Use It or Lose It? Predicting Learning Transfer of Relationship and Marriage Education Among Child Welfare Professionals

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Objective: Following a training in relationship and marriage education (RME), examine whether applying information at 2 months is associated with application at 6 months and how participants’ confidence, utility, and self-efficacy is associated with learning transfer and application at 2 months post-training.
    Background: Child welfare professionals are required to receive numerous trainings each year with the expectation of understanding, retaining, and transferring this learning into practice.
    Method: With a sample of 324 child welfare professionals across 5 states who completed a 1-day training in RME, we used structural equation modeling with participant self-efficacy, utility, and confidence as predictors of application of RME concepts at 2 months post-training. We also assessed how application of RME concepts at 2 months predicted self-efficacy, confidence, and application at 6 months.
    Results: Only the combined effect of both higher self-efficacy and higher utility was related to applying concepts at 2 months. Those who apply the concepts at 2 months are more likely both to report higher confidence at 6 months and to apply the concepts at 6 months.
    Conclusions: Evaluations of trainings should move beyond measurement of immediate learning outcomes to better understanding how to motivate immediate learning transfer.
    Implications: If participants do not feel like they have actually learned new skills and, more importantly, do not implement the skills with individuals or clients soon after a training, they will be much less likely to use them in the future. A combination of learning concrete principles and skills with confidence they can implement the materials may result in future implementation.

  • Date created
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International