An Executive Summary of Relationships of Goal Orientation, Metacognitive Activity, and Practice Strategies with Learning Outcomes and Transfer

Author: Alex Brittain-Catlin
Published: December 6th, 2019

Original White Paper by J. Kevin Ford, Eleanor M. Smith, Daniel A Weissbein, Stanley M. Gully and Eduardo Salas.

When it comes to designing training programmes, the requirement on the instructional designer is to prepare the learner to be able to handle tasks in their performance environment by tackling various and similar tasks in the learning environment. However, particularly when the skill set involves social interactions and complex behaviours, the scenarios in which the target audience are asked to apply their learning are often more challenging than was conducted during the training. So, what is the approach that will enable the learners to successfully tackle more demanding situations, be willing to do so, and persevere in the new approach even when there is not an expressed and prescribed way of doing so?

There is a complex interdependency when it comes to how learners make decisions when they are back at work and must combine multiple pieces of information and prioritize their actions in order to apply what they have learned from a training event. As learning providers, we can design our programmes in a way that increases the likelihood of these interdependent factors coming into play to deliver the results in the workplace.

This paper looks at what can influence a learner in the application of their learning to a given work task. Three key parts of the chain that are identified are:

  1. A mastery orientation when it comes to the metacognitive learning activities;
  2. The links between this metacognitive learning approach and knowledge acquisition, skilled performance at the end of the training and self-efficacy;
  3. A belief in themselves to develop as part of the learning process to achieve the end task, which may be similar but not the same as that trained upon.

Starting with Mastery Orientation, which is the learner’s belief that effort can lead to an improvement in outcomes and that the ability in a given area is flexible rather than solely linked to a specific way of doing things. With this approach there is a focus on developing new skills, attempting to understand the context around the task, and then successfully applying a standard by which to measure their achievement. Those who have the Mastery Orientation approach want to develop a rich understanding of task procedures, and are more likely to practice an important skill-related task as often as possible. As HPLJ practitioners, we have opportunities to build on this because we are not so limited by instructor-led training events. By utilizing a learning journey, particularly the Crawl, Walk and Run approach, we can extend our reach and have the opportunity to build on the different levels of foundational knowledge as well as incorporate a varying complexity of skills supported by application and awareness creation within the learner’s own specific working environment.

Metacognition relates to their awareness and understanding of our learners’ own thought processes as they engage in the learning scenarios. That they are not simply following a set of instructions but are building an awareness around their planning, monitoring, and execution of behaviours associated with their objective. We can support our learners to improve upon these aspects by designing assignments that encourage reflection and reporting not only on the outcome of application but also the processes that led to success.

The learning environment must facilitate the use of metacognitive or self-regulatory skills. A key issue in the development and effective use of this learning approach is the opportunity for individuals to engage in self-directed learning. This learner control allows individuals to adjust the instruction to their own needs and the monitoring involved enables them to identify errors in performance, and adjust their learning activities. The idea being that they should acquire more knowledge about the task and develop more effective procedures for performing the task in their working environment.

Certainly, the flexibility offered by the journey approach lends itself to the self-directed learning element. Where they have the material for knowledge foundation and the time to create their own levels of comprehension around the subject matter. The use of additional assignments for them to draw relevance and awareness from their own working environment offers an opportunity to build on their knowledge in such a way that we look not only at a single process but the wider awareness of how it functions within a working environment.

An additional factor related to the Mastery Orientation and Metacognitive approach is the building of a feeling of self-efficacy. The impact of developing a range of new skills, creating an understanding of the relevance of these skills to their work tasks, and then being able to regulate their own performance is that learners show a greater degree of perseverance to carry out the end task in the required manner. The feeling that they have a broader understanding of the subject matter enables them to feel that they have the ability to succeed, when compared to those who only have a procedural way of tackling a problem.

In conclusion, what this suggests to us as learning developers is that we need to incorporate more than just knowledge and skills into our design plans. That in addition to these elements we need to include specific activities and assignments that contribute to the building of a Metacognitive level of awareness and lead to a Mastery Orientation. In this way, we can create a greater likelihood of the learner being able to apply the learning within complex real-life scenarios and demonstrating a greater resilience when facing the difficulties that such situations may bring.


Read the full version of the paper.

To learn more about the High-Performance Learning Journey Approach, click here. 

Applying the Five Types of Use

Author: Alex Brittain-Catlin
Published: October, 21 2019

In their paper: A demonstration of Five Types of Use, Kevin Ford et al, suggest five ways that a training course participant could apply their learning after a program has concluded. These levels look at the application not only immediately after a training has taken place but also over time. One of the main findings is that as Learning and Development professionals, we need to look beyond immediate application when evaluating the complete impact of training.


The five types of transfer that they have identified are:

  • Perform: where there is a direct application of what has been trained, based on the procedures and principles taught.
  • Assess: where the participant uses the standards derived from the program to evaluate their own or other’s performance.
  • Explain: to explain and generate understanding and acceptance of the subject matter held in the training.
  • Instruct: where participants of a program then go on to instruct others how to apply the methods and principles taught.
  • Lead: where former trainees, who are now in a leadership position, promote the ongoing successful application of the learned performance.

The questions that we then need to ask ourselves resulting from this are what are the opportunities for us as program developers in terms of using these criteria in terms of not only evaluating the programs we run but also, what kind of assignments can we create to guide the application of our participants in these criteria.

In terms of utilising these as application and assessment criteria, they fit in well with the Learning Journey approach, which because of its implied length enables us to move beyond immediate application. Whilst immediate application of what has been applied is still a key factor, what other opportunities does the stretching the dimension of time dimension afford us?

Certainly, when we look at assess, this is more straightforward. When it comes to the Learning Journey approach, we are able to instruct participants to assess how a learning is being applied both in terms of their own performance but also that of others. The approach of iterations of feedback to support and further develop approaches is a factor in terms of really integrating changes of behaviour supports this criterion.

The criteria of Explain, Instruct, and even Lead, to some extent, fall squarely into the Core Element of Strengthening Results, where participants go beyond the immediate scope of the program to take spread their learning to audiences who have not participated. When designing programs, we can also use these criteria when looking at Develop and Practice Skills, clearly showing the intent to spread learning as an executable assignment.

Technical advances in supporting how we deliver programs further enables us to engage with participants in a different way and allow us to guide meaningful assignments over a longer period, when necessary.  The current shift from events to journeys and from learning to application also lends itself to a more sustained approach that goes beyond straightforward application type assignments. To that end we can guide participants, through platforms such as Promote, to not only perform but also take into account these other factors of assess, explain, instruct and lead at a time when they have potentially moved beyond the initial confusion about how to internalize a newly learned approach and start thinking beyond this from a wider perspective.

In its simplest form, providing participants with a full list of these five criteria and asking them to self-asses which of these they can apply and then to return to Promote and post reflections and approaches as to how that application went would be a meaningful of drawing more value from a program.

Read more about the paper “Beyond Direct Application as an Indicator of Transfer: A Demonstration of Five Types of Use”.

Download this article as an PDF.

Thank you for attending Focus on Performance 2019!

In the end of June, Promote sponsored and attended Focus on Performance 2019!

Focus on Performance is a global HR and L&D conference for all of you that are passionate about creating business results from training. During two intense days in Stockholm, we learned bold new ideas about educational technology, shared ideas, discussed trends and attended inspirational keynote and beak-out sessions.

See the full schedule and speakers from the 2019 edition here.

Are you interested in the new book by Robert Brinkerhoff, Anne Apking and Edward Boon being presented at Focus on Performance?
Read more and order it online from Amazon here.

For all of you who attended the conference June 26-27, 2019 – Login to your Promote portal to find recordings of the seminars, pictures and addiontal bonus-material.

You can also follow us at Linkedin to see pictures and updates from the conference.

See you all next year!

Design more effective L&D programs by Stretching the Dimensions

Author: Alex Brittain-Catlin
Published: March 29, 2019

We asked our participants on our High-Performance Learning Journey program what was best practice when it came to designing programs. This is what they said.

Download the full report here.

Overcoming Performance Barriers in L&D Programs

Author: Alex Brittain-Catlin
Published: April 5, 2019

What are the common barriers to performance that prevent learners from applying what they have learned and 60+ potential approaches to addressing these.

Är digitalisering svaret på allt? Är det relevant att digitalisera utbildning?

Author: Karin Plith
Published: April 2nd, 2019

Torsdagens frukostseminarium på temat L&D och digitalisering leddes av Promote Internationals VD Jon Serrander. Att ämnet är aktuellt är ingen överdrift; seminariet drog stor publik, deltagarna var engagerade och diskussionerna livliga.

Jon inledde med en “walk down memory lane” och gjorde nedslag i tidiga försök till digitalisering inom utbildning; försök som lämnat en än mer traumatiserad. Därefter slog han fast några påstående som kanske sivder, men som är ack så sanna. “What if I told you that your e-learing sucks” följt av min personliga favorit “What if I told you that your micro-learing also sucks”. Micro-learning är e-learning upphackad i mindre delar. Och vad är det som säger att det skulle göra den bättre? Uppfattningen om LMS:et som allsmäktigt system för utbildning, är komplett felaktig. Det börjar nästan alla förstå vid det här laget och det är ingen nyhet för publiken. Det kan dock inte understrykas tillräckligt att så verkligen är fallet.

Learning just in time, adaptive learning, self directed learning är begrepp som numera är frekvent återkommande och trendiga. Men låt oss enas om att så länge Netflix och Spotify inte kan rekommendera rätt filmer eller låtar med alla deras resurser i form av data och programmerare, så ska nog utbildningsbranschen ligga lågt.

Digitalisering inom L&D har många användningsområden. Gränserna mellan effektivt och effektfullt suddas ut och där vi tidigare var tvungna att välja kan vi nu ta båda. Med nya tekniska lösningar, design med fokus på verksamhetsmässig förståelse och engagemang samt kunskaper att använda i rätt situationer, behöver vi inte längre göra avkall på effekt och resultat för att nå kraven på snabbhet, skalbarhet, storskalighet, tillgänglighet och flexibilitet.

Angreppssätten för digitalisering inom L&D kan se olika ut. Ett ramverk för att hitta lämpliga startpunkter kan vara att utgå ifrån ett program, ett projekt eller att ta organisatoriskt helhetsgrepp.

  • Fördelarna med att starta med ett program att förbättra är t ex att det kan sjösättas på några veckor, det är låg risk, omedelbar ROI och låg organisatorisk belastning.
  • Att jobba med ett projekt förutsätter att man går lite utanför sin komfortzon, men i gengäld får du stor påverkan till en hanterbar risk. Det bidrar till att agilt arbetssätt och du kan snabbt få ut något användbart i organisationen.
  • Det organisatoriska angreppssättet är mer komplicerat och kräver organisatorisk uppbackning på hög nivå. Tekniken kommer ta mycket större plats, användarhantering och integration blir aktuellt tidigare vilket förstorar och försvårar. Det kan vara nödvändigt, men man ska vara medveten om vad man gör. Det tar lång tid, kostar mycket pengar och är icke-agilt.

Avslutningsvis kan vi konstatera att vi på Promote International med vårt arbete inom design av utbildning (High Performance Learning Journeys) och teknik (Promote) befinner oss mitt i en “perfect storm” – i positiv bemärkelse. Med design som skapar organisatorisk förståelse och insikt om när kunskaperna ska användas tillsammans med en teknik som exekverar och möjliggör tillgänglighet, storskalighet och flexibilitet, så är svaret “ja” på den inledande frågan om det är högst relevant att digitalisera utbildning.

Vill du ha inbjudningar till våra frukostar? Maila oss på så håller vi dig uppdaterad!

Här kan du läsa mer om de kommande tillfällena.

Promote won five Brandon-Hall ed-tech awards

Author: Jon Serrander
Published: December 17th, 2018

Christmas came early for Promote this year, we being the recipients of five Brandon-Hall ‘ed-tech’ awards last week and now easily the most recognized of all learning transfer platforms!

Okay, perhaps not the Oscars and yet, still one of the most prestigious awards in our field of business and a very clear sign that we are not only doing things right but also doing the right things.

Our ability to keep ahead, is largely the result of all the thorough feedback and great ideas that we get from you, Promote users, around the globe – so a big ‘thank you’ to you all – these are awards that we have won together!

"We did it!" Vattenfall awarded as best Trainee Programme of the year

Author: Linnea Hakansson
Published: September 28th, 2018

At the end of June, Vattenfall received the international award in the category “Trainee Programme of the year 2018”, which was organised by the company Promote International.

Vattenfall International Trainee Programme 2017/2018 was one of the nominees competing against 81 other international corporations. The programme won being a good example of a High Performance Learning Journey, using a variety of ways to communicate and interact during the programme and thus creating lasting results.

“I am really happy and proud of the award”, says Programme Responsible Thérèse Troedsson. “It is an award that I share with everyone who has contributed to the success of the programme; the trainees who are the co-creators of the programme as well as everyone who contributed as inspirational speakers.”

Read the original article here.

The award was handed out in Stockholm by Professor Robert Brinkerhoff, creator of the theory behind High Performance Learning Journeys and the CEO of Promote International, Jon Serrander. In the middle Thérèse Troedsson, Programme Responsible at Vattenfall.

Masterclass: Creating High Performance Learning Journeys

Published: September 26, 2018

Masterclass recorded at People Matters L&D League Annual Conference 2017

Listen to Preethi B Rao, Head – Learning Effectiveness at C2C Organisational Development talks about the multi-dimensional approach to learning journey which can potentially increase the stickiness of the journey.

Read more here. 

Read more about C2C Organizational Development here.

The 2018 edition of Promote Network Summit

Author: Linnea Hakansson


During two intense days, the Promote Network met in sunny Stockholm, Sweden, for the annual Promote Network Summit, PNS2018. We had +100 engaged participants from all over the world attending this year. 

See the video from PNS2018 here.

We had a number of fantastic keynote sessions with amongst others, Robin Hoyle – Head of Learning Innovation at Huthwaite, Dr. Ina Weinbauer-Heidel – CEO and Founder of Institute of Transfer Effectiveness, Masha Ibeschitz, Professor Robert Brinkerhoff and Edward Boon from Promote International.

We started the summit with  Jon Serrander, the CEO of Promote, welcoming all delegates and sharing some news from the learning industry. Edward Boon, who hosted the entire event (and had a couple of break out sessions) presented the schedule for the two intense days and kicked off the mingling part with a couple of exercises.

There was a couple of parallel break-out sessions to chose from both days, spanning from “hands-on-Promote” to more theoretical sessions. A good mix in other words!

  • “Creating learner-centred assignments that engage” with Edward Boon (Promote)
  • “Implementation of business-driven learning” with Thérèse Troedsson (Vattenfall) and Mark Gussetti (Promote)
  • “Running successful trainings with in-house facilitators” with Hanna Andersberg (Orkla)
  • “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Training – What works?” with Lynette Brinkerhoff (BEI) and Mikael Borak (Promote)
  • “Can you measure the effect of an onboarding program in hard cash?” with Annika Devert (Willys) and David Djerf (Induction)
  • “How to simplify the course delivery process from an administrator’s perspective” with Andreas Kühne (Promote)
  • “What is learning transfer and why it’s critical to get results from training” with Jason Durkee (Idea Development) and Ian Townley (Next Practices)
  • “The art of the stakeholder dialogue – steering left and right” with Edward Boon and Robert Brinkerhoff (Promote)
  • “Transform your training company with Promote” with Jon Serrander and Mikael Borak (Promote)
  • “Good program design – program template give-away” with Edward Boon (Promote)
  • “Connecting to Stakeholder: Gaining Essential Support for Strategically Important Training Programs” with Anne Apking (Author and Performance Technologist)

The venue for this years PNS2018 was Fotografiska, a museum in Stockholm focusing on photography. The Fotografiska restaurants have won all kinds of prices for their good food, so the expectations were sky-high. A highlight on Wednesday afternoon was a guided tour of the museum for the ones who weren’t interested in watching the Sweden – Mexico world cup-game.

On Wednesday evening we had the annual “Promote Network Awards” with Jon Serrander and Robert Brinkerhoff on stage giving out the awards.

This year’s winners were (amongst others):

  • People&Performance got the “Program of the year” award for their Nobia Excellent Executive Programme
  • Vattenfall got the “Trainee program of the year” award for their International Trainee Programme 2017
  • MDI got the “Leadership program of the year” award for their Agile Leadership programme
  • Willys got the “Induction program of the year” award for their Induction for new employees at Willys programme
  • Huthwaite got the “Sales program of the year” award for their SPIN® selling for ITN programme
  • Informator got the “Pilot of the year” award for their Developer Accelerate Program for Ericsson
  • Getinge got the “Excellence Award” for their Sales Management Development program


Day 2 continued with a mix between breakout sessions and keynotes. The last session was a panel discussion with Jon Serrander, Anne Apking, Ina Weinbauer-Heidel, Robin Hoyle and Robert Brinkerhoff. Great discussions and valuable insights!

The great final was, except the group photo, the dinner cruise with dinner, drinks and dancing on Thursday evening.

Thank you all for a lovely Promote Network Summit 2018!

Be sure to keep in touch with us on Linkedin and Twitter to get all the news.
You will find all the PNS2018 related pictures and posts searching for #pns2018

See the video from PNS2018