Forms of Training Transfer

By John Dudovskiy

Training TransferTraining transfer can be defined as “the degree to which trainees effectively apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes gained in a training context to the job and maintained over time” (Handy, 2008, p.4).  An alternative definition of the term has been proposed as “the ability of trainee to apply the behaviour, knowledge, and skills acquired in one learning situation to another” (Business Dictionary, 2012).

Training transfer is divided by Werner and DeSimone (2008) into three categories: positive, zero, and negative. Positive transfer is associated with the improvement of job performance as a result of undergoing training. Zero transfer occurs in situations where training results in no impact in job performance. In negative transfer, on the other hand, the experience of undergoing training would be associated with negative implications on employee job performances.

Alternative classification of training transfer relates to near versus far forms of training transfer (Al-Arami, 2011). In near transfer employees are able to apply knowledge and skills gained during the training to their job promptly in a direct manner. Far transfer instances, on the other hand, involve situations where knowledge and skills gained during the training process need to be applied by employees with a substantial level of adaptation taking into account unique aspects of their profession and organisation.

For example, application of the knowledge in the workplace about the use of new computer software learned in a training session can be mentioned as an example for near transfer, whereas the application of assertiveness skills gained in training would illustrate far transfer.

Saks and Belcourt (2006) point to the sampling issues associated with training transfer studies. Specifically, Saks and Belcourt (2006) convincingly argue that the majority of studies addressing the issues of training transfer have been conducted relying on specific individuals and certain training programs, thus sampling aspect of such studies have not been appropriately addressed.



Al-Araimi, F. (2011) “Power of Human Resources” Author House

Handy, L.A. (2008) “The Importance of the Work Environment Variables on Transfer of Training”    ProQuest

Saks, A.M. & Belcourt, M. (2006) “An Investigation of Training Activities and Transfer of Training in Organisations” Human Resource Management, Winter, Vol.45, No.4, pp. 629-648

Transfer of training (2012) Business Dictionary, Available at:

Werner, J.M. & DeSimone, R.L. (2008) “Human Resource Development” Cengage Learning


Category: HRM