Transfer of Learning

Authored by: Holly M. Hutchins , Sarah Leberman

The Routledge Companion to Human Resource Development

Print publication date:  October  2014
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415820424
eBook ISBN: 9780203386446
Adobe ISBN: 9781136727061


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With rising pressure on global organizations to account for learning and development expenditures, supporting and assessing transfer of learning has never been more important. Transfer of learning has long received important consideration in the study and practice of human resource development (HRD), resulting in the development of several conceptual models, outcome measures, and integrative reviews (Grossman and Salas 2011). Despite these advances, transfer of learning continues to challenge scholars and practitioners given the complexity of factors found to influence positive transfer and the limited application of research findings to practice (Hutchins et al. 2010). In this chapter, we review how transfer of learning has been conceptualized and studied, common assessment measures, and transfer interventions that have received empirical support. Although the study of transfer of learning has been primarily grounded in US-based models and practices until the last few years, we highlight the need for work in multinational organizations and with non-US samples. We also highlight “transfer in practice” exemplars from two organizations (US, New Zealand) recognized for their strategic support of employees’ learning transfer. In our final section, we synthesize major findings and trends, and offer implications for continuing research and practices in transfer of learning.

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