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Evaluating the transfer of learning


For my MBA dissertation, I am researching:
*how you measure the transfer of learning from worksops to the workplace. I'm particularly interested in team development.
*and to what extent organisations evalute their investment in training
Any views, suggestions and examples would be greatly appreciated.
Lise Lewis
Lise Lewis

5 Responses

  1. Invaluable Resource

    I would recommend the following book/report for some good information.

    “Measuring the impact of training & development on the bottom line”

    ISBN 1 85953 087 7

    Paul Kearns & Tony Miller 1996

    Steve Mosley

  2. TOTEM
    By far and away the best system I have come across solely for measuring the transfer of training to the workplace (Not value receive which is Paul Kearn’s speciality) is the TOTEM system (Transfer of Training Evaluation Model). This is located at:

    Alternatives can be found at:
    An excellent selection of articles on evaluating training.
    Essentially a research paper on trends and current status of evaluation in training.
    An article explaining how Rep Grids might be used in evaluation of training.
    Another paper that look at evaluation strategies.

  3. Evaluating Training
    A “standard” work for evaluation is (or was!) “Evaluating Trining Programs” by Donald L. Kirkpatrich, ISBN1-881052-49-4.


  4. Thankyou!
    Thanks everyone for taking the trouble to respond to my request for help on evaluating the transfer of learning – your suggestions have has been very helpful

  5. Yes, but who actually does it?

    If I understood your question correctly, you wanted to know not only HOW, but also WHO is evaluating their training.

    To address the second part of your question – not that many organisations. And here’s one possible reason why:

    According to estimates by Professor Bruce Joyce at Columbia University and by the Xerox corporation, without adequate pre- and post-training support, the transfer of knowledge is at best only 13% of 13% by the time 12 weeks have elapsed (after a given course). That is to say, even in a hands-on, experiential course there is only a 13% transfer of knowledge, and after 12 weeks only 13% of that 13% is still remembered – that’s just 1.69%.

    Note: This calculation is ONLY valid where appropriate support is NOT provided.

    Trouble is, of course, the pre- and post- course support represents considerably more expense than just the cost of the training course and loss of productivity (each trainee’s manager will be involved, for example), and since most organisations still regard training as a cost rather than an investment, the last thing the training department wants to tell anybody is that there’s a significant additional expense involved in any and all training.

    So, if anyone did the knowledge transfer evaluation, what’s going to show up – a big waste of time and money.
    So what doesn’t get done? Post training evaluation doesn’t get done other than the totally useless ‘happy sheets’.

    This is, of course, a highly cynical viewpoint and I’m sure that there are a number of organisations who DO run highly effective training evaluation – and benefit accordingly.


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