Transfer of training

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Transfer of training refers to the effect that knowledge or abilities acquired in one area have on problem solving or knowledge acquisition in other areas. Transfer of training is based on the theory of transfer of learning.

Holding (1991) says that "transfer of training occurs whenever the effects of prior learning influence the performance of a later activity" (in Training for Performance Morrison, J. (Ed p. 93 )). The degree to which trainees successfully apply in their jobs the skills gained in training situations, is considered "positive transfer of training" (Baldwin & Ford, 1980).

Transfer of training holds somewhat different means in different disciplines of psychology. Holding's definition reflects a cognitive psychology perspective. A cognitive psychologist might be interested in how the semantic similarity of word pairs in one list affects time to learn on a second list (the transfer task). From this perspective, the original learning task and the "later activity" look very much alike.

Baldwin and Ford's definition reflects an Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology perspective. An I/O psychologist might be interested in how trainees' motivation to transfer is related to later job performance. The training domain (e.g., a web-based training program) might be very different from the later "activity" domain (e.g. job performance).

Types[edit]

There are three types of transfer of training:

  • Positive Transfer
This is when prior learning or training facilitates acquiring a new skill or reaching the solution to a new problem. In this situation the individual performs better than he would have without the prior training.
  • Negative Transfer
This is when prior learning or training hinders acquiring a new skill or reaching the solution to a new problem. In this situation the individual performs worse than that he would have had he not been exposed to the prior training.
  • Zero Transfer
In this situation, past experience or training neither enhances nor hinders acquiring a new skill or reaching the solution of a new problem.

References[edit]

Baldwin, T.T., & Ford, K.J. (1988). Transfer of training: A review and directions for future research. Personnel Psychology, 41, 63-105.

Broad, M. L., & Newstrom J. W. (1992). Transfer of training: Action-packed strategies to ensure high payoff from training investments. New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.

Ford, J. K. & Weissbein, D. A. (1997). Transfer of training: An update review and analysis. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 10, 22-41.

Gist, M. E., Bavetta, A. G., & Stevens, C. K. (1990). Transfer training method: Its influence on skill generalization, skill repetition, and performance level. Personnel Psychology, 43, 501-523.

Gist, M. E., Stevens, C. K., Bavetta, A. G. (1991). Effects of Self-efficacy and post-training intervention on the acquisition and maintenance of complex interpersonal skills. Personnel Psychology, 44, 837-861.

Holton, E. F., Bates, R. A, Ruona, W.E.A. (2001). Development of a Generalized Learning Transfer System Inventory. Human Resource Development Quarterly.

Holton, E. F. III, Bates, R., Seyler, D., & Carvalho, M. (1997) Toward construct validation of a transfer climate instrument. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 8, 95-113.

Kraiger, K. Salas, E., Cannon-Bowers, J. A. (1995). Measuring knowledge organization as a method for assessing learning during training. Human Factors, 37, 804-816.

Naquin, S. S. & Holton, E. F. III (2000). The effects of personality, affectivity, and work commitment on motivation to improve work through learning. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Paas, F. G. W. C. (1992). Training strategies for attaining transfer of problem-solving skill in statistics: A cognitive load approach. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84, 429-434.

Rouillier, J. Z., & Goldstein, I. L. (1993). The relationship between organizational transfer climate and positive transfer of training. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 4, 377-390.

Royer, James M. (1979) Theories of the transfer of learning. Educational Psychologist, 14, 53-69.

Tracey, J. B., Tannenbaum, S. I., & Kavanaugh, M. J. (1995). Applying trained skills on the job: The importance of the work environment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 80, 239-252.

Tziner, A., Haccoun, R. R., & Kadish, A. (1991). Personal and situational characteristics of transfer of training improvement strategies. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 64, 167-177.

Warr, P. & Bunce, D. (1995). Trainee characteristics and the outcomes of open learning. Personnel Psychology, 48, 347-375.

Werner, J. M., O’Leary-Kelly, A. M., Baldwin, T. T., & Wexley, K. N. (1994). Augmenting behavior-modeling training: Testing the effects of pre-and post-training interventions. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 5, 169-183.

Wexley, K. N. & Baldwin, T. T. (1986). Posttraining strategies for facilitating positive transfer: An empirical exploration. Academy of Management Journal, 29, 503-520.