Improving Transfer of Training

Topic(s): motivation, training
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology 2011
Article: Influencing learning states to enhance trainee motivation and improve training transfer
Authors: D.A. Weissbein, J.L. Huang, J.K. Ford, A.M. Schmidt
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

How many times have you heard about or participated in a training program but the information or skills learned didn’t get retained or used after the training ended? This transfer of training problem is common and frustrating to those who develop or pay for training programs.


In this paper, Weissbein, Huang, Ford, and Schmidt (2011) conducted a study in which they gave undergraduates a pretraining intervention before the participants received interpersonal negotiation training.

The pretraining intervention was designed to increase internal locus of control (the belief that outcomes are under one’s control through one’s own behaviors and actions). In this intervention, participants viewed a video in which actors suggested that it was possible to improve as a negotiator through effort and learning correct strategies. The participants were then told by the trainer that they shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions or make mistakes, and the trainer also reminded them that they should focus on effort and learning.


The authors found that the pretraining intervention was linked to motivation to learn, which in turn was related to transfer performance (through the increased prevalence of preparation activities). These results indicate that providing a pretraining intervention aimed at increasing trainees’ locus of control can increase training transfer.


Weissbein, D. A., Huang, J. L., Ford, J. K., & Schmidt, A. M. (2011). Influencing learning states to enhance trainee motivation and improve training transfer. Journal of Business and Psychology, 26, 423-435.

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