The Line Manager Effect - Transfer of learning and eLearning to the workplace


There is nothing new, in my experience, to leveraging the benefits of learning technology.



Let us not forget that a core function for line managers is as implementers of HR policies, no question. But the real significance of their influence on learning and resultant positive performance is often underplayed. As budgets and competition between departments play an ever more significant part in strategic decision making, what focus is there on developing a line managers' digital learning and the potential benefits that this brings?

  • What is a line manager really for - are they as relevant in the modern digital learning environment?

  • Do they really affect knowledge transfer to the workplace, employee engagement and performance and how do we even know?

  • We have the internet of things to help now and Google is the most used reference for answering queries at work so surely it's the knowledge transporter of choice?


So, as our learning agendas become more informed and strategic, how do we know that the intended new skills and learning are being applied. Firstly, in developing the learner and secondly, being transferred to the workplace - some considerations:

  • Only 17% of learners in a Fortune 100 (1) study put their new knowledge into practice - where did the other 83% put theirs?

  • A failure to achieve the intended objective creates a barrier to performance improvement, leading to significant implications for expensive, resource-intensive training (2) - then remove the barrier!

  • Often the hidden costs of this (3) can be compounded by a lack of sufficient data and resource to fully understand whether the intended transfer of knowledge has even happened - then analyse the data to see the real cost!

  • In the transfer of learning, the role of the line manager is significant, especially when linked to the review of learning (4) - so consider the opportunity!

  • 68% of what was useful in the follow up of a course was attributed to the line manager (5), whereas HR and training departments accounted for 22% - focus resources on the development of this group.


The performance outputs of learning in organisations can succeed or fail depending on line manager capability and engagement. Those with a digital learning capability will be significantly more prepared and able to improve on 68% - now there's something that should be talked about, because it really is exciting.


How much do you value developing your line manager contribution through digital learning?

We certainly do - get in touch if you'd like to know more.


Sources:  (1) Brinkerhoff (2006) (2) Saks and Burke (2012) (3) Cascio (1991) (4) CIPD (2011) (5) CIPD (2008)