Transfer of Learning

What is Transfer of Learning?

Transfer of learning is the process of applying learning from one situation to another. It is critical that learners are able to carry what they have learned in the classroom to another environment so that it becomes relevant and applicable. If they are not able to do this, there really is no point in learning the new skill or behavior. This is why I have included it in the section of my project titled foundational knowledge of adult learning principles.

When is transfer of learning successful?

To be successful, each learning initiative must identify and employ meaningful levers that help with the successful application of skills to job-specific tasks. If you want to transfer learning and have the new skills “stick,” ensure that you, the participants, their bosses, and the executive team can adequately answer five key questions:

  • Relevance: How does the skill development apply directly to an individual’s role and the group’s purpose compared to other priorities?
  • Resources: How is the necessary time, tools, technology, information, supporting processes, and structures being made available to produce the desired result?
  • Reinforcement: How is your environment supporting (incentives, consequences, recognition, etc.) the application of the new skills for participants and their bosses?
  • Renewal: How is the organization ensuring continuous improvement through coaching, mentoring, follow-up, and refreshers?
  • Review: How are you measuring the efficacy of the intervention at individual and group levels?

Watch the helpful video below!

The video above overviews 5 Strategies to apply to improve Transfer of Learning. 

  • Explicit Teaching
  • Group Learning
  • Reflection
  • Use analogies and metaphors 
  • Try generalizing 

This research project focused on the correlation between storytelling and transfer of learning. *also referenced in Storyteling project


Brown, T. (2017,August 15). How can you ensure transfer of training – to get the results business leaders want. TD Magazine. Retrieved from

Leaman, C. (2014).Improving learning transfer.  Training. Retrieved from

Strauss, V. (2013, March 6). Why the learning pyramid is wrong. The Washington Post. Retrieved from