Demonstrate an understanding of methods and approaches promoting an effective transfer of knowledgeDesigning Educational ProgrammesKnowledge of the concepts and methods relating to the transferability of knowledgeTransferring knowledge or values related to the activity to the learners

Learning and Transfer in my training

The processes of learning and the transfer of learning are central to understanding how people develop important competencies.

Learning is important because no one is born with the ability to competently function as an adult in the society. It is especially important to understand the kinds of learning experiences that lead to transfer, defined as the ability to extend what has been learned in one context to new contexts (e.g., Byrnes, 1996:74). Educators hope that students will transfer learning from one problem to another within a course, from one year in school to another, between school and home, and from school to the workplace. Assumptions about transfer accompany the belief that it is better to broadly “train” people than simply “train” them to perform particular tasks (e.g., Broudy, 1977). The holistic approach in learning is very important as well as how the learning will be transferred and how would it be a part of the personal and professional reflection of the trainers.

I chose this tool because it helps to reflect before preparing any learning experience and to be more focused on different conditions that could happen in the training, which could help or prevent learners to get the best out of this experience.

The trainers should be aware of the fact that their approach should lead to a change and this would happen only when there is a true process of transferability from concepts to application.

Main content:

Some guiding considerations about how we are going to transfer knowledge to the learners in our activities that can help direct our mindset in preparing our modules.

  • Initial learning is necessary for transfer, and a considerable amount is known about the kinds of learning experiences that support transfer.
  • The knowledge that is overly contextualized can reduce transfer; abstract representations of knowledge can help promote transfer.
  • The transfer is best viewed as an active, dynamic process rather than a passive end-product of a particular set of learning experiences.
  • All new learning involves transfer based on previous learning, and this fact has important implications for the design of instruction that helps students learn.

The transfer is always a function of relationships between what is learned and what is tested. Many theorists argue that the amount of transfer will be a function of the overlap between the original domain of learning and the novel one. Measuring the overlap requires a theory of how knowledge is represented and conceptually mapped across domains.

In the context of Non-Formal Learning, we should pay attention to Active Versus Passive Approaches to Transfer

It is important to view the transfer as a dynamic process that requires learners to actively choose and evaluate strategies, consider resources, and receive feedback.

Why the active approach is so important in the Transferability of knowledge?

This active view of transfer is different from more static views, which assume that transfer is adequately reflected by learners’ abilities to solve a set of transfer problems right after they have engaged in an initial learning task (Bransford and Schwartz, 1999; Brown et al, 1983; Bruer, 1993).


The learning is becoming much stronger when the trainer can build over experiences that the learners had already consolidated in their path. This learning will be stronger and they will be able to apply it in their practices directly.

The knowledge that is taught in only a single context is less likely to support flexible transfer than the knowledge that is taught in multiple contexts. With multiple contexts, learners are more likely to abstract the relevant features of concepts and develop a more flexible representation of knowledge.

All new learning involves transfer. Previous knowledge can help or hinder the understanding of new information


In this sense a trainer should be able to develop concepts and training elements that should be taken into consideration:

• To be understood to use by all, not be exclusive

• To use non-specialized but precise language that provides clear

and convivial messages

To allow for additions, comments, appropriations and adaptations by everyone

• To be attractive, interactive and dynamic

• To facilitate the “voyage”, the transformation

• To provoke and force learners out of their comfort zone

• To destabilize without being frightening

• To search for balance and an individual and collective understanding

• To give a sense


How to apply it in everyday life?

  • Observe in daily life as experiences can make a different understanding of reality;
  • Try to see how different people around you are putting attention in very different ways to the same provided information.

Reflection questions:

  • How much am I aware of the importance of assessing session for a better learning transferability?
  • Do I care about the balancing active and reflective methods in the training?
  • How can I improve in designing sessions for supporting more effective learning by participants?
  • What should I improve taking into consideration the Hints above?

Author of the article: Amr Araf

is a freelance consultant, trainer  and researcher based in Cairo, Egypt. Amr believes in the impact of youth work and the efficiency of non-formal
learning thus he turned these into his main areas of speciality. He works with several local and international institutions in MENA and Europe on designing and delivering educational programs for young people 15 – 30 years old. Amr has a master in Education and Youth studies from the University of Hong Kong, and a certified practitioner in Adult Learning by Calgary University in Canada and recipient of Community Leadership Certificate from George Mason University in Washington D.C. in US. He supports the autonomy of young people and transformative powers in them, and the importance of youth work to activate that.

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Editor: Federica Demicheli

A training focusing on participation as methodology (not only as topic) is based on a certain value premise that believes in the empowerment of all the learners and supporting the equal participation of the ones with fewer opportunities or in situations of disatatage (temporary or long term). The focus of participatory training is not just about ‘knowing more’ but about…

Click here to read more about Federica Demicheli

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