Tips for Enhancing the Transfer of Learning – Maximising your Learning and Development Resources

Learning and development budgets in many organisations have taken a hit from the economic constraints over the last few years. This places a greater imperative on remaining learning and development programmes to ensure every opportunity is taken to support the transfer of learning back into the workplace successfully, where success is defined as improved performance.

There are three factors to consider:

  • The participants
  • The learning programme
  • The managers/work environment

Here are some ideas that will help you to capitalise on your learning and development programmes

  • Emotions influence the ability to learn and to transfer that learning back to the work place.
    • It is vital to create a learning environment that generates the right emotions that enable participants to think and then to learn, but also one that is pragmatic and provides the practical tools that participants can apply directly in their roles.


  • The confidence participants have in their ability to change their performance.
    • Improving levels of self-esteem and the self-confidence of participants is a key element of learning. This enhances their ability to recognise their own potential and to empower themselves to take on new challenges presented by a rapidly changing internal and external environment. It is vital to support opportunities to help participants recognise the strengths and skills they already have and how best to build on them.


  • Relevance of the learning to participants’ roles and careers.
    • Strengthen the manager/participant/facilitator relationships on development programmes. Three-way learning occurs in this collaborative process and the engagement increases the relevance of the workshop-based learning and shapes its content.
    • Make sure content is properly tailored and relevant to your business


  • Encourage more regular manager engagement with development.
    • Participants report that their efforts to apply new learning are sometimes frustrated by a manager’s commitment to the status quo. Yet, with line manager support and feedback, participants are more likely to apply what they have learnt.
    • Encourager managers to liaise with training providers when policy or practice changes occur so the content of courses is updated and delivered in line with workplace demands.


  • Early application of new skills.
    • Pro-actively engage participants on projects/pieces of work during or post-training programmes so they get the opportunity to put the new skills in to action quickly to ensure the learning is not lost.
    • Empowering participants and encouraging greater autonomy as performance improves will nurture confidence and increase motivation.


  • Notice when the going is getting tough!
    • It is easier to revert back to old behaviours when under pressure, and providing additional coaching, follow-up to reinforce the learning and appropriate manager support will help participants to ride the storm.