Document Type


Publication Date



Every year billions of dollars are spent on development aid and training around the world. However, only 10% of this training results in the transfer of knowledge, skills, or behaviors learned in the training to the work place. Ideally, learning transfer produces effective and continued application by learners of the knowledge and skills they gained through their learning activities. Some studies suggest that technology usage can serve as an effective post-learning intervention to enhance the transfer of learning. Currently, there is a limited body of research examining the factors that hinder and promote learning transfer in professional development, particularly the professional development of school leaders in developing countries.

This qualitative exploratory study sought to address the gap in the literature by examining 6 schools, 3 in Burkina Faso and 3 in Ghana, West Africa. This investigation explored: (a) if and how learning transfer took place after the leadership training; (b) what promoted and hindered learning transfer in both countries; and (c) if the use of a text message intervention after the training enhanced learning transfer. The sample consisted of 13 West African school leaders (6 in Burkina Faso and 7 in Ghana) who attended a 3-day leadership training workshop. Data collection included in-depth interviews, document analysis, post-training site visits, and text messages to ascertain whether this mobile technology intervention enhanced learning transfer. The findings demonstrate that learning transfer occurred in both countries in all six schools. Data indicate that most of the transfer of learning happened in areas not requiring mindset and behavioral changes. Data suggest that the facilities in which the trainings took place, the facilitators’ dispositions and knowledge as well as the adequacy of the materials and the follow-up of the mobile text messaging intervention assisted the participants in transferring knowledge to their schools following the training. Participants also indicated some inhibitors to the transfer of learning such as financial, cultural, and human behavior constraints. This study helps increase our understanding of what promotes and inhibits learning transfer in educational settings in developing countries and provides suggestions for trainers and teachers who facilitate trainings.

Document Version

Published Version


A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, May 2017, University of San Diego School of Leadership and Education Sciences.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.