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Learning transfer model: a research‐driven approach to enhancing learning effectiveness

Michael Leimbach (Vice President of Research and Design, Wilson Learning Worldwide, Edina, Minnesota, USA)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 16 March 2010




The purpose of this paper is determine what direct evidence is available that demonstrates the tangible benefit of learning transfer activities to improve the transfer of training. Further, this research creates an application framework for implementing the most effective solutions to increase the effectiveness of human resource development initiatives.


A targeted meta‐analysis process, focused on research that compared training alone with training plus transfer activities, is used. “Difference scores”, representing the percentage of improvement the transfer activities created over training alone, are computed.


Results indicate that there are 11 specific learning transfer activities showing tangible impact and evidence of effectiveness. In total, 32 studies are found that made this type of comparison. While this may be too narrow to draw specific conclusions, it provides a good basis for development of a learning transfer framework.

Research limitations/implications

The results indicate that there is a great need for more research that directly compares training alone with training plus transfer activities.

Practical implications

Nonetheless, the research may help to simplify the complex models of learning transfer presented by others and provide a framework that is more likely to be implemented than previous frameworks and theories.


This is the first ever effort, according to the author, to assess the direct impact of learning transfer activities on performance improvement.



Leimbach, M. (2010), "Learning transfer model: a research‐driven approach to enhancing learning effectiveness", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 42 No. 2, pp. 81-86.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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