In a meta-analysis of the effects of organizational training, Arthur et al. (2003) proposed that transfer takes place if the training is found to be effective at any or all of the levels from (2) through (4) of the framework, such that:
(a) learning is demonstrated through pretraining and posttraining tests of trainees’ knowledge and skills (which may include cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal competencies);
(b) improvements in on-the-job behavior are demonstrated through changes in pre- and post-training performance measures; or
(c) results are demonstrated through calculations of organizational return on investment.
The authors found that the training had significant, positive effects for each of these three levels of the evaluation framework: d = .63, .62, and .62 for learning, behavior, and results, respectively. They concluded that training does indeed transfer.
Attention has shifted recently from whether training transfers to which conditions specifically enhance the transfer of training. A convenient framework for characterizing those conditions is Baldwin and Ford’s model of transfer (Baldwin and Ford, 1988; Ford and Weissbein, 1997; Baldwin, Ford, and Blume, 2009). The model proposes that three categories of factors influence transfer: trainee characteristics, training design, and work environment. Baldwin and Ford (1988) proposed that the key trainee characteristics promoting transfer are cognitive ability, personality, and motivation, while the key training design features include following the principles of learning, correctly sequencing the training, and providing appropriate training content. The key work environment features that promote transfer include supervisor and peer support for the training and opportunities to use the training on the job (see Figure 6-1).
A meta-analysis of 89 studies conducted by Blume et al. (2010) examined these various factors and found positive relationships between transfer and several of them, including the trainee characteristics of cognitive ability and motivation (as well as conscientiousness) and support within the work environment. The authors also examined moderators of these relationships and found that the above factors predicted transfer more strongly when the training content focused on “open” skills, such as leadership development, rather than on “closed” skills, such as how to use a particular type of computer software. Transfer was also promoted to the extent that the training environment and the transfer environment (the job) were similar. This latter finding reflects the research from learning sciences discussed in Chapter 4, which found that transfer is enhanced when the original learning