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Zhang, Yenming
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Today’s highly uncertain and complex global business landscape is transforming economies so swiftly that businesses and job roles, including that of leadership, are highly impacted. As a result, organisations worldwide have been increasing their investments in leadership development over the years even pre-Covid. However, the returns on investments are dismal in terms of transfer of learning back to the workplaces, suggesting a waste in resources and unrealised potential for organisations.

This study aimed to 1) increase the understanding of the determinants influencing transfer of learning of leadership development programme participants to the workplaces following a learning event; 2) find out if the determinants for learning transfer are different for self-sponsored participants as compared with organisation-sponsored participants; and 3) have a better understanding of the support that would motivate learning transfer for learners throughout the learning event.

A qualitative multiple case study research design was applied to the Leadership and People Management Workforce Skills Qualifications (LPM WSQ) programme, using online semi-structured interviews, document reviews of course materials and video recordings of two selected leadership programme courses. The interviewees included two facilitators, three self-sponsored learners and three organisation-sponsored learners. The facilitators went through one round of interview each, and two interviews were organised with the learners, the first one being after their training, and the second about one month later.

Theory-driven coding was applied to the interview data based on the proposed learning transfer framework. Thematic analysis method was used to analyse the data. The research found that learner, learning event, work environment and macro environment were determinants influencing learning transfer. New determinants emerged in this study were learner’s role and learning management process at the workplace. The study found that the main determinants differentiating self-sponsored learners and organisation-sponsored learners were motivation and context of transfer. It also found that determinants were inter-related. These determinants became antecedents to motivation for learning and transfer, and transfer outcomes influence motivation for future learning and transfer. During Covid-19 pandemic when work was much disrupted, workload, stress and work-from-home requirements were challenges facing participants in attempting to transfer learning.

Learning transfer needs to be intentionally planned and implemented way before the learning event. For practice, it is recommended that a systems approach be adopted when managing learning and transfer and customised for each leader’s developmental needs; a learning management process plan be created by organisations to identify the actions to be taken by different stakeholders before, during and after the learning event; and integrate the learning management process with performance management system, linking learning transfer to rewards and recognition. This would enable organisations to better measure returns on investments in employee development.

It is recommended that future research studies to use mixed method design for more in-depth data analysis; to approach using systems perspective in investigating determinants and their correlations in the learning transfer process, and linking learning management process to performance management system; to investigate self-sponsored learners who are self-employed; and apply similar research studies to other SkillsFuture courses.
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LB1059 Teo
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Appears in Collections:Doctor in Education (Ed.D.)

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