Title

Transfer of learning from training program to the workplace in a university healthcare organization setting

Date of Completion

January 2009

Keywords

Education, Leadership

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

Fortune 500 corporations and public sector organizations expend $109 billion dollars annually to accelerate employees' learning and performance transfer from training programs to workplaces in America. Many researchers recognize transfer of learning as a problem due to the lack of evaluation instruments to examine the transfer, insufficient personnel to encompass the learning transfer system, and the limitation of organizational staff development personnel to design training interventions to advance the application of newly acquired learning and performance in the workplace. Researchers are exploring and finding ways to enhance the transfer of training resulting in job performance improvement; i.e. researchers are aiming to improve employees' learning to perform new skills and to apply knowledge immediately after training, and retaining the transfer of new skills and knowledge three months to one year after the training.^ The purpose of this study was to advance the theoretical and practical framework of the learning and performance transfer model including transfer evaluation, the interaction of individual characteristics with motivation and work environment factors, and transfer design. The dependent variable in this study was the gain in content knowledge as determined by comparing pretest (n = 53), posttest (n = 48), and three-month follow-up post-posttest (n = 26) scores on the Managing a Harassment-Free and Respectful Workplace training. Independent variables included individual characteristics (i.e. motivation and work environment factors, Levels-of-Use) and individual perceptions of qualitative motivation and goal orientation about training (n = 5).^ Four quantitative research questions focused on examining relationships between the independent and dependent variables. The relationships were tested using a t-test and a Pearson correlation matrix analysis. Additional analyses were conducted to better understand the results. One qualitative research question was designed to use as part of a mixed method analyses and included data coding, categorizing themes to examine motivation, goal orientation, and learning transfer. Mixed quantitative and qualitative analyses in all research questions 1-5 was also brought into the form of triangulation. ^ Results indicated that the feedback and performance coaching variable in the work environment factor was the only one significant correlation including a moderate effect size with gains in the posttest content knowledge scores. No variables in the motivation factor were found to have a significant relationship with gains in the posttest scores. The peer support variable in the work environment factor was found to have a slight correlation including a moderate effect size with the three month follow-up post-posttest content knowledge scores. The Levels-of-Use scale had a significant relationship and a small effect size with the three-month follow-up post-posttest scores. No variables in the motivation factor had a significant relationship with both post-posttest scores and the Levels-of-Use scale. The top two strong indicators from the categorical themes were successful transfer of learning and feedback from peers and supervisors. From a mixed quantitative and qualitative research analysis there emerged a strong connection between feedback and performance coaching and feedback from peers and supervisors. The theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed and recommendations are made for future research on the evaluation of learning and performance transfer, feedback and performance coaching, and training design and interventions to improve transfer.^