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Top 10: ways of transferring learning

1: have a follow up project which requires the participants to apply their learning in a work-related area

2: set up an action learning set where the participants agree to meet regularly to share how they are using the learning, and how to overcome any obstacles they have met

3: set up a wiki – a web site dedicated to that learning group – or others who have attended the same programme.  The wiki has protected access, and allows the participants to work as a supportive community, exchanging ideas, information and comments

4: incentivise the transfer: offer work-based targets for the learners, and tie achievement of these targets to rewards, valued (and even nominated) by the learners.  Incentives could also include simple recognition and praise – catch the learner using the learning

5: build the transfer of learning into business processes – for example, perfomance and development review systems, appraisals, competency frameworks, recruitment and selection

6: ensure the learner’s manager has a key role to play, especially before and after the learning.  Require the manager and learner to sit down and agree learning objectives, and how they will be used in the workplace, before the learner attends any programme, and have a debrief immediately after the learning, to create an action plan specifically to transfer and support the learning achieved

7: run spot tests, through which the learner is observed or checked at work, and an assessment made of the individual’s competence, particularly in relation to areas of recent learning (this could be a form of mystery shopping)

8: use Effective’s SETI Evaluation Tool: this allows the organisation to rate the individual’s learning at four levels, including transfer of learning (level 3) and impact of learning (level 4).  For details of this tool, leave your contact details in the comment box below

9: establish support through mentoring or buddying: it often helps to have someone else involved in, and committed to, the learner’s journey.  Mentors and buddies can both provide support and encouragement.  Sometimes it’s easier to commit to doing something if you know that if you don’t do it it will feel like letting someone else down…

10: embed the learning: do this firstly through the learning programme, so that, by the end of the programme, the job is pretty much done; and secondly by offering the learner every opportunity to make use of the learning gained.  Most of us learn and embed new skills through a combination of commitment and practice (eg driving a car).  Follow these two principles to make the transfer of learning really effective.

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