Learning styles and learning theories
The activist learning style entails the development of an open-minded perception and engagement in gaining from new experiences. The style entails learning by doing a particular task. Some of the learning preferences entail brainstorming and teamwork in solving problems that present new experiences. Thus, team members are free to generate ideas. However, ideas are challenged.
This style involves learning by taking a low profile during group discussions and meetings. Subsequently, learning is mainly achieved through observation, active listening, and reflecting on a particular issue. Additionally, learning is also achieved by conducting thorough research to evaluate experiences from diverse perspectives hence reaching the most rational conclusion (Martin 2010).
This style involves understanding the assumptions, theories, and principles that support a particular issue. Thus, theorists are analytical and synthesize observations and facts to determine their practicality. Theorist style involves logical and systematic thinking in dealing with problems, which makes theorists be rigidly perfectionists. Theorists usually learn best when undertaking activities related to systems or theories and situations that allow the generalization of reasons (Wilson 2005).
Pragmatists are keen on testing novel ideas, techniques, and theories in a bid to establish their practicality. Pragmatists are proactive in applying ideas that interest them. Additionally, they appreciate open-ended discussions and like applying practical decisions in addressing problems and exploiting opportunities. Some of the best learning activities under this style relate to work problems and opportunities in addition to situations that provide an opportunity to deal with practical issues.
The Behaviourist theory
O’Shea (2002) asserts that the adult learning theory is comprised of a set of philosophies and principles that guide adults through the learning process. Hitchcock, Schubert, and Thomas (2003, p. 68) cite andragogy as the most common adult learning theory and it ‘underscores the importance of appreciating learning needs, which means that the learner is actively involved in the learning process.
Social learning theory
This theory asserts that individuals’ learning and development originates from imitating the behaviour of other individuals or role models. Thus, individuals’ social identity and behavior are modeled around the actions of different people in society.
This theory underscores the importance of improving individuals’ mental capacity as opposed to physical actions. Thus, the cognitive learning theory intends to improve the employees’ knowledge capacity. Cognitive learning enhances individuals’ capacity to utilize the knowledge available from the environment.
Contribution of learning theories in planning learning events
Learning theories and styles are of fundamental importance in the process of planning the employees’ training and development. The theories and styles enable organizational leaders to evaluate the characteristics of the workforce, hence gaining insight into the most appropriate learning style and theory to adopt.
Implication of learning curve and the importance of ensuring the transfer of learning to the workplace
The learning curve enables HR managers to evaluate the outcome of the training event by assessing the number of resources [time and money] consumed in imparting knowledge on a particular activity and the skills gained by employees. The learning curve provides trainers with insight on how to adjust the training program to maximize its effectiveness in transferring knowledge to the trainees.
Planning and designing training and development
Planning and designing of training and development enable HR managers to improve the workforce skills and knowledge to cope with the environmental changes (Perry 2005). Moreover, the employees’ training and development improve one’s commitment towards the organization due to the career progression opportunity associated with training and development (Wilson 2005).
Systematic approach to training
The training and development role entails identification of employee development and training needs, designing and planning the training, and implementing the training process. The systematic approach to employee training and development is comprised of four main phases.
- Training need assessment – this phase involves an extensive assessment of the employees’ training needs to enhance the attainment of the organizational goals (Mensah 2013).
- Planning and design training- During this stage, the HR manager should design appropriate training depending on the identified needs and available resources.
- Implementing the training – this phase entails the actual implementation of the various learning activities.
- Evaluating the training – a critical assessment of the results attained from the benefits gained by both the organization and the individual employees.
Factors to take into account when planning a training and development event
Individual and organizational needs
HR managers should undertake an evaluation of the organization’s human capital needs in addition to the employees’ needs. Some of the individual employees’ needs that HR managers should take into account entail their intended career goals such as progressing through their desired career path. Thus, a training and development event should be designed in such a way that the training content is aligned with the employees’ career development goals. Conversely, the training and development event should be designed in such a way that it enhances the attainment of the overall organizational goal such as financial, economic, and social sustainability. On the flip side, some employees might quit the firm immediately after the training, which means that the organization incurs substantial losses.
Organizations’ managers should evaluate the resource requirement with reference to time, training facilities and money in planning and designing a training event. Effective resource planning ensures that the training and development is effectively conducted in addition to improving the likelihood of attaining the desired outcome. Failure to consider resources may adversely affect the outcome of the training event hence limiting the contribution of the training to an organizations’ long-term performance.
Organisation’s approach to training [case study; Aldi Discount Supermarket]
Aldi, a well-established discount supermarket in Germany has integrated the concept of employee training to optimize its performance. The firm has adopted two main training approaches as evaluated herein.
- On-the-job training – Aldi uses this approach in transferring new knowledge to employees through actual involvement in a particular task. Some of the on-the-job training approaches that the firm uses entail mentoring, coaching, and job rotation. To equip employees’ adequate expertise in its operation, the firm periodically allocates employees’ new job tasks by relocating them to different departments.
- Off-the-job training – this technique entails conducting training activities outside the job environment. Aldi Supermarket usually has adopted this training approach by providing employees annual career leaves. The career leaves focus on training employees on different courses related to retailing such as store management to improve their productivity aimed at bettering their production through enhancing efficiency.
Role and purpose of evaluation and evaluation techniques
Importance of evaluation and its contribution to marketing training and development in organizations
The knowledge, skills, and abilities gained by employees from the training program should sustain the organizations’ long-term performance. Therefore, HR managers need to evaluate the implemented training events. Randall, Schuler, and Werner (2011) argue that the purpose of an evaluation is to establish the effectiveness of the training to determine the extent to which it has attained the desired learning outcomes.
Evaluation enables HR managers to validate the concept of training as a tool for enhancing organizational profitability and performance. Therefore, it is a source of insight on how to design and improve the employees’ training approaches, programs, and events. The evaluation also enables organizational leaders to undertake a cost-benefit analysis on the return on investment on the various training events undertaken. Thus, HR managers are in a position to justify training expenditure.
Evaluation in the training cycle
The process of evaluating can be considered as a decision-making tool, which enables HR managers to determine the most appropriate training programs, activities, and methods that organizations should incorporate. The process of evaluation should be continuous in the various systematic training stages. By evaluating the various stages, the chances of identifying additional training needs and hence improving planning and designing the training process are improved.
Stakeholders in the evaluation process and their roles
- Senior management – senior managers should undertake strategic-level evaluation, which means that they should focus on assessing the organizational and employees’ training needs to foster the development of a training culture (Fallon & McConnell 2013).
- Training and development specialists – these stakeholders should assist the top management in assessing the level of satisfaction with the various training programs adopted by the organization.
- Trainees and the line managers – trainees should assist in the process of assessing the level of satisfaction with the implemented training events and programs. Their contribution aids in assessing the effectiveness of the training process in transferring knowledge. Conversely, line managers aid in evaluating the significance of the training in transferring new knowledge.
Comparing and contrasting evaluation techniques
- Formative technique – this technique involves evaluating a particular program by collecting and analyzing relevant data to identify possible gaps. The technique is continuously undertaken hence improving the outcome of a particular program by adjusting the identified shortcomings. Some of the tools used in formative evaluation entail open-ended questionnaires. However, the major shortcoming of this technique is that all stakeholders must support it. The support might be over or withdrawn.
- Summative evaluation – this technique involves evaluating the effectiveness of an already executed training program. One of the benefits of this technique is that it provides insight on whether to adopt a particular program or changes that should be adopted to make the necessary improvement. However, the authenticity of this style is questionable because it might assess the wrong issues.
Despite the applicability of the two-evaluation technique, formative evaluation is superior to summative evaluation as it enables HR managers to adjust the training program proactively, hence improving its contribution to organizational performance.
This method entails designing a set of questions that aim at assisting an individual to evaluate the level of progress or opinion regarding a particular issue. The advantage of questionnaires is that they aid in obtaining definite and broad answer on a particular aspect due to their open and close-ended nature. However, questionnaires are only applicable if the respondents are literate.
Kirkpatrick’s evaluation model
This model is comprised of four main levels, which include the reaction, learning, behavior, and results. This model aids in measuring the effectiveness of a training process objectively, and thus it identifies the possible loopholes in the training process. Thus, it provides insight on how to undertake training in the future.
Government-led initiatives in developing the labor market
The process of training and development of employees entails intentional practices undertaken to improve the current and future organizational performance by enhancing competence. Thus, organizations attain adequate competitiveness, hence improving the capacity to deal with future environmental changes (Martin 2010). The UK government has instituted LSCs that operate through a strategic partnership amongst representatives from different community groups, trade unions, and employers. The government offers learning opportunities to young adults aged between 13 and 19 years by establishing connexions in collaboration with the LSC.
The UK government has incorporated apprenticeship-training programs in different areas such as the engineering and crafts sector. One of the strategies that the UK has adopted in enhancing apprenticeship within the country entails the integration of national vocational qualifications [NVQs]. The increased adoption of NVQs has been motivated by the need to improve the level of competence within the labor market. The NVQs are comprised of different units outlining the necessary skills and knowledge that individuals should possess to execute a particular job effectively (Sadler-Smith 2006).
The UK has also incorporated diverse performance management frameworks such as the Management Charter Initiative [MCI] and competence movements, which outline the underpinning level of knowledge and skills of a particular occupation (Edenborough 2007).
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