Predicting workplace transfer of learning A study of adult learners enrolled in a continuing professional education training program Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose The primary purpose of this study was to predict transfer of learning to workplace among adult learners enrolled in a continuing professional education (CPE) training program, specifically training courses offered through face-to-face, blended and online instruction formats. The study examined the predictive capacity of trainee characteristics, training design and work environment on transfer of learning among the study respondents. Design/methodology/approach A cross-sectional online survey design was used to collect data from the study respondents, three months after CPE training. Two hundred ninety-seven trainees participated in this study. Data from 46 participants were incomplete and therefore excluded in the preliminary analysis, resulting in 251 valid responses and participants for the data analysis, 43 males (17.1 per cent), 201 females (80.1 per cent) and 7 (2.8 per cent) who did not indicate their gender. To answer the studys research questions, factor analysis and multiple hierarchical regressions were performed. Findings The results of the study revealed training efficiency and relevance were critical in the transfer of learning among the study participants. The findings of the study showed combined training efficiency and training relevance enabled training participants to acquire knowledge and skills for application in the workplace and had significantly positive influence in transfer of learning. The work environment, measured by work variability (or flexibility) and work complexity, and the trainee motivation to participate, measured by learning-conducive workplace features, had a positive influence in transfer of learning. Research limitations/implications Because the majority of participants were females (80.1 per cent), this could be one of the limitations to this study. Research has identified that, because of the broad expectations based on sex and different family and occupational roles, men and women differ in their social network communication, participation in CPE, personality traits, gender-related occupational preferences, learning preference and methods of handling workplace conflict. The second limitation is related to the study design. The researchers did not have a control group because of practicality issues. This being a cross-sectional online survey study, all extraneous variables were not controlled such as in the case of a true randomized control study. This study is relying on the information obtained from a self-report training transfer instrument completed by the study participants. The accuracy of the obtained data is dependent on the honesty of the participants and their commitment in providing correct responses. Originality/value This study provides empirical evidence pertaining to the transfer of learning among adult learners engaged in a continuing professional development training program. The study examines factors related to training design, training delivery, trainee motivation and the workplace environment and how these factors determine transfer of learning among trainee respondents who participated in the study. The findings of the study have practical implications for the design and successful delivery of continuing professional training among adult learners. The study could be replicated at a national level and in international settings.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Nafukho, F. M., Alfred, M., Chakraborty, M., Johnson, M., & Cherrstrom, C. A.

citation count

  • 22

complete list of authors

  • Nafukho, Fredrick Muyia||Alfred, Mary||Chakraborty, Misha||Johnson, Michelle||Cherrstrom, Catherine A

publication date

  • January 2017