Training and development

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Training and development involves improving the effectiveness of organizations and the individuals and teams within them.[1] Training may be viewed as related to immediate changes in organizational effectiveness via organized instruction, while development is related to the progress of longer-term organizational and employee goals. While training and development technically have differing definitions, the two are oftentimes used interchangeably and/or together. Training and development has historically been a topic within applied psychology but has within the last two decades become closely associated with human resources management, talent management, human resources development, instructional design, human factors, and knowledge management.[1]

History[edit]

The first training-related article was published in 1918 in the Journal of Applied Psychology. This article explored an undergraduate curriculum designed for applied psychologists.[2] World War II influenced the focus of applied psychology research to be on effectiveness of training programs, particularly in military contexts. By the 1960s and 70s, the field began developing theories and conducting theory-based research because up until that point, the field had been rooted in trial-and-error intervention research.[2] This era also brought along the development of new training methods such as the use of computers, television, case studies, and role playing.[2][3] The scope of training and development also expanded to include cross-cultural training, focus on the development of the individual employee, and the use of new organization development literature to frame training programs.[3] The 1980s marked a shift to focus on how employees were receiving and implementing training programs, and encouraged the collection of data for evaluation purposes, particularly management training programs.[4] The development piece of training and development became increasingly popular in the 1980s and 90s, with employees more frequently being influenced by the concept of "lifelong learning".[5] It was in this decade that research revealing the impact and importance of fostering a training and development-positive culture (including management and co-worker) was first conducted.[5] The turn of the century brought more research in topics such as team-training, for example cross-training.[6] Cross-training emphasizes training in coworkers' responsibilities.[6]

Practice[edit]

Training and development encompasses three main activities: training, education, and development.[7][8][9]

The "stakeholders" in training and development are categorized into several classes. The sponsors of training and development are senior managers. The clients of training and development are business planners. Line managers are responsible for coaching, resources, and performance. The participants are those who actually undergo the processes. The facilitators are Human Resource Management staff. And the providers are specialists in the field. Each of these groups has its own agenda and motivations, which sometimes conflict with the agendas and motivations of the others.[10]

Especially in the last couple decades, training has become more trainee-focused, which allows those being trained more flexibility and active learning opportunities.[11] For example, these active learning techniques include exploratory/discovery learning,[12] error management training,[13] guided exploration,[14] and mastery training.[11] Typical projects in the field include executive and supervisory/management development, new-employee orientation, professional-skills training, technical/job training, customer-service training, sales-and-marketing training, and health-and-safety training. Training is particularly critical in high-reliability organizations, which rely on high safety standards in order to prevent catastrophic damage to employees, equipment, or the environment (e.g. nuclear power plants, operating rooms).[15]

There are many different training methods that exist today, including both on and off-the-job methods. On-the-job training methods happen within the organization where employees learn by working alongside co-workers in ways such as coaching, mentorship, apprenticeship, job rotation, job instructional technique (JIT), or by being an understudy.[16] To contrast, off-the-job training methods happen outside the organization where employees attend things such as lectures, seminars, and conferences or they take part in simulation exercises like case studies and role-playing.[16] It could also include vestibule, sensitivity or transactional training activities.[16]

Seminar Training Method

Principles Of Training and Development[edit]

When a company puts its employees through training programs, it must ensure that they are efficient and relevant to the employees' tasks in the organization as it is estimated that only 20-30% of training given to employees are used in the month later.[17] To help mitigate this issue, some general principles should be followed to increase employees desire to take part in the program. These include:

  • Self efficacy: These means to increase the learners belief that they can fully comprehend the teachings.[17]
  • Attitude: An uncooperative attitude towards learning could hinder the individual’s capability to grasp the knowledge being provided.[17]
  • Competence: This is the skill an individual develops that enables them to make good decisions in an efficient manner. [17]
  • External motivators: These are the behaviours individuals present when a reward or extrinsic goal is given to them.[17]


Motivation is an internal process that leads to an employee’s behaviour and willingness to achieve organizational goals.[18] Creating a motivational environment within an organization can help ensure employees achieve their highest level of productivity.[17] Motivation can create an engaged workforce that enhances individual and organizational performance. [19] The model for motivation is represented at the most basic level by motivators separated into two different categories:

  • Intrinsic factors: These represent the internal factors to an individual, such as the difficulty of the work, achievement recognition, responsibility, opportunity for meaningful work, involvement in decision making, and importance within the organization.[19]
  • Extrinsic factors: These are external factors to the individual, such as job security, salary, benefits, work conditions, and vacations.[19]
Training and Development Conference

Both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators link to employee performance in the workplace. A company’s techniques to motivate employees are continually changing and evolving. Finding out what motivates employees can help businesses determine why people work specific ways and perform at varying levels.[19]


There are many basic training and development principles in Human Resource Management. For instance, performance feedback is important as managers can use it to identify the employee's lack of skills in areas of the job and their approach to improving that weakness while maintaining behaviour.

The traditional constructive feedback, also known as weakness-based feedback, can often be viewed as malicious from the employees’ perspective. When interpreted negatively, employees lose motivation on the job, which affects their level of production.[20] The other kind of feedback that is more effective is known as strengths-based feedback. This feedback is more effective because it is easier to adjust the performance once the individual can separate flaws from strengths. The strengths-based feedback is positive feedback that allows the employees to recognize their strengths and further improve their performance with that knowledge.[20] Using this strategy as a base for constructive feedback shows support and encouragement towards the employee, which boosts their confidence. Confidence in the workplace allows individuals to stay focused and engaged. However, the disadvantage of strengths-based feedback is failing to perform at one's full potential due to overconfidence.


Reinforcement is another critical principle of employee training and development. By positively reinforcing employees with encouragement or reward, managers can establish a desired pattern of behaviour. Studies have shown that reinforcement directly influences employee learning, which is highly correlated with performance after training. Reinforcement based training emphasizes the importance of communication between managers and trainees in the workplace. The more the training environment can be a positive, nurturing experience, the more—and faster—attendees are apt to learn.[21]

Another essential aspect of reinforcement-based training is to discuss what has been taught in a training session and how employees can apply what they have learned to the job. This can be done by conducting pre and post-training brainstorming sessions.  

Overall, managers play a significant role in reinforcing learning by systematically looking for ways to notice and thank the employee when they use the skills and knowledge from the training session.[21] By positively reinforcing employees like this, they will become more comfortable in the workplace and more confident in their abilities, which ultimately positively affects their future performance.

Benefits[edit]

Training has been used in organizations for the past several decades. Although training and development requires investments of many types, there are cited benefits to integrating training and development into organizations:

  • Increased productivity and job performance [1]
  • Skills development [1]
  • Team development [1][22]
  • Decreasing safety-related accidents [23]

However, if the training and development is not strategic and pointed at specific goals, it can lead to more harm than good.[24] Needs assessments, especially when the training is being conducted on a large-scale, are frequently conducted in order to gauge what needs to be trained, how it should be trained, and how extensively.[25] Needs assessments in the training and development context often reveal employee and management-specific skills to develop (e.g. for new employees), organizational-wide problems to address (e.g. performance issues), adaptations needed to suit changing environments (e.g. new technology), or employee development needs (e.g. career planning). The degree of effectiveness of training and development programs can be predicted by the needs assessment and how closely the needs were met, the execution of the training (i.e. how effective the trainer was), and trainee characteristics (e.g. motivation, cognitive abilities).[26] Effectiveness of training is typically done on an individual or team-level, with few studies investigating the impacts on organizations.[1]

Occupation[edit]

The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) cites training and development specialists as having a bright outlook, meaning that the occupation will grow rapidly or have several job openings in the next few years.[27] Related professions include training and development managers, (chief) learning officers, industrial-organizational psychologists, and organization development consultants. Training and development specialists are equipped with the tools to conduct needs analyses, build training programs to suit the needs of the organization by using a variety of training techniques, create training materials, and execute and guide training programs.[27]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Aguinis, Herman; Kraiger, Kurt (January 2009). "Benefits of Training and Development for Individuals and Teams, Organizations, and Society". Annual Review of Psychology. 60 (1): 451–474. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.60.110707.163505. ISSN 0066-4308. PMID 18976113.
  2. ^ a b c Bell, Bradford S.; Tannenbaum, Scott I.; Ford, J. Kevin; Noe, Raymond A.; Kraiger, Kurt (2017). "100 years of training and development research: What we know and where we should go". Journal of Applied Psychology. 102 (3): 305–323. doi:10.1037/apl0000142. ISSN 1939-1854. PMID 28125262.
  3. ^ a b Campbell, J P (January 1971). "Personnel Training and Development". Annual Review of Psychology. 22 (1): 565–602. doi:10.1146/annurev.ps.22.020171.003025. ISSN 0066-4308.
  4. ^ Burke, Michael J.; Day, Russell R. (1986). "A cumulative study of the effectiveness of managerial training". Journal of Applied Psychology. 71 (2): 232–245. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.71.2.232. ISSN 0021-9010.
  5. ^ a b Birdi, Kamal; Allan, Catriona; Warr, Peter (1997). "Correlates and perceived outcomes of 4 types of employee development activity". Journal of Applied Psychology. 82 (6): 845–857. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.82.6.845. ISSN 0021-9010.
  6. ^ a b Marks, Michelle A.; Sabella, Mark J.; Burke, C. Shawn; Zaccaro, Stephen J. (2002). "The impact of cross-training on team effectiveness". Journal of Applied Psychology. 87 (1): 3–13. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.87.1.3. ISSN 0021-9010.
  7. ^ Rosemary Harrison (2005). Learning and Development. CIPD Publishing. p. 5. ISBN 9781843980506.
  8. ^ Patrick J. Montana & Bruce H. Charnov (2000). "Training and Development". Management. Barron Educationally Series. p. 225. ISBN 9780764112768.
  9. ^ Thomas N. Garavan; Pat Costine & Noreen Heraty (1995). "Training and Development: Concepts, Attitudes, and Issues". Training and Development in Ireland. Cengage Learning EMEA. p. 1. ISBN 9781872853925.
  10. ^ Derek Torrington; Laura Hall & Stephen Taylor (2004). Human Resource Management. Pearson Education. p. 363. ISBN 9780273687139.
  11. ^ a b Bell, Bradford S.; Kozlowski, Steve W. J. (2008). "Active learning: Effects of core training design elements on self-regulatory processes, learning, and adaptability". Journal of Applied Psychology. 93 (2): 296–316. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.93.2.296. ISSN 1939-1854. PMID 18361633.
  12. ^ McDaniel, Mark A.; Schlager, Mark S. (June 1990). "Discovery Learning and Transfer of Problem-Solving Skills". Cognition and Instruction. 7 (2): 129–159. doi:10.1207/s1532690xci0702_3. ISSN 0737-0008.
  13. ^ Keith, Nina; Frese, Michael (2005). "Self-Regulation in Error Management Training: Emotion Control and Metacognition as Mediators of Performance Effects". Journal of Applied Psychology. 90 (4): 677–691. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.90.4.677. ISSN 1939-1854. PMID 16060786.
  14. ^ Wood, Robert; Kakebeeke, Bastiaan; Debowski, Shelda; Frese, Michael (April 2000). "The Impact of Enactive Exploration on Intrinsic Motivation, Strategy, and Performance in Electronic Search". Applied Psychology. 49 (2): 263–283. doi:10.1111/1464-0597.00014. ISSN 0269-994X.
  15. ^ Roberts, Karlene H. (July 1990). "Managing High Reliability Organizations". California Management Review. 32 (4): 101–113. doi:10.2307/41166631. ISSN 0008-1256. JSTOR 41166631.
  16. ^ a b c Raheja, Kanu (25 March 2015). "Methods Of Training And Development". Innovative Journal of Business and Management. 4 (02): 35–41. ISSN 2277-4947.
  17. ^ a b c d e f Aik, Chong Tek; Tway, Duane C. (March 2006). "Elements and principles of training as a performance improvement solution". Performance Improvement. 45 (3): 28–32. doi:10.1002/pfi.2006.4930450307. ISSN 1090-8811.
  18. ^ Stack, Laura. ([©2013]). Managing employee performance : motivation, ability, and obstacles. [Highlands Ranch, CO]: Productivity Pro. ISBN 978-1-62723-025-4. OCLC 852507794. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  19. ^ a b c d MacRae, Ian (Psychologist),. Motivation and performance : a guide to motivating a diverse workforce. Furnham, Adrian,. London. ISBN 978-0-7494-7814-8. OCLC 966315014.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  20. ^ a b Aguinis, Herman; Gottfredson, Ryan K.; Joo, Harry (1 March 2012). "Delivering effective performance feedback: The strengths-based approach". Business Horizons. 55 (2): 105–111. doi:10.1016/j.bushor.2011.10.004. ISSN 0007-6813.
  21. ^ a b Nelson, Bob. “A Dose of Positive Reinforcement Can Go a Long Way.” T+D, vol. 67, no. 3, Mar. 2013, pp. 40–44. EBSCOhost, library.macewan.ca/full-record/bth/85852296.
  22. ^ Kozlowski, Steve W. J.; Bell, Bradford S. (15 April 2003), "Work Groups and Teams in Organizations", Handbook of Psychology, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., doi:10.1002/0471264385.wei1214, ISBN 0471264385
  23. ^ Salas, Eduardo; Frush, Karen (24 August 2012). Improving patient safety through teamwork and team training. Salas, Eduardo,, Frush, Karen. New York. ISBN 9780199875542. OCLC 811142213.
  24. ^ Rebecca., Page-Tickell (3 July 2014). Learning and development (1st ed.). London. ISBN 9780749469894. OCLC 883248797.
  25. ^ Brown, Judith (December 2002). "Training Needs Assessment: A Must for Developing an Effective Training Program". Public Personnel Management. 31 (4): 569–578. doi:10.1177/009102600203100412. ISSN 0091-0260.
  26. ^ Tannenbaum, S I; Yukl, G (January 1992). "Training and Development in Work Organizations". Annual Review of Psychology. 43 (1): 399–441. doi:10.1146/annurev.ps.43.020192.002151.
  27. ^ a b "13-1151.00 - Training and Development Specialists". www.onetonline.org. Retrieved 1 March 2019.

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Further reading[edit]

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