the subject being taught. This way, it’ll help the trainees bring to life the content you are about to teach, and they’ll carry this example in their heads throughout the entire facilitation (Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction, 2020).

  • Present the Content

It’s important to know that there are 4 different types of learners: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic learners (Malvik, 2020). Often, learners aren’t just categorized into a single type; many learners are a combination of a few. You’ll be successful in presenting content if you can include content that attracts each kind of learner.

  • Provide Learning Guidance and Recognize Participant Training

Give trainees tips on retaining and understanding and applying the content (whatever your learning objectives are) in between presenting the content. This strategy can be done using scenarios, acronyms, visuals, models, and even role-playing (Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction, 2020). Let the trainees know that it’s okay to raise their hand with questions and make them understand that no question is a “dumb” question.

  • Practice, Feedback, Assess

Ensure to pause the facilitation and provide time for practice to help them transfer learning to a quiz to demonstrate their comprehension of the learning objectives, reading/writing, collaborating individually or in groups. Give them a scenario on a real scenario they’d come across in their role at work and let them apply what they have learnt. After, provide feedback which could include confirmatory, evaluative, remedial descriptive, peer or self-evaluation type of feedback (Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction, 2020). Lastly, assess if the learning transfer outcomes have been achieved as a group or individually depending on the size.

  • Enhance Retention & Transfer

Help trainees retain information by giving them opportunities to connect with learning objectives through real-life scenarios to apply what they’ve learned. It’s important not to talk about course content but to transfer the learning so trainees can use this to past, present, and future scenarios. Have trainees remodel what they’ve learnt through another format and connect course concepts to ideas. Continually ask questions to reinforce the content being taught (Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction, 2020).


Post-Training Strategies for The Supervisor

After training, it’s essential to give trainees opportunities to apply what they have learnt, have time to debrief with the trainer, provide role models, give positive reinforcement of any kind, and celebrate any small wins. We will also discuss Kirkpatrick’s 4 level training model in this section (Kurt, 2018).

  • Debrief, Questions, and Feedback

It is crucial to have time for questions and feedback after the training to answer any burning questions and receive feedback from the trainees on the overall effectiveness of the training to incorporate into future sessions. Here, supervisors or managers can utilize evaluation tools that embody Kirkpatrick’s 4 Level Training Evaluation Model, as mentioned earlier in this section (Kurt, 2018).

  • Provide Role Models

The trainees need to know who they can reach out to for guidance after the training or course is complete to help retain and apply their learning.

  • Celebrate Training Wins

Positive reinforcement and recognition for participation and successes during training give the trainees a higher motivation to participate.

  • Practice & Continuous Follow Up

If trainees cannot practice or aren’t followed up with after the training, retention and ROI will diminish. Managers and supervisors should follow up with employees in the short and long term to reinforce knowledge and skills. Management should also ask employees how they will apply the course learnings in their work. Additionally, management should be evaluating trainees’ application of the transfer of learning from class to job. During the training, managers need to provide opportunities for trainees to practice, provide feedback, and assess to reinforce the transfer of learning and ensure the trainee is on the correct path (Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction, 2020).


Transfer Strategies for Trainees

Pre-Training Transfer Strategies for Trainee

This subchapter will contain details on transfer strategies that trainees can take before their involvement in the training. It will include details on what strategies are helpful for trainees to help aid them in their training process. Below are three transfer strategies that trainees can take:

  • Provide input into program planning

Trainees can gain a lot of knowledge if they are directly involved in the planning process. Giving input into the program design or in the needs assessment are ways to get involved. Another way to get involved would be to request training and identify areas that may need development.

  • Actively explore the training situation

A second strategy for trainees is to ask supervisors questions regarding why and how managers made the selection and what can be accepted from the program. Asking questions such as what kind of employees can take learnings back to aid with the job, what opportunities are available to demonstrate the new skills, etc., can help a trainee develop a deeper understanding of the training situation. Trainees should be eager to delve into the different training options, as they will assess what type of training is best for them.

Transfer Strategies for Trainees during Training

This subchapter contains details on the transfer strategies that trainees will take during the training. There are four transfer strategies that trainees will use during training that will guide their learning. Below are the four transfer strategies:

  •    Link with a “Buddy”

During the training, an easy strategy is for trainees to establish support groups with one or more trainees. The development of these relationships will foster a good environment where everyone is supported and encouraged.  This strategy occurs quite quickly during training, whether through seat selection or employees in the same unit.

  •     Maintain an ideas and application notebook

The idea of this notebook is to convert the general principles learned into specific practices. It will help in seeing what ideas are useful.

  •     Plan for applications

Another strategy is for trainees to set goals for themselves as a motivational tool. After every session, trainees should ask themselves, “What will I do with what I have learned?” Application planning is a great way to manage one’s performance, sort of like self-management. Accountability is created for follow-up and learning.

  •     Anticipate relapse

It is quite common to revert to old patterns once trainees get back to work. Supervisors and trainees can expect this to to occur. Anticipating a relapse will help trainees recognize what is happening and how to deal with it.

(Jacob Lund Photography, 2020)

Post-Training Transfer Strategies for Trainees

This subchapter will be about the transfer strategies that trainees should consider after training. Three post-training transfer strategies will explain the plan that will come in handy for trainees when they finish with the training process.

  • Review training content

An essential strategy after training is to review the content learned regularly. It is quite common to have difficulty recalling the things learned during the training. By periodically checking, there are fewer chances of forgetting. Trainees will be able to transfer knowledge and skills from short-term to long-term memory.

  • Develop a mentoring relationship

A second strategy is to have a mentor. Trainees can rely on their mentors to guide them and provide helpful information. Employees can use mentors to give feedback and constructive criticism on applications of new skills. Trainees will be able to assess the progress and where assistance is needed. In addition, the trainees can collaborate with mentors and “plan additional needed training or coaching based on their experience of applying the learning on the job” (Heathfield, 2019). It helps to have a mentor that shares the same cultural background as they can provide valuable assistance.

  • Maintain contact with training buddies

Creating those relationships with other trainees increases the chances of transfer through interpersonal commitment, mutual support and goal setting. Trainees will receive encouragement and support from the connections made during the training, which comes in handy in the future. But this doesn’t mean that trainees complain to one another about the work when allowed to have a meeting, which all buddies must agree not to do.

Image Attributions

“Business woman writing on sticky note on glass wall with coworkers standing by in office” by Jacob Lund Photography is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 from Noun Project


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People Learning and Development Copyright © by Alisha Naresh; Ekta Nandha; Ivan Galay; and Riselle Peralta is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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