Critical Analysis of Training Intervention Essay
In our today’s competitive business world, many organizations focus on training to enhance capacity development for their staff in order to compete effectively. The main reason for intensified focus is due to emergence of knowledge based economy that makes organizations to compete on the basis of knowledge. Additionally, knowledge drive in today’s society justifies the increase focus on research and development for most all best performing organizations. However, not all training intervention results to desired changes intended by training intervention.
The area of approach to design of training intervention is an outstanding concern that predetermines the outcome of that training. In this regard, this paper shall critically examine training intervention design, process that should be practiced to enhance quality of the training carried out by organizations for successful capacity development. Introduction According to Campbell (2007), he defines organizational capacity as the organizational potential to perform that is enabled by its ability to define and realize its goals and objectives in a more sustainable and relevant manner.
Therefore, organization capacity development shall refer to the processes by which an organization effectively formulate and achieve organizational goals. Organizational capacity areas that need to be strengthened in a training intervention in order to realize the
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In order to have a meaningful and useful training, capacity development should be purpose-fit to the needs and environmental circumstances in which an organization operates. Capacity development has three levels of capacities that should be met by training intervention. These three levels are: individual, organization and occupational. It is important to mention that these three levels are independent. Therefore, training must capture each one of the separately and integrate them.
Especially, the individual needs or characteristics that in relation to psychomotor, affective and cognitive domains of the trainee. Hence failure to address specific level is likely to result to skewed, unstable and inefficient capacity development. However, in order to determine content for each of the levels, training assessment needs ought to be carried out to identify the organizational, occupational and individual needs.
Although training intervention is widely accepted as an important way to strengthen organizational capacities, training formulation precedes learning in the organization. Thus, training assessment needs is necessary at organization level to address; historical background organization’s learners (Baud, Gerick 1999: 218), work, strategy and focus, the structures of the organization, competencies required in learners, the expected outcomes of the training, the changes needed and organizational internal and external factors.
While occupational level should involves three main steps: task analysis that identify the task that people are going to do; identification of what workforce is capable of to determine the actual level of skills, knowledge attitudes and beliefs; and lastly identify the training needs that workforce cannot do. The level of an individual, Celinski (1983) highly recommends that interviews and questionnaires be used to asses the needs of the learners.
Additionally, diary use for the trainer knowing level of education, consulting employees profile offer help and assistance in establishing individual needs in order to develop a more relevant and appropriate planning, designing, presentation and materials selection for the training intervention. Learning objectives Learning objectives are important in such a way that they guide the instructor or trainer on the training intervention, especially in planning and developing learning activities, time table scheduling, learning aids selection and formulation of the learning evaluation.
In most of our organizations today learning design has two sets of objectives. The general objective depicts changes or competencies expected after training, while the specific objective describes what the trainees should be able to do after undergoing the training. These two categories of learning objectives are important in the sense that they can be used as learning indicators. However, it is a point of worth to mention that good learning objectives should be derived from need assessment conducted. Importantly, learning objectives should be; realistic, measurable, time conscious, and take into account the needs of the learner and specific.
Taylor (2003); suggests that in order for learning objectives to be effective and relevant to instructional approach for the trainees, they should be written in terms of the trainees; identify desired specific behaviour to be observed and state the condition under which the behaviour will occur; and include criteria standard to be achieved by learners that is acceptable. Organizational trainings Organizational training involves identification of the target group with the organization that requires training, mode choice, selection and sequencing of the contents.
Identification of the training target group Successfulness of the training intervention starts with correct participant selection. This simply because the training intervention will be rendered fruitless if the trainees do not put into practice the training when they go back to their functions resulting from wrong choice of the participants. Participants should be selected basing on the training assessment needs in conjunction with stakeholder’s analysis. In this regard, participants should reflect objectives, diversity, and context for changes that are expected.
For instance, in some cases the entire department may be selected for training where there are changes in the processes regarding to that department. While in other cases, key person is involved for training for specific task or skills like C. E. O. or manager. For relevant participant selection, following tips are necessary to offer a guideline for the selection process: based on voluntariness of the employers to apply, employees perception of the program suitability to them, suitability of learners background for the training and the timing convenience for training.
Training mode choice In relation to training mode choice, it’s important to consider sheer volume and learning task complexity that can be used to direct the choice for distance or onsite classroom. Moreover, number of trainees and their characteristics, logistics and financial implication should be considered in selecting training mode. But, required skills attainment by the trainees is developed through employing learning and practice. Therefore to facilitate attainment skill development to trainees as per the objectives, outside training is best alternative to be embraced.
On the other hand, mass vs. distributed training should be put into consideration. Empirically, research indicates that training instruction under distributed practice is retained more and longer than the one learned at the massed practice. Because massed training result to a psychological fatigue that inhibits revelation of true levels of learning. Selection and sequencing of the content When planning and developing a training intervention for training intervention, content should be strictly based on the learning objectives.
Whereas job and task analysis should be employed to facilitate identification of knowledge, belief, behaviour, altitudes and skills needed and thereafter allocate sufficient time for each session. On this note, easy task need not to be included on the timetable schedule, while difficult task should be allocated appropriate and sufficient time. The learner’s background and levels is useful to determine the depth of content and its presentation mode. Learning topic should be programmed in such a way that they don’t come in ad-hoc manner since it may hamper learning, while emotional preparedness for certain topics should be taken into account.
Linkage of topics should be achieved by the instructor or trainer to minimize blocks to learning and to make the learning process smooth. Despite sequence selected, rest duration is important and dependant on the memory warm-up and psychological fatigue. In relation to rest duration, Armmons (1947), research work indicated that performance efficient may rise between 18%-43% with rest duration of 5-20 minutes after an intensive learning by trainers (Baud, Gerick 1999: 236). Training Activities and didactic methods
According to Kraiger and Salas (1997), instructional strategies are set of tools, contents and methodologies which are combined to create an instructional approach. In this connection four best principles should be used to create a efficient instructional strategy: relevancy of concepts to be learned, demonstration of the altitudes, knowledge and skills to be learnt by learners; and feedback provision to instructors after practice and during practicing the skills attained.
The instructional strategy selection is dependant on the instructor, but should choose a variety of strategies to accommodate content delivery, objectives, materials or aids used, and aim to maintain interest of learning. According to Clarke (2006) adults; in this case all employees are adults, learns best by doing and learning and working in a non-threatening, participators, respectful and informal environment. The following are core issues in organization training activities and didactic methods
Performance improvement In regard to performance improvement, there are six principles key to successful adult learning that is applicable to the workforce training in order to realize performance improvement. These principles integrate the perspectives, models and theories provided by great scholars like Kolb, Knowles, Mezirow and Freire on their take on effective learning. Participation: In learning, trainees learn more and remember the content of the subject matter when they are actively engaged in learning process.
While skills best develop by doing and engaging in practical exercise, group work, simulation, games and discussion. Furthermore participation can be enhanced by facilitating a collaborative environment, role sharing and use of friendly dialogue to encourage sharing of experiences and knowledge. Thus by enhancing positive altitudes and learning atmosphere it corresponds to participation boosting to trainers. Understand: Greater understanding can be enhanced when training starts at the level of the trainee as provided by training needs assessment.
Practices and learning activities that can increase understanding to trainers are appropriate use of vocabulary according to trainers level, use of trainers language, avoidance of unnecessary technical jargon, reformulation of ideas in trainers own words, use of real life examples provided by the trainer and use of learners experience as examples. The checking mechanism for the learners understanding is through use of short questions. Feedback: Feedbacks are important part of construct process for learning.
Through feedback the trainees get a sense of their progression towards learning objectives and if not, they strategize how to get there. Feedback should be provided shortly after instruction to enable learners relate to processes they have used. Additionally, learners should be given good reacceptance on their feedback to encourage them to try again. For instance, instructor should use encouraging term like good trail or good attempt even if the trainee has given a wrong feedback. Interest: In training intervention, learner’s interest comes as a result of learner’s intrinsic motivation.
Whereby, the trainee should be made to feel the need to learn and own the goal of training is likely to increase urge to participate and be more engaged. To achieve trainees interest in training intervention, learning objectives must be relevant to their needs, Kolb (1979) emphasize that adult learners interest is embedded in their personal histories, vision of who they are and what the want to do. Therefore, to capture the interest of trainees, learning methods should integrate work and studies, theory and practice will provide a more productive learning undertaking by the workforce.
In addition to this, adult will only remember or have interest to learn what they consider useful to them and has pleasure to learn it. Therefore, learning should be cantered on the content relevancy in accordance to what adult’s value with more pragmatic examples. Emphasis: Emphasis is attained by focusing the attention of learners on the most important points that will be useful to make a trainee remember easily. This emphasis should be used to crucial points. Through instructors, repetition, reformulation, examples, summarizing or asking question gives emphasis to main ideas desired to be attained by use of didactic aids and exercises.
This by giving more attention and time to certain concepts, it allows learners to practice and retain skills and knowledge. (Baldwin, Ford 1998: 217), state that when a trainee is not able to recall content after a training session, the content is likely to have extend the long term memory, as a result it will not be retained. Results: Organizational training intervention aimed at capacity development should make learners feel successful after the training session and enable the employee to plan how to effect and use the skills and knowledge attained in organizational working environment.
As a result this learner’s confidences in his or her ability to cope with work task to a great extend supports performance improving to an individual and organization collectively. The instructor can scaffold the trainees by keeping them informed on their progress, congratulating for good work and more accelerated by issuance of a participatory certificate to the trainees, the certificate will put employee in task of reflecting the theoretical value of certificate to practical world. Transfer
Transfer aims at looking at the designed instruction in relation to its probability to be applied in work place. It is important to design learning intervention in a way that what is learnt have a high probability of being applied to the job. Therefore, trainees should be able to transfer acquired skills to their work place practice to improve on their performance or capacity. In this regard, transfer occurs when the existed habit which was established during training, has influence upon acquisition of new skill or performance of the employee.
However transfer varies across individuals in light with individual differences. Thus, organization should always expect positive or negative transfer. In regard to negative transfer, Celinski (1983) says that one of the causes for transfer problem is when training takes place away from job. To avoid negative transfer probabilities being high on trainees, the following strategy should be employed.
Choosing of the training instruction approach that offer opportunity to the trainee to learn variety of relevant task and make trainees practice step by step; use of real life problems that are relevant to the context that trainees are expected to apply the instruction; use of different examples; encourage trainees to set goals provide them feedback and make them aware of range of skills and knowledge by specifying transfer requirements; encourage discover learning through case study, history and structured exercises; and projects assignment and group discussion should be encouraged
Apart from training strategies to facilitate positive transfer workplace factors also do influence the transfer of trainee. For instance, lack of resources power structure of organization and the entrenched attitude (Bradley 1999: 145) through training intervention design must be identical in accordance to those in work place situation as an initial incentive.
Other factors that have effect on the transfer are; availability of an opportunity for trainees to perform trained task at the work place; delays between the time of training and actual use of skill on job; feedback provided by peer subordinate and supervisors; possibility of generalization from one point to another; support and reinforcement from team leadership. Follow-up to training activities Follow-up to training activities are geared towards assisting positive transfer.
In this regard follow-up activities like couching refresher courses and booster session and support groups network and buddy systems permit identification of barriers to successful transfer in the working environment, therefore help to address those barriers to motivate and support trainees on application part. For instance study by (Rachhawnjjjkjk1979; Philips 1983) on Xerox Company indicated that in absence of follow-up activities 87% of skills were lost this affirm that follow-up activities are vital. Evaluating training intervention
In an attempt to evaluate the organizational capacity development training, the key focus is on the method and process of planning, designing and developing the instruction for the purpose of training. There are many varied reason why training intervention program should be evaluated (Goldstein 2003: 304). On the purpose of evaluation Kirkpatrick gives useful categories that offer a more compelling reason for evaluation. These fine categories are feedback evaluation or formative evaluation that helps to monitor the quality of the instructional design and delivery to the trainees reflected by training activities.
Controls of decision making based evaluation are aims at value and contribution of the training intervention for the organization by matching the organizational goals to those of training. Other purposes of training are research, power games and intervention evaluation. Components to be evaluated The components that need to be evaluated are the three levels of capacity required to be attained by training intervention targeting at capacity development. These three levels are organizational capacities, individual and occupational.
In taking an integrated approach towards evaluation; first step is the levels of capacities intended to develop shall focus on and the second part shall cover the interconnectedness of these three levels to facilitate organization goals attainment. However to evaluate the two component s involved, Kirkpatrick’s model (Goldstein 2003: 209) with four level approach prove to be useful. The four levels are reaction learning, behaviour and results. Reaction phase Reaction phase measures the trainee’s feelings and attitudes towards the usefulness and interest of the content, instructor’s effectiveness, quality of leaning and teaching aids used.
The measures employed at the reaction phase in evaluation are highly dependant on the trainee’s attitudes and satisfaction and not behaviour change after trainee exposure to the learning experiences and activities. Additionally, these measures are affected by personal characteristics of instructor, per diem provided and the discrepancy between personal experiences and training objectives. Learning phase evaluation In context of the learning phase evaluation it refers to the changes in skills, attitudes or knowledge of trainees as a direct result of learning program in accordance with change of the work place behaviour.
Other scholars argue that change in behaviour might not necessarily reflect the increase in skill and knowledge, since work place behaviour may also be caused by other factors like fear of job loss or changes in management. Therefore, using the learning level to evaluate may some time not give valid and credible results. Behaviour or transfer phase Behaviour level of evaluation aims at assessing change in job behaviour of the employee as a result of training program conducted. The information collected on the job behaviour change by the employee, is the same information that is analysed and synthesized to give the organization’s efficacy.
However it’s a daunting task to evaluate the job behaviour change, since other factors such as environmental and personal characteristics do affect behaviour change. Therefore, it becomes difficult to diagnosis as to whether the change in behaviour is as a result of the training programmes. Results or outcome This phase of evaluation aims at measuring the tangible and intangible changes as a result of training intervention conducted to the workforce and organisation as a whole.
At this level evaluation is on the basis of both direct and indirect performance of the individual and the organization on policies and consequences of the performance to the society. This is a more conclusive and inclusive evaluation that in case any component not performed well it is likely to affect the evaluation results and might have aspect of bias. In addition to these evaluation levels, there is a process evaluation that focus on the evaluating the appropriateness of the process of instruction. This is because instruction process and delivery quality determines the out come of the learning in training intervention.
In general, a more and readily acceptable procedure and components to be involved in evaluation are; identification of training needs, learning process, learning outcomes, behavioural change, impact on the organizational performance and organizational outcomes. Tools used in evaluation The tools designed to carry out an effective and efficient evaluation involves the evaluation sheet; reactionaries that evaluates objectives, instructor, time, methodology, learning aids and instructional activities; used of questionnaires and interviews; and direct observation of the workforce behaviours.
Conclusion To um up the paper, the paper has discussed the various critiques that should be included to the available training models and theories in order to make employee training to increase its quality to facility successful capacity development. In addition to that, the area of resources allocation should be made more available to involve more stakeholders and consultants to have their contribution to substantiate the training intervention. In addition the paper has discussed how to evaluate the learning intervention.
In general, training needs assessment is critical for successful training and should cover three levels of organization, occupational and individual; learning objectives should be well formulate; the need and learning objectives for the intervention should guide the process; principles that can be used to increase performance are understanding, interest, participation, feedback and emphasis; transfer is critical to effectiveness of the training intervention and vary, therefore it should be reinforced by use of the follow up activities; and lastly evaluation is vital to an organizational intervention and should look at all aspects.
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