Social factors and the physical training environment both influence transfer. The characteristics of both participants and trainers are one of these elements. One critical question pertaining to trainers is how much visibility, contact and influence they currently have and potentially will have in the post-training environment.
To the extent that trainers are isolated from the rest of the organization, their ability to extend the gains made during training to other relevant organizational settings is unlikely to occur.
If this situation exists, then it may be necessary to recruit, on a short-term basis, surrogate trainers from those settings to which the participants will return. By virtue of their continued presence around participants before, during and after training, surrogates are likely to provide relevant social support for the newly acquired behavior in the appropriate organizational setting.
Even if trainers are well integrated into other aspects of organizational functioning, a variety of trainers should be employed to increase transfer possibilities.
Personal investment and a feeling of some ownership of training content by significant participating figures in the transfer environment also contribute to successful generalization.
When individuals with social and administrative influence participate in the development of the goals and objectives of the training experience, they feel more committed to carry through on transfer objectives and influence others to achieve similar results.
Another critical factor to assess is whether there is considerable hostile, negative or unconstructive sentiment among the participants for any particular training experience.
If there is, transfer will be minimal. If the critical mass of negative opinion is not neutralized or balanced by careful participant selection during training, then participants will either be uninfluenced by the transfer program or will attempt to undermine it by poor role modeling and verbal innuendo.
This aspect is particularly important to understand when the program in question deals with potentially emotional or controversial subjects, such as race relations, social skills training or performance counseling.
Trainers and participants are bound together by the social climate created during training. A persistent problem that compromises transfer effects is the special emphasis placed on developing social and emotional response patterns that are most adaptive within the training program itself.
Too often, participants con¬form to the demands of training, be¬cause it is functional to do so. Once these demands are removed, other factors influence a person’s response, such as work load, new organizational, priorities and so on.
Examination of the discrepancy that exists between the social climate created during training and that which exists in the primary work setting of the participant is important. Large discrepancies between the two social climates decrease the likelihood of transfer, while small discrepancies increase the possibility of transfer effects.
Similar training and transfer physical environments are also important. Two aspects of the training environment should be considered— the physical space provided for training and the resources contained in the training space.
The more common and salient stimuli that exist in the training and transfer environment, the greater the likelihood that generalization will occur. One way to accomplish this is by “vestibule training”: on-the-job problems or situations along with their physical characteristics are recreated in the classroom.
Source : Training Magazine.