In simple terms, training can be defined as the process in organizations which brings employees to decided and acceptable standards of skill and talent through teaching them and also making them learn through credible guidance. The training process essentially helps employs to perform their duties and tasks better by gaining the necessary skills, knowledge and attitude. The training process also enhances the employees’ understanding and gives them a model scope to explore and analyze their current knowledge skills and abilities. Training is essentially a participative process and this participation essentially takes place between the trainee and the trainer. The trainer is usually an expert who imparts knowledge upon the trainee. It is crucial that both the trainee and the trainee play actively in the training process for it to be effective and successful. Therefore form the above discussion; it is clear that training is essentially the means to: communicate information, impart knowledge and to asset in learning (Blanchard and Thacker, 2010).
Training plays an integral part in growth and development of a business as well as its overall transformation. Therefore, it is very crucial that every organization designs and manages its training programs in very efficient and effective manner. In addition, it must use its resources efficiently (Blanchard and Thacker, 2010). Most organizations adopt a five phase systematic trained model that essentially acts as a problem solving. The five phases are:
The Needs Analysis Phase
This basically refers to a comprehensive analysis of training needs. Trainers together with the organization’s management and other stakeholders form a committee or a team to work out the objectives and goals of the training program. A training needs assessment is then conducted and is then justified so that as to enable a decision on the program’s level of investment. Training needs usually incur ernomous investments and it is therefore important that the needs analysis phase is conducted effectively. In this phase, the most important aspect is identifying problems within the current level of skills, knowledge and abilities in the organization.
This is a systematic and specific process that involves specifying the learning objectives, the assessment instruments, content, exercises, subject matter media selection and lesson planning. By systematic, it means that the process should be orderly and logical that should involve the correct identifying, developing and assessing the planned strategies for achieving the desired goals. By specific, it means that every instructional design element should be executed with deep attention to every detail. In this step, prototypes and detailed storyboards are made and the feel and look, content and graphic design is determined here (Rainbird, 2000).
This is the step where actual production or creation of the learning materials and content based on the previous design phase (Jerling, 1996).
In this step, the training plan is put into action. A procedure to be used for training the employees is developed. The training materials are distributed or delivered to the trainees. After this delivery, the training materials effectiveness is evaluated.
This consists of two parts, summative and formative training. Formative evaluation is usually present in every single stage of this model training process. On the other hand, summative evaluation usually consists of some tests designed for the criterion related items as well as well as for providing an opportunity for feedback from trainees.
Formalization- This refers to the extent to which job activities are defined or controlled by rules. The larger the number of rules about how work is supposed to be done and how the organizations decisions are to be made, the more the formal the organization is or the more it is formalized. The degree of formalization in an organization directly related to the level of discretion to the employees in terms of job performance. Organizations that are highly formalized have job descriptions that are standardized and that therefore result in uniform and consistent output. In general terms, the narrower the required set of skills for a specific job, the higher the level of formalization of that particular job (Blanchard and Thacker, 2010).
Centralization- This essentially refers to the location in the organization where crucial decisions are usually made. This definition is in reference to formal authority exclusively. In vertical centralization, decisions are usually made from the top most management. In horizontal centralization, the workers or employees in the various organizations units usually have permission to make decisions without making direct reference to the top most authority (Blanchard and Thacker, 2010).
Complexity- this refers to the mount of spatial, horizontal and vertical differentiation in an organization. Spatial differentiation essentially measures the various geographical distances between production plants, offices and personnel. If the separation of these parts is large, the organization is considered to be more complex in terms of its operations. Vertical differentiation refers to the hierarchy structure and the taller it is, the more difficult the coordination and communication of organizational decision making. Horizontal differentiation makes reference to the level of duties and tasks differences as well as differences in training and education of employees in a given unit. The larger the differences, the more horizontally complex the organization is.
The Social Learning Theory is a psychological theory brought forward by renowned psychologists Albert Bandura and that suggest that human social behaviour (the behaviour displayed socially by humans) is primarily learnt by imitating and observing other’s actions. In addition, according to this social learning theory, social behaviour is also significantly influenced by being punished or rewarded for such actions (Blanchard and Thacker, 2010). For instance, if a child observes his elder brother bringing home a good academic report card and is consequently rewarded for it, the child can deduce that bringing home a god report card may result in him also and he therefore works hard to bring home a good report card. Apart form observation, the other instrumental aspect of this theory is that internal mental states which the theory deems as also important for learning. Bandura in his research on the social learning theory found that intrinsic reinforcement was also responsible for learning. Intrinsic reinforcement is a kind of an internal reward, for instance, satisfaction, pride, and self accomplishment. It is in fact this emphasis on cognitions and internal thoughts that helps to connect the learning theories to the cognitive development theories. However, according to the social learning theory, learning may not necessary result in behavioral change (Jerling, 1996).
Behavioral learning occurs when behavioral changes become evident. This type of learning is as a result of conditioning. In behavioral learning, experience with the environment results in a relatively permanent behavioral change or behaviour change potential in an individual. Once behaviour has changes, it requires constant reinforcement for it to be reinforced. Rewarding the new acquired behaviour is one way of reinforcing behaviour. This type of learning consequently has implications on the training process. Training is supposed to result in behavioral change and the best way to do this is for the trainers to exhibit the desired behaviour so that employees can consequently learn from it. In addition, once employees have been trained and they start exhibited new desired behaviour, they should be constantly reinforced by being rewarded (Blanchard and Thacker, 2010)
Cognitive learning is quite different from behavioral learning because it does simply relate to behaviour change. Cognitive learning can be defined as the acquisition of skill and knowledge by cognitive and mental processes. In this type of learning, an individual learns via listening, touching, reading, watching and experiencing and then remembering and processing information. The implication of this in training is that if utilized, it enables employs to establish long term learning outcomes (Rainbird, 2000). This is because, for instance, when employees are exposed to a certain learning process, they are able to retain the information in their minds which they can letter process and exhibit in their various duties and functions in the work place.
Criterion Deficiency- Criterion deficiency is an aspect in job performance appraisals or assessments that basically fail to asses or evaluate one or several portions of the criterion domain and is taken as part of the conceptual criterion (Blanchard and Thacker, 2010). For instance, criterion deficiency exist if one component of a secretary’s job is to process word documents but there is no criterion measured that evaluates competency in performing this particular task of word processing. Alternatively, criterion deficiency can be defined as the extent to which some performance standards do not fully describe the entire range of a worker’s responsibilities.
Criterion contamination - is basically exhibited when non performance factors have an influence on the job performance scores that are assigned to the employees or workers (Blanchard and Thacker, 2010). The non-performance factors can essentially occur in several forms such as systematic bias, for instance leniency effects or can also occur randomly, for example as measurement errors. Criterion contamination is particularly very serious when some construct irrelevant factors are correlated with predictors. Since criterion contamination essentially lowers the construct validity, it is inversely related to criterion relevance such that an increase in one results in a decrease in the other (Rainbird, 2000).
In light of this, organizations should make sure that both of these virtues are completely avoided.
Proactive Approach- the proactive approach to training needs analysis mainly focuses on foreseeing performance problems that are likely to occur in an organization as well as future human resources requirements (Blanchard and Thacker, 2010). The Proactive TNA is usually strategic and is carefully planned. The strategic plan is created and then applied to assist employees to handle the desired stages. In simple terms, the proactive approach to TNA is used to deliver new processes or techniques to the employees as well as strengthening the existing expectations. A manager overseeing the proactive TNA approach conducts three types of analysis
Organization analysis: this is the first step which involves planning to help an organization adapt the new objectives and expected changes.
Operation analysis: involves collective information and data on both current and future tasks so as to identify the things required for effective performances across various organization areas.
Person analysis: evaluation may be identical for reactive and proactive and in addition, the information provided must actually be applicable.
Reactive approach- This approach mainly focuses on identifying current deficiencies in job performance and then determining if there is need for training (Blanchard and Thacker, 2010). Common examples include of problems include high turnover rates, new technology, high rates of accidents, customer complaints and poor management. The three types of analysis conducted on proactive analysis are also conducted here; however the reactive TNA focuses on a single department or an issue on a specific job part.
If I could attend a training program designed around one of the learning style preferences in the Felder-Silverman model, the learning style preference that I would choose would be the sensing/ intuitive learning style. This is because I am personally an individual with particular orientation to the sensing learning style. By definition, sensing involves observing as well as gathering data through senses. I am not a fan of intuitive learning. Intuitive learning usually involves a lot of theories and principles and in addition, people who belong to this category are usually not concerned with details and they also tend to complete tasks quickly leading to a lot of carelessness. Sensors like me like dealing with raw facts, data, problem solving and experimentation. Surprises are hugely disliked. Sensory learning involves patience with details, but complications are however hugely disliked (Blanchard and Thacker, 2010). Another reason why I would prefer this learning and teaching style is because I am personally very good when it comes to memorizing facts which one of the required aspects in this style of learning. Additionally, I am usually very careful in completing my work. In light of all these factors, I think that this sensing/intuitive learning style would be the most suitable learning style for me.
Every organization should strive to ensure that what employees learn during the training intervention process is fully transferred or applied to actual job performance. This is because the organization objectives will only be achieved when the employees transfer their learned skills. Research has proven that there a significant improvement in learning transfer when there is the right kind of support in a workplace. Two kinds of support are particularly very important. These are peer support and supervisor support. Supervisor support refers to the degree to which supervisors and managers promote and reinforce the use of the newly acquired skills on tasks and jobs (Blanchard and Thacker, 2010). The training transfer process is usually facilitated when the trainees get the perception that supervisors are actually supportive in such a manner. However, the supervisors should not be coercive since this may rub wrongly with the trainees. Peer support on the other hand is usually the support from colleagues or peers. This kind of support is actually more important to the training transfer process than supervisor support. This is because employs are likely to be more motivated to apply the things they have learnt if they are encouraged by their peers or if they see them applying them (Rainbird, 2000).
Interactive multimedia generally refers to computer systems that allow for an integrated access to a wide data range via stimulation of human senses by the use of digital technologies. In simple terms, it refers to products or services on computer digital systems that respond to user’ actions by availing content such as graphics, text, video, animation and so on. The most important and distinguishing aspect of interactive media is that it exhibits mutuality. This means that both the machine and user play an active role (Jerling, 1996).
Virtual reality on the other hand refers to computer systems that combine computer generated material and real word experiences to allow for a representation of a simulated world. Users usually interact with the visual environment by using standard input devices such as the mouse or the keyboard or via multimodal devices like wired gloves. The simulated virtual environment is significantly similar to the real world, for example simulations for combat training or quite different from the real world like in VR games.
In modern days, virtual reality has not become very popular because of several reasons. These include; lack of improvement in the technology, cyber sicknesses as a result of the constant motion involved in this technology, lack of professional applications and standards and finally the high prices that are usually associated with this type of technology (Jerling, 1996).
Several factors should be considered before selecting an appropriate IM training program. It is crucial that all these factors are comprehensively analyzed because if not properly analyzed, this may lead to the selection an IM training program that will not achieve the desired training objectives and needs of the organization. Being a very essential part of career development, the training program should be of the highest efficiency. The factors that should be considered are sociological, psychological, physical, educational and economical. Sociological means that the social circles and interactions of the trainees should be evaluated.
Psychological factors may refer to aspects such mental state and cognition. Each potential trainee should be evaluated of the two factors to determine the IM training program that suits them. The physical nature and well being of the employees is another crucial aspect of the employees that should e taken into consideration. Education wise, the IM program selected should be one that matches the education levels of the trainees. Finally, the IM training program should be one that is at par with organization economic status, that is should not be beyond the organization’s financial capability (Jerling, 1996). Careful analysis of these factors will result in the selection of an effective IM training program.
Listening is one of the most crucial skills that everyone should desire to have. How well one listens has an immense impact on job effectiveness as well as the quality of one’s interactions and relationships with others. One type of listening that can have great and advantageous outcomes in an organizational setting is active listening. In active listening, the listener makes the conscious effort of not only hearing the words being uttered by another person, but also trying to comprehend the complete message that the speaker is trying to send (Jerling, 1996). To achieve active listening, one must pay very close attention to the speaker very carefully.
One should allow himself or herself to be distracted by the surroundings or the on goings of the immediate environment or even by forming counter arguments to the speaker. Active listening also means fighting boredom and loss of focus. Active listening is important because it allows one to able to hear, synthesis and retain the correct message or point that the other person is passing and as a result, a better working relationship can be established with that person. This is because active listening allows one he speaker’s real feelings, ideas and concerns (Blanchard and Thacker, 2010).
In simple terms, transfer of training refers to the degree or extent to which trainees apply the skills, knowledge and attitudes which they have gained from the training intervention to the actual job. In many instances, organizations usually spend a lot of money training employees but this does not always translate to behaviour change in employee’s job performance. In this scenario, training essentially becomes irrelevant. The basic objectives of training are to provide abilities, skills, knowledge and attitude to the employees that will enable the organization to achieve its objectives. In spite of the organization’s willingness to train its employees, its objectives are not met due to the fact that the things learnt are not assimilated into the actual job. There are two major factors that impact the transfer of training.
One of these factors is the quality of training that the employee receives and whether the new job assigned to the employee actually utilizes the set of skills acquired by the employee in the training process (Blanchard and Thacker, 2010). For the transfer process to be efficient, it must have the support of two major stakeholders. These are supervisors/ managers (supervisor support) and peers/ colleagues (peer support). The presence of this support hugely facilitates a credible transfer of training.
There are four major types of evaluation outcomes. These are: Reaction- In this level of evaluation, the goal is usually to measure the reaction of the participants to the training program. The reactions are usually measured immediately after the end of the training program. This evaluation should not just involve trainee’s reaction to the overall training program but should also measure the trainee’s attitudes and reaction to specific program components like topics, presentation styles and so on (Blanchard and Thacker, 2010).
Learning- The goal of this level of evaluation is to measure what the trainee’s leant from the training program. Since, the trainer usually has a set of learning objectives, it is expected that at the end of the program, these learning objectives would have been met and the learning outcomes would be conspicuous.
Behaviour- This type of evaluation outcome relates to finding out if the trainees change their behaviour on the actual job as a result of them having participated in the training program. If behaviour did not change, the evaluation may involve why this is so (Blanchard and Thacker, 2010).
Results- This involves finding out if the entire training program led to the achievement of results that essentially contribute to the success of the business. This may for instance be related to business profits, that is whether the training program resulted in increased profits for the business.
There are three types of knowledge that can be evaluated during training.
Logical Knowledge- this is the knowledge that results from understanding the relationships that exists between ideas and drawing deductions from them. This is one of the types of knowledge that is passed on to employees. This type of knowledge can be evaluated by assigning employees new tasks that are related to the ones that they were previously accustomed to and observing whether they will be able to deduce how to perform these tasks from what they have leant from the training process (Rainbird, 2000).
Empirical knowledge- This is knowledge that mainly comes from the senses. It is knowledge that has been researched on and proven. In training this is knowledge passed on to employees about various job performance and organization theories that have been proven to work well for organizations. This knowledge can be measured by observing the level of application of new ways of performing jobs that he employee’s utilize after the training exercise.
Semantic knowledge- This is the most basic type of knowledge and generally involves learning of the meaning of various concepts and phrases. This knowledge can be measured but physical evaluative test after the training exercise (Rainbird, 2000).
The techniques of management are evolving continually and consequently many organizations are enacting radical changes and restructuring so as to meet the changing internal and external environments and improve overall organization performance. This has led to the realization that management development is also an adequate aspect of management. There are three major reasons why management development is an important focus (Rainbird, 2000).
The first importance is that there is a strong relationship between business performance and management practice. A strong management translates to better business performance, and therefore, management development should take place so as to increase business performance.
Secondly, management development enables an organization to have its own pool of potential mangers who can take over the business in future. Wherever management vacancies occur, an organization can simply select one of their own who has previously been in management development and promote him/her.
Thirdly management development is a critical element of federal government strategy to wholly uplift global human capital and economic agenda. More developed managers in the world will create a path for the prosperity of global economy.
Technical knowledge and skills comprises the capabilities and knowledge to perform certain specialized tasks that are related to a specific work file. Examples of such fields may include engineering, accounting, computers, manufacturing and so on. Technical knowledge and skills find more importance at the lower levels of management since the mangers at these levels deal directly with employees who are doing the actual organization work. Possession of technical skills and knowledge allow an employee to perform a particular job effectively because he understands essentially what the job comprises and also how the job should be performed to acquire satisfactory results that are at par with company objectives (Blanchard and Thacker, 2010).
Interpersonal knowledge and skills refer to the abilities and knowledge possessed by an individual that enables him or her to have positive interactions with his/her colleagues and therefore effectively work with them. The development of interpersonal skills and the acquirement of such knowledge is one of the training and development key goals and objectives in many organizations and is also considered to be a constructive method of handling the various office disputes that may rise in organizations (Jerling, 1996). Interpersonal skills are observable in a variety of areas inside an organization such as leadership, communication, task delegation and listening.
Blanchard, P. N., & Thacker, J. W. (2010). Effective training: Systems, strategies and practices (Custom 4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Jerling, K. (1996). Education, Training, and Development in Organization. Pretoria: Kagiso.
Rainbird, H. (2000). Training in the Workplace: Critical Perspectives in Learning at Work. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Macmillan.