Training & Development

A Complete Guide to Learning & Development: Training & Evaluation Covered

Are you the one who wants to start with basic concepts and fundaments of Training/Learning & Developments? As you might have experienced that base of T&D seems to be a little complex, but believe me, it is not. Just like anything it looks complex and difficult until you start.

So here you go –

This post will give you a comprehensive overview of learning and development (L&D), one of the most important aspects of Human Resource Management. Throughout the article, I will explain what learning and development is, how to create learning and development strategies for your organization, how to evaluate L&D effectiveness, and what the different jobs in the L&D industry are, in case you want to switch to or start your career in T&D.

First thing first

What is Learning and Development?

Learning and development, according to Lievens (2011), aims to change or develop an individual’s behavior or attitudes so as to be able to do their work better. The goal is to share knowledge and insights to make their work more effective, as well as to cultivate attitudes that promote better performance.

Training & learning in organizations

Learning and development refers to the process of enhancing an employee’s skills, knowledge, and competencies to enhance performance in a workplace. Learning is about the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and attitudes. The goal of development is to expand and deepen one’s knowledge in line with one’s goals.

The three concepts of learning, training and development are often used interchangeably. However, these concepts have some differences, which you can see in the table below.

TERMEXPLANATION
Learning The process of acquiring knowledge, skills, or attitudes through experience, study, or teaching. Training, education, and development all involve learning.
TrainingIn training, we learn skills, knowledge, and attitudes that can be applied immediately to a specific job. The training may focus on improving performance in the current role or overcoming upcoming changes.
Development Development is a long-term process. It involves the expanding and deepening of knowledge. This must align with one's personal development goals and the (future) goals of the organization. Development is usually voluntary.
Education To broaden one's knowledge, education is a more formal method. Education is often non-specific and applicable for a long time, especially when a person has little experience in a particular field.
Mentoring Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be.
CoachingCoaching is a form of development in which an experienced person, called a coach, supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training and guidance. The learner is sometimes called a coachee.
Tutoring Tutoring is private academic support, usually provided by an expert teacher; someone with deep knowledge or defined expertise in a particular subject or set of subjects.

LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES

Ever wondered why there is a need for learning and development for any company?

According to a renowned university professor, author, speaker, management coach, and management consultant called David Olson Ulrich

One of the most important things HR can offer to employers is a company that wins in the marketplace because without winning in the market, there is no company

Thus, HR has to continually train and develop its employees so that they can keep abreast with new trends in technology and business to consistently outpace the competition.

Moreover, It plays a vital role in enriching the employee experience. Human Experience Management is the most important aspect in Human Resources post-Covid which relies on all activities which require direct or indirect intervention with employees. T&D being the two-way interactive process plays an incremental role in satisfying, engaging, and enriching people’s experience in any organization.

But, the question is, what are the learning and development strategies that can help to accomplish this?

To get the answer to this, you can refer to Van Gelder & his colleagues –

They gave a model called Pedagogical Analysis

The model begins with the organization’s starting situation and prior knowledge from which learning goals are developed.

The information is used to drive the subject matter, the teaching methodology, and the learning methods. These efforts result in a certain result, which is tracked and evaluated. Based on the results, the goals and objectives are updated.

LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT PROCESS

Once you have framed organizational training goals and objectives, you need to execute them, you can execute through the training & development process.

There are four phases required to create an effective learning and development process

  1. Training needs analysis (starting situation)
  2. The setting of learning objectives
  3. Development of training content and methods
  4. Managing and evaluating training

In order for a learning and development strategy to be effective, one must move through these four phases continuously. Let’s go through them one by one.

Phase 1. Training needs assessment

In order to identify training needs, the first step is to analyze the starting situation and prior knowledge. Taking training for its own sake will not help employees. In that case, we would be happy to send them on a cooking course. We want employees to acquire new knowledge, skills, and attitudes pertinent to their (future) roles. Learning in this way creates business capabilities.

In other words, learning has a purpose – it has a goal. A few examples could be developing digital capabilities for an analog company that is in the process of transforming, building analytical capabilities that create more value through analytics, or making sure all employees receive their mandatory certification in time to continue to do their jobs.

You have to analyze where the organization wants to go and what skills are needed to get there in order to determine the learning goal. This is a three-step process.

a. Organizational Analysis

During this phase, the organization’s short- and long-term goals are analyzed. The goal is to identify the training needs that will help the company achieve its goals. In order to be successful in the long run, these goals must be aligned with the organizational climate. In a highly hierarchical organization with a culture that does not value personal initiative, assertiveness training may not be effective – it may even be counter-productive.

b. Competency Analysis

In addition to identifying organizational needs, it is important to examine the level of a specific function or task. How can one be successful in one’s career? What are the skills and competencies required? A key objective of this study is to identify the most important knowledge, skills, and attitudes for employees to succeed at their jobs, as well as to determine which skills and knowledge are most easily learned.

c. Personal Analysis

This analysis focuses on job performance. Competencies and knowledge, skill levels, as well as performance levels are examined. The employee’s performance evaluation is often the key source of information for this analysis. The results of the analysis contribute to the definition of training needs.

These three analyses can be used to specify training goals. It is important to ensure that the initiative has sponsorship and support within the organization.

Sometimes it is easy to gain organizational support, especially when learning and development are urgent needs. It is a straightforward process. You will have to go to great lengths to specify the need for learning so that budgets can be freed up and employees are given time off.

Phase 2. Specification of learning objectives

Training needs must be translated into learning objectives. The content and methodology of the training are designed with these objectives in mind.

A training objective, as defined by Lievens (2011), consists of three components.

1. Having the ability to achieve specific goals. As an HR business partner, I must be able to identify a manager’s strategic people needs.

2. The conditions required for effective behavior. As an example, in the 30-minute check-in with managers, I need to be able to identify their strategic people needs and be able to summarize them to ensure that I have identified them correctly.

3. A specific and measurable training goal. For example, “I double-checked each manager’s top 3 strategic priorities after every check-in”.

As a result, training goals become highly specific and measurable. As a result, learning and development interventions can be more effective at improving these skills.

Learning interventions can have multiple learning objectives. An additional objective for this training could be for the HR business partner to assist managers in relating their strategic objectives to HR policies. As these objectives are closely related, they can be incorporated into a single training that will make the business partner more effective in their role.

Phase 3. Design of the training material and method

Teaching materials and learning methods are determined in this phase. This is where training materials, teaching methods, and learning activities are chosen. It is usually done with the help of an external trainer or training provider, ideally with the trainee’s involvement.

Aside from learning methods, techniques, pace, setting, and many other factors are also taken into consideration.

Training can be trainer-centered or trainee-centered. Seminars, presentations, lectures, keynotes, and lessons are examples of trainer-centered methods.

Training centered on trainees can include case studies, role-plays, self-directed lessons, on-the-job training, simulations, games, etc. Effective training usually includes a mix of methods.

Phase 4. Monitoring and evaluation

The last phase of the learning process is monitoring and evaluation. During this phase, learning objectives are evaluated and learning effectiveness is assessed. Bloom’s taxonomy is a very useful model for assessing learning effectiveness.

Additionally, record keeping of evaluation scores is very important. Like in academics, assessment scores of students are collected and reviewed, and improvements are made for future learning interventions.

The training should result in a change in behavior when it is deemed effective. Therefore, the starting situation and knowledge in the organization will be different for the next learning design.

Rinse & Repeat these phases to get an effective and progressive training and development program in your organization.

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