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Ensuring performance improvement: a review of Learning Transfer at Work by Paul Matthews

Ensuring performance improvement: a review of Learning Transfer at Work by Paul Matthews
07/04/2021

How do you ensure that learning and development activities generate the performance change you want? This question is at the heart of Paul Matthews’ readable and engaging book. A strength of the book is that the messages are equally appropriate for line managers supporting their team members to develop as they are for L&D professionals wanting to improve their value to the organisation. Paul Matthews gets to the heart of the matter – how do you ensure that learning is enacted in the workplace, and that this change in meaningful, lasting and effective? From this flow a range of other questions and ideas, with a common theme of learning and development as part of a workflow, in which a formal training workshop is one of many elements. This requires a strong and active partnership between staff member, line manager and L&D team throughout the learning intervention. The author adopts an unusual structure, the first 90 pages covering the theory and ideas in a traditional structure. He challenges why learning transfer activity is not undertaken, and explores elements of learning theory and behaviour change, including how memories form and how behaviours are triggered and adapted. The second 130 pages are structured as bullet points and short paragraphs – asking direct questions, providing external examples/contributions and presenting previously established ideas in a different format. This theory first, application/engagement second approach mirrors the flipped classroom approach he espouses.

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