Efficiency of company training programs – Development and empirical analysis of a model for assessing the transfer competence of staff members

Project duration: 2008-2009

In order to justify expenses for training programs, companies have to evaluate the efficiency of training measures. Investment for training programs can only be judged as efficient when it results in observable changes in staff performance, for example, when newly acquired knowledge is put into practice at work. Unfortunately, however, staff members as well as their superiors often complain that this transfer of knowledge into practice does not happen at all or at least not sufficiently.

Previous approaches have focused on transfer from their respective research perspectives, thereby only explaining a few elements of transfer processes at a time. This study aims to provide a new and holistic perspective on transfer. It is based on the theory-driven assumption that staff members need a particular competency that enables them to put their acquired knowledge into actual practice – transfer competence.

By linking the traditional, cognitive-oriented transfer research with approaches from modern competence research, a model that explains transfer on the basis of transfer competence is developed in the theoretical part. In the theoretical part, approaches from traditional, cognitive-oriented transfer research and modern competence research are linked to create a model of transfer on the basis of transfer competency. It is also influenced by various situational influence factors, for example, on training or company level.

The empirical part of the study consists of a longitudinal assessment of an auditing company. The assessment serves, on the one hand, to develop and validate measuring methods based on central constructs of the theoretical model and, on the other hand, to test/examine selected hypotheses about the properties of transfer competence. The results provide first, important indications to what extent transfer competence is specific to the domain and the context and how variable it is.. In addition to critically reflecting the results and discussing research implications, the study also shows the potential for optimization for the design of company training programs in practice.

A selection of (international) presentations

Seidel, J. (2010). The Influence of Transfer Competence and Situational Predictors on the Level of Transfer in Further Professional Training – Presentation at the “Educational Effectiveness: Models, Methods and Applications” conference by the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI), Special Interest Group 18 “Educational Effectiveness”. 08/27/2010. Centre for Educational Effectiveness and Evaluation in Leuven (Belgium).

Seidel, J. (2010). Acquisition of Transfer Competence in Firm Internal Continue Professional Education – Presentation at the Conference of Junior Researchers (JURE) during the Conference for Young Researchers of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI). 7/21/2010. Goethe University Frankfurt am Main.


Project director: Dr. Jana Seidel

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Chair of Business Education

Prof. Dr. Olga Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia

Jakob-Welder-Weg 9

D-55009 Mainz

Phone: +49 (0)6131 39 22009

Fax: +49 (0)6131 39 22095