ATD Blog

My “New Insight 20 Years Into My Career” Moment

Friday, July 19, 2019

During session TU204 at ATD 2010, Andy Jefferson barked “10 x 1 = 10. 5 x 5 = 25. 10 x 10 = 100.” His point was that training multiplied by learning transfer equals results. The three equations implied:

  1. Most training is great, but with minimal transfer the results are poor.
  2. Even mediocre training can lead to better results if supported by good learning transfer.
  3. The best way to get fantastic results is by improving transfer.

Simple concept, simple math, but that sparked my third key career moment.

While I’ve learned from performance improvement, coaching, learning technology, and many other industry developments during my 25 years of trying to help learners get meaningful business results, learning transfer was the most recent key moment for me. Unlike other shiny trends, learning transfer isn’t intellectually stimulating, strategic, or even new. It’s more of a mid-sized donkey that drags learning to results. However, learning transfer is focused on learners, on behavior in the workplace, and on business. Most importantly, it can deliver results.


Since 2010 my team has spent years diving into primary research about learning transfer. We’ve taken every course and certification we could find. Hungry for more, we developed our own original learning transfer model. Based on that, we redesigned every one of our major training programs to maximize learning transfer. Since then we’ve found great technology to support transfer and are now working to refine evaluation.

Last year I wrote a column called "Talent Development’s Perfect Storm" describing my excitement that all the pieces are now in place to get great results from learning. To be honest, two decades into my career, I didn’t expect a sudden uptick in insight, personal growth, and excitement. Luckily, I had a learning transfer moment. Thanks, Andy.

About the Author

Jason Durkee, CPTD, is president of workplace learning and performance consulting firm Idea Development based in Tokyo and a director of ATD Japan. Since the 1990s, he's designed and delivered cross-cultural awareness, innovation and communication development programs to more than 40,000 participants in Asia. Idea Development is recognized as leader in learning transfer, dynamic training design, and effective use of technology in Japan. Jason regularly speaks at T&D related events in Asia and has published several books on business communication.

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