Training Development Written Project Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 08:25:15
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This written project will discuss the process involved in the design of training, learning, and evaluation. I will begin by breaking down the need assessment covering the process, analysis, and various methods. I will also cover the process of learning and discuss two theories which will support specific processes of learning. The process will include how age influences learning and retention of knowledge. Finally, I will cover the importance of evaluation of training, the process of choosing an evaluation design, and the value placed on training evaluation by an employee.

The content of this paper will be based on information covered in Raymond A. Noes (2010) text book Employee Training and Development (5th edition). The process described will use other sources to support Noes finding as it pertains to the written project content. Needs Assessment An effective training design begins with a needs assessment. A needs assessment allows the gathering of information which better prepares the modeling of training. The needs assessment provides an analysis of organization, people, and tasks.

Each has a distinct influence on the depth of training developed and methods best suited for the organization. The needs assessment allows the trainer to address whether the requirement for training is based on performance, motivation, job design or communication. The defining of training requirements ensures the validity of content developed, course objectives, and training method. The assessment also allows a trainer to determine if the trainee has the basic skills and confidence to learn. Finally, an assessment will determine if the training meets the corporate strategy and expected outcome.

According to Noe (2010), pressure points influence training design, These pressure points include performance problems, new technology, internal or external customer requests for training, job redesign, new legislation, changes in customer preferences, new products, or employee lack of basic skills. (pg. 104) Who should participate in the needs assessment? The text suggests that upper & mid-level managers, trainers, and employees should participate in the assessment. Upper-level management iews the assessment from a corporate level.

They will determine if training meets the corporate strategy. The mid-level management will determine budget, who should be trained, and what jobs will make the largest impact on production. The trainer will determine training delivery, identification of trainees, and basic skills, knowledge and characteristic required. Noe goes on to state that it is important to include job incumbents in the assessment process. These are individuals who perform the task and tend to be the most knowledgeable. (Noe, 2010, pg. 05-106) In an article, written by J. L. Utecht (2005), she states that a needs analysis should reach at least ten percent of the work force.

Those participants should be the work staff performing the job, front-line supervisors, upper-level management, and union members and representatives when applicable. She goes on to state that the group should range in age, ethnicities, job types, shifts, and seniority. These statements support and expand on Noes idea of assessment participants. (Uteht, 2005) Lets begin by breaking down the analysis process.

Organizational Analysis The Organizational analysis will identify the corporate strategy for training, the support of management and employees, and the availability of internal resources to adopt and train its staff. The first key component of any assessment is to define a budget. Training must present a value which is backed by capital expenditure. This simple question of budgeted resource allows the person conducting the assessment necessary ground work for the amount of time and resource which may be dedicated to training.

The second component of an organization analysis is to understand the business strategy behind training. Training increases the value, or skill currency, of its employees. Strategies can consist of a concentration in increased market share and cost reduction, internal growth through research and development, external growth of market share through vendors and suppliers, or disinvestment of corporate divisions. These strategies will assist in the development of training and how that skill and knowledge will be deployed. Once a budget and strategy have been defined the next step is support.

While an overall corporate support is required for any successful training endeavor, upper and mid-level management is paramount since they approve allocations of funds. Support should include a positive attitude from management and peers to incite enthusiasm among the targeted trainees. There must be a perceived value to the knowledge which the training supports. Information must be provided on how the training will enhance productivity and success in the trainees given job. The next step is identifying resources and whether the company has the budget, time and expertise for training.

Support of training can be readily established if upper management sees the economic value of training output and cost justification. A crucial step of defining a training model is determining the most cost effective approach. If training is an ongoing organizational vision there may be a better return on investment if training is internalized. If it is determined that training is better served by a third party, then a request for proposal will be required. This outlines the requirements of training which include the type of training, the number of trainees, funding, date of completion, evaluation, and follow-up training.

The criteria standards will allow for the evaluation, elimination, and awarding of the most competent vendor. (Noe, 2010, pg. 110 113) The impact of the organization analysis is what defines the budget, strategy, and support. These factors are the foundation of a needs assessment and should be the first thing analyzed. Person Analysis In this analysis we identify for whom and why training is required. The person analysis requires that we understand the task the individual performs. This foundation allows us to determine the employee readiness for training.

We must determine the personal characteristics required for learning and applying training context. The personal characteristics consist of individual cognitive ability and reading level. Context must be relevant to the persons learning ability. The individual must also believe in their ability to learn. If training is to be successful the context must provide a need, interest, or meet the goal of the trainee. This simple understanding of who the training is directed will motivate individual behavior and the desire to learn. So now that we have discerned the characteristics required for training, we must create a learning environment.

A well-conceived training curriculum can be lost if the environment does not afford a focus to learn. Many times individuals are pulled from training tasks to perform job duties. This is both counterproductive and erodes the financial benefits expended on the training. Successful training requires concise and understandable input. Input can be instructions, job-related objectives, training materials and other work aids which support the training program. Input also consists of reinforcement through verbal and written feedback. Encouraging trainee involvement, practice, and feedback are elements to a successful learning experience.

A positive training experience is the best endorsement. Those trained will share their experience with their peers and create enthusiasm and interest. For training to be effective an assessment must identify the required output. What is the performance expectation of the trainee and are they aware of those expectations? If a trainee knows the required outcome expected of them, they are more apt to learn. The knowledge and skill achieved can be gauged by task proficiency through performance and knowledge proficiency through the form of testing. Individuals must have the willingness to learn.

Clear and positive expectations of training must be delivered. To reinforce this behavior there must be reward and incentive for applying this knowledge and skill in ones job. The responsibility of knowledge transfer should be fostered by the corporate entity. As we have discussed this should include, but not limited to, positive management and peer support, time given to learning, and a consequence through reward for successful completion of training curriculum. (Noe, 2010, pg. 113 123) Task Analysis This is the most important aspect of developing an effective training course.

We must first define the job or task for analysis. To provide a complete assessment we must understand the tasks of the position itself. We can achieve this through interviews and observation of those performing the said task. These can validate the knowledge, ability, and skill requirements needed to perform a task effectively. We may also validate our assessment by involving subject matter experts. To complete the task assessment it must meet the companys goals and objectives. Another step of task analysis is the incorporation of a competency evaluation.

This allows the determination of the skills and abilities which the trainee will require in their job function. I will discuss evaluation in more detail later in the written project. Training can then be modeled to focus on the deficiencies of an individuals knowledge which lends to the training strategy. Since employee skills are not equal, we must determine the skill set of each and provide training accordingly. This leads us back to the readiness for training and will allow a curriculum to advance the knowledge and skills of all participants.

The task assessment is not only a tool for our training model but is also an invaluable tool for coaching and development of the employee. Managers are often overwhelmed with the minutiae of administrative tasks which impede their core responsibility of developing employees. The text refers to creating a road map for identifying opportunities for growth and development. This transcends the task of modeling training and provides an additional value to a company if recognized and applied. (Noe, 2010, pg. 123 127) Methods Used in Needs Assessment There are various methods related to a needs assessment.

Because no one method is better than the next it is common to use more than one. Here is a list of methods which show the advantages and disadvantages of each. The observation method allows for real data and minimizes work interruption. Unfortunately, it requires the observer to be skilled in the task which they are observing. It is also likely that those being observed will not behave as they would in a normal setting. The questionnaire method is inexpensive, provides a larger data group, and can easily be summarized. The disadvantage is there are usually low return rates.

The questions usually lack detail and only provide data specific to the question. Interviews are effective in uncovering detail that questionnaires lack. The interview process may sometimes uncover details which were not known prior, allowing for modification. The disadvantage is that it requires skilled interviewers, scheduling, time for the interview, and may be threatening to Subject Matter Experts. A focus group can be useful in complex or controversial issues. These groups are usually made up of Subject Matter Experts from the various levels targeted for training.

This group interaction allows for modifications by uncovering issues which may be difficult to glean from observations or questionnaires. The disadvantage is the group often gives answers they think you want to hear. Often there is trepidation for lower level employees to voice concerns when management is present. This can contaminate the analysis process by ignoring the needs of the employees performing the task. Technical training materials can also provide a wealth of information in relation to a task. Unfortunately, the information is only as good as its source.

Often the information is outdate or difficult to understand. Finally, online technology can be used to define the strengths and weaknesses of an employee. Unfortunately, these are often viewed as threatening and may be perceived as a way to surplus their position. The other threat is that managers may use the content for punitive measures rather than an opportunity for coaching and development. The use of multiple methods allows data to be validated against another. The method used will often depend on the environment which is being analyzed.

It becomes the task of the individual performing the assessment to utilize those methods which provide the most relevant data to the task performed. Often a method of benchmarking is used to define the training practices of a competitor. The emphasis on Total Quality Management may require this practice to determine type, level, and frequency of training. Benchmarking coupled with methods discussed above should provide valuable data and aid in the development of a training model which best fits the business strategy of the organization. (Noe, 2010 pg. 07 109) The overall benefit of the needs assessment is the process and steps defined above. Each step is important to maximizing the return of investment of training. The importance of the process is that it provides a basis for the assessment to cover the various aspects of organization, person, and task. The methods of interviews, observation, questioners, focus groups, documentation, and online technologies are vehicles to determine an effective format with which to train. Without a needs assessment an organization would be ill equipped to determine whether training is necessary.

An assessment also eliminates the unknown and identifies who, why, and when training is appropriate. Again, this is an investment in human capital and should be treated as any other company investment. Learning Process Now that we have covered the value of a needs assessment lets review the learning process. What is learning? The text defines learning as a change in human capabilities which are not a result of the growth process. (Noe, 2010, pg. 140) In chapter two Noe (2010) also refers to learning as the acquisition of knowledge. He defines knowledge into two groups, tacit or xplicit. Tacit knowledge is based on personal experiences which are passed through interaction with others in a society. Explicit knowledge is knowledge which is formalized, codified and communicated in a learning environment. (Noe, 2010, pg. 50 51) What is learned? The book refers to five types of learning outcomes which I have listed below. Verbal information consists of names, labels, facts, or bodies of knowledge which are retained. Intellectual skills are concepts and rules which are critical to problem solving, service, and product creation.

Motor Skills include the coordination or physical conditioning required for a given task. Attitudes are the combination of beliefs and feelings. Attitude is crucial to the way a person will react in job related settings, their organizational commitment, and job satisfaction and proficiency. Cognitive strategies are related how a person manages their own learning and thinking process. These process elements include attention to information, strategies of learning, and problem solving. (Noe, 2010, pg. 141) Lets review how people, or trainees, learn. In chapter four Noe (2010) discusses the learning cycle.

This dynamic cycle involves four stages of learning: concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experiment. The first process of learning is exposure to a work problem (concrete experience). The next step is analyzing the problem and it affects (reflective observation). Next, the person, or trainee, will devise a way in which to deal with the problem at hand (abstract conceptualization). Finally, a trainee will apply their solution directly to the problem (active experiment). The act of applying the solution allows for positive or negative feedback.

The person, or trainee, then improves and applies this learned result over again. Each action should result in development, growth, and improvement in the four stages. Those results are usually shared and possibly adopted by peers and management. (Noe, 2010, 151) David C. McClelland (2003) has proposed that motivation is closely associated to the learning concepts. He contends that when a need is strong, its effect is motivation. That motivation leads the person to use behavior that leads to its satisfaction. Based on research results McClelland developed a description set of factors which reflect the need for achievement.

They consist of a motivation to take responsibility for solving problems, set moderate goals, take calculated risks, and a desire for feedback on performance. Since the need is to learn through experience, positive feedback on achievements leads to high frequency of reoccurrence. McClellands Learned Needs Theory supports the desire to solve problems and defines the importance of positive feedback. (McClelland, 2003) This leads me into the theory portion of my written document. Here I will compare and contrast to theories which are defined in the text.

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