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One of the most common instruction-strategies for training complex skills is part-training. In this paper a model is developed for the optimisation of schedules for part-training, the ‘optimal transfer model’. This model is based on individual learning, but may be generalised to groups of trainees. It is based on the idea that if there is functional skill transfer from part-training to whole-task performance, then there must be a training schedule that yields optimal results. In this context, an optimal training schedule is one in which part-training lasts as long as is necessary to ensure the best possible performance with the whole-task at the end of the training. To prove that an optimal training schedule does in fact exist, an experiment was conducted in which different groups of trainees received sixteen hours of training under different part-training regimes to learn a complex vehicle control task. The individual learning curves of all trainees were measured. Application of the optimal transfer model to the learning curves allowed determining the optimal part-task schedule. Applications of the model to practical training situations are discussed.