The procedures and operations used during training to create generalization are critical to the transfer process. For instance, the diversity, variety and novelty of tasks, responses and problems presented during training assist transfer. Providing an adequate number of informational stimuli, as well as teaching sufficiently varied responses to them, is important.
An underused method for programming generalization is to do the training in a number of organizational settings. For example, subgroups can be simultaneously trained in different environments with appropriate sequencing between them until training is completed; or the whole group can serially pass through training presentations in different settings.
Both these approaches increase the logistical problems of scheduling and staffing, but they increase the transfer effects by weakening the association between the behavior learned and the environment it was learned in.
Although immediate reinforcement for correct responding is usually the operation of choice to facilitate a learner acquiring a new response, intermittent and delayed reinforcement ultimately assure better generalization.
Thus during the latter part of training, both feedback and reinforcement should be delayed over time and varied in their amount so that the learner will maintain a reasonable level of persistence.
This thinning of reinforcement and feedback to small amounts and at lengthy or unpredictable intervals approximates the usual state affairs in most organizational environments.
The use of cues and consequences to bring forth generalized responses and then maintain them in the transfer environment is important, too. Written and verbal instructions form the principal basis for most cueing (or signaling of what comes next) that exists in organizations.
The development of a commitment to perform in the post-training environment can be fostered through the use of contingency contracts, while the use of policy control procedures can assure that the postraining behavior may be maintained through administrative means.
Consequences are those events that happen to a person after a behavior is performed. Positive consequences or reinforcement increases the likelihood that the behavior would be exhibited in the future; negative consequences or punishment decreases this likelihood.
Those consequences that are useful during training— a passing grade in an examination or a certificate of attendance— may be entirely worthless in maintaining the behavior in the transfer setting. Therefore, it’s important to identify payoffs in the transfer setting that are known to motivate employees effectively and to make these consequences contingent on the transfer behavior.
The transfer effectiveness of the procedures used to promote facts, skills and concepts presented during training also must be established. Generalization of factual material involves the ability to recall pertinent information at a later time in different surroundings.
An effective way to enhance recall during training is to provide the participant with a set of retrieval cues and plans for the material to be recalled. A mnemonic scheme based on a memorized list of words associated with information to be recalled would be appropriate here.
The use of live or videotape models to simulate the behavior as it will occur in the transfer setting is essential for skill carry-over. For concept generalization, an approach combining guided and discovery learning seems applicable. Using these combined procedures, participants are initially taught about the task; later on, they are allowed, through trial and error, to find out the answers for them¬selves.
Network component analysis
An examination of the arrangement and sequencing among the components in TRAINS is the focus in this part of the system.
The adequacy of the linkages established between each component should be explored, with special attention being given to how each component complements and strengthens the influence of the other. The identification and removal of incompatible and counter productive arrangements is of particular concern.
The network analysis puts into perspective the entire transfer effort of the program and determines the effort’s consistency and integrity. The network analysis finally attempts to balance transfer needs against other program and organizationally related factors, such as initial program learning, feasibility and cost/benefit to the organization.
Our knowledge of how to create transfer and generalization effects from training have reached a stage where formal recommendations for the use of such a technology is warranted.
The TRAINS system examines factors that have been identified as important in training programs. How widespread and effective the use of TRAINS becomes, however, will depend on two factors.
First is the extent to which the ideas contained in TRAINS are incorporated into training programs. The second relates to the support this system receives from research that demonstrates its incremental benefit over other transfer systems and models.
Source : Training Magazine