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Research-driven approaches to Learning Transfer: Action Planning

Updated: Oct 9, 2020

If you are looking for a quick 🏃🏽‍♀️ and cheap 💰 way to increase learning transfer; asking your learners to create a Learning Action Plan might just be the most cost effective way to increase learning transfer there is.

When we want to achieve anything in life, committing our goals to paper, and making a plan on how we will achieve our goals increases the likelihood of goal achievement. It’s the same with learning transfer. It's an easy to implement but underused tool in the learning professional toolkit.

Simply put, Action Planning involves a learner generating their own plan to implement their learning. It's also called a Learning Action Plan, or implementation intentions. 

Action planning has received much support in the academic literature and has been shown to increase attention in training and improve performance scores on trained behaviour post-training (Friedman & Ronen, 2015), as well as result in higher goal achievement across a number of domains (Gollwitzer & Sheeran, 2006).

Key takeaway:

Towards the end of your training, ask your learners to take a few moments to think about what they want to change about their behaviour based on what they learned in training. Ask them to commit this to paper along with a timeline of when they will do this by, and any support they will need from managers/colleagues to achieve their goal. 

Want to score extra Learning Transfer Points? Have learners send their Action Plan to their manager and prompt a discussion about their learning and the support required to turn learning into performance.


To learn more check out the below research:

Friedman, S., & Ronen, S. (2015). The effect of implementation intentions on transfer of training. European Journal of Social Psychology, 45(4), 409-416.

Gollwitzer, P. M., & Sheeran, P. (2006). Implementation intentions and goal achievement: A meta‐analysis of effects and processes. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 69-119.

About Fergal:

Fergal is a learning transfer expert who shares his evidence-based learning transfer approaches with the learning community. Fergal holds an MSc in Education and Training, and a BSc in Psychology. Contact Fergal for speaking engagements, writing opportunities, or learning transfer consultancy by visiting



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