A Formula for Ensuring Training Transfers Back to the Job

A Formula for Ensuring Training Transfers Back to the Job

By: Anthony Fasano, PEEngineering Management Institute

Human Resources and Learning & Development professionals are often tasked with the job of finding training or building training programs for their firms. This is extremely difficult to do in a world where everyone learns differently, and everyone has different schedules and deadlines. It seems that everyone wants to improve their management or soft skills, but no one wants to spend the time needed to do so.

This is a challenge that we at the Engineering Management Institute have been battling for ten years in the AEC industry, and overcoming it is hard work! We learned early on that for training to be successful and real results achieved, work must be done by the participants outside of the actual training time for real results to happen. However, only recently did a colleague share a white paper with me that contains an equation that captures this concept perfectly, and I’d like to share it with you.

The paper is entitled A Brief Introduction to Ensuring Learning Transfer by Pollock and Jefferson.

I am especially interested in this topic of learning transfer, because I remember when I was a young engineer, attending the all-day Project Management bootcamp, which I did once per year. I was barraged with new terms and concepts and then given a binder full of them to bring back to my office. Information overload! I took the binder back to my office, put it on my shelf, and never looked at the binder again. Never ever, for a multitude of reasons, the main one being, I was just too busy, but I also forgot about it for long stretches of time.

What I realize now is that I was missing a key component in this critical equation presented in the white paper:

EQUATION >> Learning x Transfer = Results

No Transfers, No Results, Period.

If you look at this equation, everyone participating in training will possess the learning component, which is the actual training, whether it be an in-person seminar, a live webinar, or even an on-demand recorded course. However, a large percentage of people (more than 50% according to the white paper referenced) will not get results from the training, because they are missing the transfer component. If the transfer is zero, then the result of the equation, which is the result of the training, is zero or nothing.

The transfer component of the equation could be several different things including reminders of the concepts presented in the training, reflection, accountability, coaching, collaborative components of the training, etc.

At EMI we incorporate transfer into every one of our programs, usually through a combination of different items depending on the client or what worked in our previously successful programs.

How to Utilize This Equation

If you’re seeking training for your teams or building a new program, think in terms of the two components of the equation.

First, what will the learning sessions look like? Will they be in-person sessions, live webinars, or on-demand videos?

Secondly, what transfer activities will you incorporate after the learning component? These might include session assignments, group or individual coaching, or even a quiz of some type.

The bottom line here is that as you plan and prepare for the training programs you intend to purchase or design for your teams in the coming months, consider the formula outlined above.

Unless you are including both learning and transfer, you won’t get the results you are paying for. The equation guarantees you won’t.

to your success,

Anthony Fasano, PE

Engineering Management Institute
The mission of the Engineering Management Institute is to provide professionals with a path to improve people and project management skills and become better leaders through learning transfer. This learning transfer occurs through our content and training programs. You can learn more about how EMI can help your AEC professionals improve their people and project management skills at www.EngineeringManagementInstitute.org