Culture: The Link to Learning Transfer

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Publication Date


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Adult Learning


Organizations worldwide spend large amounts of money and resources on developing their employees, yet the money invested in professional learning (PL) yields low to moderate results at best. Because culture is a predominant force in people’s life, multinational corporations and other institutions should take culture into account at every stage of the PL process or they will not obtain the desired return on their investments. Despite the numerous studies on learning transfer, practitioners continue to experience challenges when it comes to altering their practices and generate better outcomes. Scholars have not yet fully taken into consideration culture when developing learning transfer models. Although some learning transfer models address transfer climate as an enhancer or a hindrance to learning transfer, none have considered the overall influence of culture on the transfer phenomenon. This article proposes a culturally grounded multidimensional model of learning transfer (MMLT). The MMLT is designed to assist practitioners and PL organizers before, during, and after the PL event. This innovative model aims at enhancing the implementation of new knowledge, skills, or behaviors in the workplace. The MMLT is based on qualitative data collected and analyzed over 6 years in educational institutions in five African nations. The model is relevant to any organizations across sectors whose aspirations are to maximize learning transfer and obtain a return on their investments that would in turn positively affect organizations’ outcomes.




Sage Publications

Peer Reviewed



culture, learning transfer, training, professional development, professional learning