The Instructors Role in Increasing the Transfer Of Training

The training session has been completed and the trainees have returned to their work to begin applying what they’ve learned. So, the instructor’s job is over, right? Not so fast. An effective training program is always a work in progress and the process is not complete without ensuring the “transfer of training” (Coates, 2007; Cretella, 2013).  
Transfer of training refers to the skills and knowledge learned in the training environment that is applied back to actual work practices. In other words, learners are able to transfer newly acquired information during training into job performance. This variable is just one of many that affect the success of training, but it is the most formidable and often overlooked in organizations.


Why is transfer of training considered so important for managers and training professionals? In order to “achieve success with a particular training solution, the trainees or learners must demonstrate improved performance on the job” (Adams, 2009). At CPG, we have designed, developed, and provided assessments of organizational and training solutions that have focused on measuring and improving cognitive performance. One of the key points we have learned is that effective training is about creating the conditions for successful training transfer, and instructors are the first people in the trainees’ support system that can help create those conditions.

What can instructors do to improve transfer of training?

Adams (2009) provides a starting point for instructors for improving transfer of training. Through her research, she recommends the following:

  1. Incorporate realistic examples of content application that is relevant to the job.
  2. Use rich analogies to increase retention of information and add interest.
  3. Present new skills in a conceptual context prior to asking learners to practice new skills.
  4. Include sufficient practice of new skills during the training event.
  5. Use clear and effective visual aids.
  6. Consider the use of pre-training assignments.
  7. Keep concepts and skills aligned with job tasks.
  8. Utilize post-training follow ups.
  9. Create/maintain an environment that is supportive of continued learning.
  10. Continue training outside of the classroom and include front-line management.

Have you applied any of these methods as an instructor and what were the results?


Adams, M. (2009). Transfer of training: The key to maximizing training retun-on-investment. Retrieved November 4, 2013, from

Coates, D. E. (2007, October). Enhance the transfer of training: Tips, tools, and intelligence for trainers.  Alexandria, VA: American Society for Training & Development.

Cretella, P. (2013). Training today: Ensure your training is effective  Retrieved November 8, 2013, from

Image Credit: Image 1 and Image 2.


About the Author:


Cognitive Performance Group, LLC is a woman-owned small business with offices in Orlando, Florida, and Cleveland, Ohio. It was founded by Dr. Karol G. Ross, Jennifer K. Phillips, and William A. Ross. The three CPG Principals developed the concept for a company to support cognitive performance improvement in industry and government. (more...)

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