Online Training and e-Coaching Tips

Mastering Transfer of Training (Warning: Scary Topic)

June 8, 2015 9:00 by
Poppy in field

Photo credit: Tony Smith, published under CC

Transfer of training is a very scary topic for many trainers because it’s all about the effectiveness of your training. You may be a fantastic trainer and your smile sheet results may be great. But it all amounts to nothing if your training is not put into practice. An effective training makes your trainees more effective in the workplace.

So, as a trainer, how do you master transfer of training?

Before You Even Start The Training

Maximizing transfer of training starts before the actual training. Set the stage by getting management buy-in. Make sure that all trainees know they’re expected to actually apply the skills they are about to acquire in the workplace. Nothing conveys that with as much clarity as a line manager saying that they’ll keep score (the stick) and that improving your skills is a way to further your career (the carrot).

Furthermore, create a knowledge base in advance. For instance, you could create 2 minute, indexed how-to videos. Make sure that every trainee knows exactly where to find the knowledge base. For that purpose, you could have them do a required assignment involving one or more videos before the training even starts. If you store the knowledge base in an online training platform (also known as a learning management system), you can easily track your trainees’ completion records for the assignment. Which is also good for management buy-in.

While Training

Sea of poppies

Photo credit: Neil, published under CC

Introduce your trainees to the training tools they will use after the training. More on this later.

During the actual training sessions, practice as much of the skills, tasks, or whatever it is that is the subject of the training, as possible. To that end, put the theory online so that trainees can master the underlying concepts and ideas outside of the classroom.

The Scary Part: after The Training

The smile sheets have been handed in, but you’re not ready yet! In fact, now the transfer of training must be encouraged and facilitated. This is the scary part, but to reduce anxiety, here are a few tips.

Organize An Online Forum

Have experts (either senior staff or professionals from outside the organization) participate in an online forum. Encourage your trainees to keep asking questions in the forum, even after the training. A forum post can also be a brief description of the problem the trainee is facing. Experts can be invited to provide their opinion on the matter at hand.

Learning Logs

Have each trainee keep a learning log as an instrument to identify where their training applies. In the log, trainees write down:

  • what happened (observation)
  • what could be improved (reflection)
  • how it applies to what they’ve learned (connection)
  • personal goals on how to act in a similar situation in the future
Poppies in a field

Photo credit: Meena Kadri, published under CC

Post-class Reminders And Assignments

Send out reminders of best practices, rules of thumb, or important concepts. A reminder can be a simple texting message (sms), a tweet (a message sent through Twitter) or an email message.

And again, a forum, learning log and post-class reminders and assignments can all be hosted and facilitated within an online training platform.


The important take-away here is that transfer of training can be hugely improved by keeping in touch with your trainees after the actual training sessions. That doesn’t sound so scary, does it?

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