Research-driven approaches to Learning Transfer: Coaching & Feedback

Updated: Oct 9, 2020


You’re doing your job pretty well, right? Well, how do you know you're doing well? Do you know how to improve your performance over what you are doing now?


The best way to know how you are performing right now is through feedback. The best way to improve is through coaching. 




Feedback and coaching from your manager, even your peers, has been shown to drastically increase the amount of learning transferred from the training room to the workplace. Reinhold et al. (2018) conducted a meta-analysis of the various social factors that promote learning transfer in the workplace and discovered that the strongest predictor of learning transfer was receiving coaching and feedback from an employees manager and peers. 

Learners rate feedback and coaching from their manager as the most impactful influence on their attempts to transfer learning (Lim & Johnson, 2002). Interestingly, Grossman and Salas (2011), propose that it doesn't matter who the feedback comes from (manager or peer), if feedback is of high quality, learning transfer will improve.

Key takeaways:

Learning managers - if you don't have coaching training already implemented in your company, start one. Simple things you can do right now to increase learning transfer through coaching:

  • Discuss any new learning

  • Get managers to participate in the same training as their direct reports

  • Provide encouragement to those undergoing learning

  • Demonstrate and discuss how you would like to see learning implemented in work

  • Start an employee learning-buddy system to increase peer support and accountability


If you want to learn more into the referenced research they are listed below:


Grossman, R., & Salas, E. (2011). The transfer of training: What really matters. International Journal of Training and Development, 15(2), 103-120. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2419.2011.00373.x


Lim, D. H., & Johnson, S. D. (2002). Trainee perceptions of factors that influence learning transfer. International Journal of Training and Development, 6(1), 36-48.


Reinhold, S., Gegenfurtner, A., & Lewalter, D. (2018). Social support and motivation to transfer as predictors of training transfer: Testing full and partial mediation using meta-analytic structural equation modelling. International Journal of Training and Development, 22(1), 1–14. doi: 10.1111/ijtd.12115 




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 www.fergalconnolly.com.

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