Human Resource Management Homework Help


# Description Question

You will be expected to answer in no less than 500 words and no more than 800 words. You will also be expected to use a specific example as a demonstration of your response. You will need to provide APA formatted in-text citations and references for any information sourced from a reference.

From Week 5, discuss the viticulture of Italy and the aspects of each wine region that make each of the signature wines unique. Incorporate the wine regions while elaborating on the rise of the these Italian wines in awards and popularity.


Using the Wine/Food Pairing link below, create 5 pairings from Italian wines. Do not repeats the varietals used. Incorporate the pairings into your answer. State why you are choosing each wine and food in the pairing.

You will be expected to answer in no less than 500 words and no more than 800 words

 You will be expected to answer in no less than 500 words and no more than 800 words. You will also be expected to use a specific example as a demonstration of your response. You will need to provide APA formatted in-text citations and references for any information sourced from a reference.

From Week 6, compare and contrast the five professional wine associations studied in the this week's readings. Include target membership, educational programs, any certifications and requirements.

You will be expected to answer in no less than 500 words

Question 1

Suppose you are designing a training program for a group of 40 employees. These employees come from a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. They also have different levels of education and experience as it relates to the content area of the training.

If you were tasked with developing a training program, what training design features would you use to address these constraints?  Explain why.

If a particular task presented in the training is critical to saving a life (police officer shooting a gun, pilot responding to an emergency) what factors would you build into the design of training to ensure that the behavior was both learned and transferred to the workplace?


Question 2

As a matter of business strategy, many organizations determined that there is a need to have a web presence.  Discuss how a business may need to modify its existing communication strategy – both internal and external – so that the Internet and traditional communications strategies will supplement and complement each other. What management, organization, and technology factors should be considered in order to facilitate the communications of an Internet/web presence?

250 words each question with a scholarly reference and in-text citation in APA format.

his is due on or before March 22, 2018 at 3:00 p.m.  CST.


In preparing for this  discussion, read Chapters 16 and 22 of the course text. For your initial post, address the following in the discussion forum:

  • Describe the sales process in the employer-sponsored model.
  • Compare the differences between rating and underwriting.
  • Discuss the influence of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on ONE of the four areas: (a) marketing, (b) sales, (c) rating, and (d) underwriting.

Your initial post should be at least 300 words. Support your response with a minimum of two scholarly sources (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. that were published in the last five years.

In preparing for this discussion, read Chapters 16 and 22

APA formatted title page


APA Formatted headings for each key element discussed

APA formatted in-text citations


APA formatted scholarly reference page



You must now develop the design of the project. Table 5-15: Design Matrix should be a useful design model to follow. You are required to address the following key elements in the design phase of the project in approximately 500 words:

Discuss organizational constraints (technology, personnel, budget, etc.).

Identify the employees to be trained.

Create a purpose statement.

Identify the learning theory(s) foundational to the training design.

Develop at least 4 training objectives.

Distinguish delivery method(s) that will be used to achieve the training objectives.

Identify when and where training will take place.

Consider the guidelines to be used to facilitate trainees’ learning of the material and transfer to the job.


Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

·          Identify three constraints a human resources department (HRD) might face in the design of training, and what might be done to deal with each.

·          Describe the purpose of learning objectives, the criteria for evaluating such objectives, and the advantages of developing these objectives.

·          List the reasons that learning objectives are a benefit to the trainee, training designer, trainer, and training evaluator.

·          Use expectancy theory to explain how to motivate a trainee to attend training.

·          Describe social learning theory and how it helps in the design of training.

·          Identify what to include in training to facilitate transfer of training to the workplace.

·          Identify the help that supervisors, peers, and trainers can provide back on the job to assist in the transfer of training.

·          Explain the relationship between the Gagné–Briggs theory of instruction and social learning theory.

·          Use elaboration theory and the Gagné–Briggs theory of instructional design to design a training session.

·          Describe the advantages a small business has to facilitate the transfer of training.


Case 1

Mechanics from dealerships across the country attended a three day training session put on by the manufacturer. The cost of the training, including travel and lodging was split between the manufacturer and the dealerships. The focus of the training was on the electrical systems in three lines of automobiles. Given the number of trainees, it would have been too expensive to provide three automobiles for each mechanic to work on and it would be nearly impossible to find a facility large enough to do so. So the training was designed for the instructor to give instruction on the various systems and then to pose various problems that might occur. The trainees would then try to identify the symptoms that would result. For example, the problem might be given as “The car has a burned-out capacitor.” The trainees would then try to identify the symptoms that would appear (e.g., High current surge demands on the vehicle’s electrical systems can damage the electrical system, including the battery, alternator and voltage regulator.). The training covered a wide range of electrical problems and the mechanics rated the program highly as they left. When doing a follow-up evaluation, the training director was disappointed to learn that the dealerships reported that their mechanics showed no improvement in trouble shooting electrical problems.

Case 2

You are the training director for a training program designed to prepare people to become certified as program managers. The training is divided into five sections. Each section consists of two days of training for each of four weeks. Each section has a different trainer who is an expert in the content of that section. At the end of each week, the trainees take a test to measure what they have learned. You’ve just reviewed the results of the last four cohorts to have completed the training. You are surprised to notice that the trainees did poorly on the first exam but then did considerably better on the second and third exams. Then the trainees did poorly on the fourth, but improved on the fifth and sixth. This trend continued throughout the 20 weeks, even for the brightest trainees. You wonder “What is going on here?


The design phase of training is a process of identifying the set of specifications that will be used in the development phase for creating the training modules. It creates the guidelines that need to be followed when creating the content, delivery process and materials to be used for the training. In the simplest terms, the design phase answers the following questions:

·         • Why is training needed?

·         • Who will be trained?

·         • What are the training objectives, and what methods will be used?

·         • When and where will training take place?

·         • What are the overarching guidelines that need to be followed to facilitate the learning of the material and its transfer to the job?

The model of the design phase at the start of the chapter provides an overview of the process and guides our discussion in this chapter. The training needs analysis (TNA) results, along with organizational constraints and learning theories, are the inputs into the design phase. These inputs are used to determine the learning objectives—the process part of the model. The first of the three outputs for this phase is to determine the factors that facilitate learning and transfer of training, which is discussed in this chapter. Learning theory is used for identifying how to best facilitate learning and transfer. The other two outputs that come from the design phase are discussed in separate chapters. Identifying the most appropriate method of instruction is discussed in Chapters 6 and 7. Determining the methods for evaluating the training is discussed briefly here, and in much more detail in Chapter 9.

In summary, training needs, and an understanding of the constraints placed on the training process are the inputs into the first step of the design phase—developing objectives. The objectives you develop are then used to drive the rest of this phase and subsequent phases (development, implementation, and evaluation). Decisions we make about how best to facilitate learning and transfer integrate what we know about how people learn (learning theory) with what they need to learn (training objectives). From there, we move on to the next phase and develop the appropriate training, taking into consideration the constraints (money, time, facilities, etc.) we face. Suppose that an HRD department completed a TNA that identified that supervisors need training in effective communication skills. Objectives for the training would be developed on the basis of specific KSAs that were required for effective performance. These objectives would identify what the training is to achieve. But, before developing the objectives, the organizational constraints need to be addressed (you need to know the constraints in order to develop realistic objectives). So, we must address the following types of issues:

·         • Time allotted for the training

·         • Number of trainees to be trained at the same time

·         • Timing of the training—regular hours or overtime

·         • Voluntary or mandatory training

·         • Location of the training

·         • Identification of training program personnel

·         • Financial resources needed

Organizational constraints will influence many of these decisions. For example, if the HRD department does not have the resources to develop the program, or if supervisors cannot be off the job for more than a half-day, then these factors will help shape what the training will look like and how it will be offered.


In a perfect world, it would be possible to develop the perfect training program for every training need identified. For supervisors who need effective communication training, you could develop a two-week intensive training package using the most effective methods with plenty of practice built in. Reality prevails, however, and you must consider the constraints on training design. Many of these constraints influence the type of training that can be offered. Table 5-1 provides a list of some of these constraints and various ways to approach training design on the basis of these constraints. This list is not exhaustive and serves only as an example of the ways in which organizational constraints affect the methods and approaches used to meet the 

training needs. We discuss two major categories of constraints: organizational/environmental and trainee population. Each affects the issue of whether to train and the type of training that can be offered.

TABLE 5-1 Some Organizational Constraints and Ways of Dealing with Them


Suggestion for How to Handle

Need high level of simulationa because:


  Law (fire drills)


  Task is critical to the job (police firing a gun)

Incorporate longer lead times to prepare simulations/role-plays.

  Mistakes are costly (airline pilot)

Purchase simulators.

Differences among trainees


  Trainees vary in amount of experience

Consider modularization.

  Trainees have large differences in ability levels

Use programmed instruction—Have high level of trainer–trainee interaction.

  Mix of employees and new hires trained on a new procedure

Consider different training programs because of possible negative transfer for employees but not for new hires.

Long lag between end of training and use of skill on the job

Distribute practice through the lag. Provide refresher material or models for the employees to follow.

Short lead time

Use external consultant or packaged training.

Bias against a type of training (e.g., role-play)

Develop proof of effectiveness into the training package. Use another method.

Few trainees available at any one time

Use electronic-based training.b

Small organization with limited funds

Hire consultant or purchase training—Join consortium.

a This constraint results when you are forced to provide a more costly training program involving simulators or costly practice sessions, and so forth.

b There are a variety of e-learning approaches discussed in Chapter 7 that provide self-paced learning.

Organizational Priorities

Budgets generally are limited, so choices must be made about who gets trained and what type of training they receive. One way of making these decisions is to use the strategic direction of the organization to set priorities. The strategic plan provides a rationale for determining who gets how much of what kind of training. Recall the Domtar case presented in Chapter 1. The “Domtar difference” was “tapping the intelligence of the experts, our employees.” The tactic for doing this was the introduction of Kaizen. Clearly, then, training dollars will be marked for such training given that it is a primary operating principle. The next decision is to determine whether Domtar plans to use internal resources for the training or hire outside consultants. Here, they decided to hire someone with the expertise and bring them in-house to oversee a major undertaking—the training of all employees in the Kaizen method. This is again based on an organizational constraint since the required expertise was not present in Domtar.

Even if the organization does not have a clear strategic plan in place, the top managers in human resources (HR) can establish priorities by meeting with senior executives. Such meetings help define HR and HRD priorities and determine how to put resources in line with the direction of the company. A side benefit is that the process might stimulate top management to engage in strategic planning.

The technological sophistication of the organization affects the type of training that can be offered. If, as in the Domtar case, there are many locations, and each location has access to computer networks or videoconferencing, the type of training you can offer will be different from that offered by an organization without these capabilities.

Decisions about training priorities also must follow the law. As discussed in Chapter 1, some training is mandated by law. For example, a 2010 study noted that 90 percent of organizations surveyed provided mandatory or compliance type training and 13 percent expected the amount they provide to go up.1 A little over 60 percent of this training is provided on line.

Budgeting for Training

The budgeting process presented here is from the perspective of the HRD department that charges its customers (departments in the organization) for the services that HRD provides. Charging for services is occurring more frequently in organizations because HRD departments are being asked to justify their existence just like other departments. In fact, in some cases, they are expected to market their training outside and inside the organization.2 This budgeting process is, for the most part, similar to that used by an outside consultant bidding on a project. So, when providing estimates, understand that departments are competing for resources and that the estimate must be as accurate as possible. Otherwise, the department could lose the training to an outside consultant or have the training cancelled due to cost.

In creating a budget for a particular training program, estimates of training cost can be difficult to determine accurately. Because the budget estimate is often expected before a needs assessment is completed (or even begun), providing budgets for several scenarios is helpful to decision makers. Before a TNA, there is not really a clear idea of what, or how much, training is required. So how to start? Begin with the triggering event, as explained in Chapter 4. Provide budget estimates for different training scenarios or deal with this issue the way it was done in the Fabrics, Inc., example presented at the end of Chapter 4. In the Fabrics case the consultant offered to do a TNA at a given cost, providing the company with a clearer idea of what would be required. To avoid any ethical issues the consultant offered to bid on any training that might result from the TNA in competition with any other consultants Fabrics might consider. The resulting bids would be more accurate because the issues were identified and the type of training required would be clearer.

Once the objectives of training are determined, it is necessary to estimate the amount of time it will take to design and develop the training for delivery. The more accurate this estimate is, the more accurate the costing will be, and the more credibility the department will have with clients. The length of the training program (how long it takes to actually deliver the training) is often used for estimating the length of time to prepare. However, the ratio of preparation time to training time varies a great deal. It can range from 10:1, if much of the material is in some form of readiness, to 300:1, if it is computer-based, multimedia training with little already prepared. In many cases, when training is requested, the client wants a proposed training solution and its associated costs quickly.

We have provided a relatively easy and quick way to estimate the time required in developing a training program. This guide is shown in Table 5-2. To make a rough calculation of the length of time it will take to develop the training, begin by estimating the number of days of training that will be required. Typically this will be based on the amount of material that needs to be covered. However, sometimes a company will place a limit on the number of days or hours of training. Multiply that number by 2 as a starting point for the time it will take for designing and developing (D/D) the training. Then you need to factor in how skilled the person is who will be doing the D/D and how well they understand the subject matter. Circle the number in the right-hand column of rows 2 and 3 that is your best estimate of these characteristics. Then multiply the numbers in rows 1–3 together to get the minimum D/D estimate and enter that number in row M. Then go through items 4–10 and write down the number; this is your best estimate for that factor. Now, add up the numbers you have written down for rows 4–10, and put that number in the space next to Additional (A) Design/development Days Required. Add this number to the number you calculated for M. That is the approximate number of days it will take. Obviously, this is just an estimate, and the actual time required will depend on the accuracy of your estimates as well as other issues not addressed here. But it should give you a good general idea of the amount of design and development time you’ll need in order to deliver the program.

TABLE 5-2 Estimating the Time Required to Design and Develop Training

For lines 2-11, circle the number in the right hand box that reflects the level of the factor for the training you are developing.

Factors to Be Considered

Level of Time Required


·         1. Number of Days of Training

Determine the amount of material that must be covered and convert that into the estimated days of training needed.

Typically you should figure on 2 days of design/development (D/D) work for every day of delivered training.

Enter D/D days here _______

·         2. Designer/Developer’s Skill in Training Design/Development

1 = high 1.5 = medium 2 = low

·         3. Designer/Developer’s Understanding of Subject Matter

1 = high 1.5 = medium 2 = low

·         M Multiply the numbers for items 1, 2 and 3 and enter the result in the box to the right. This will give you an estimate of the number of days required.

Minimum (M) days

M =______

·         4. Size of Largest Group to be Trained

(Little to no additional design/development time is needed when delivering the same training to multiple groups)

0 = small (less than 10)

1.5 = medium (10-25)

2 = large (26 or more)

·         5. Group’s Diversity of KSA in Topic Area

0 = very homogenous

1 = moderately diverse

2 = very diverse

·         6. Diversity of Learning Styles in Group

0 = very homogenous

1 = moderately diverse

2 = very diverse

·         7. Amount of Participation Needing to be Designed & Developed

0 = none 1 = some

2 = a moderate amount

3 = a great deal

·         8. Complexity of Training Material

0 = not at all complex

1 = moderately complex

2 = complex

3 = highly complex

·         9. Requirements for handouts and other AV material. Determine the number appropriate for your training, with “0” being the lowest and “3” the highest.

0 = simple Xerox sheets and basic AV material

3 = many professionally developed high grade manuals handouts and AV presentations

·         10. Degree of Client Collaboration and Input

0 = none

1 = minimal

2 = approval of each module

4 = multiple levels of approval needed.

·         11. Now Add items 4 through 10 and place total in the box to the right next to A This will give you the additional days necessary to complete the design and development of training.

Additional (A) Design/development Days Required = _______

Total required time to design and develop the training is: M + A = _________

Note: Total D/D days required are arrived at by adding M (items 1,2, and 3 multiplied together) to A (total sum of lines 4–11).

Imagine calculating the bid on a one-day workshop on effective communication and the training designer is relatively inexperienced. Using Table 5-2, you check “low” for rows two and three. Your DD score will be 2 × 1 = 2, and your M score will then be 8 (2 × 2 × 2). Now let’s move down to box 4, the largest group you will train is 16 people (= 1.5). For box 5, you know the trainees are moderately diverse in their communication KSAs (= 1.5), and for box 6, you believe there are a very diverse range of learning styles (= 2). To improve skills you are going to have to have design/develop numerous ways of generating active practice as well as trainee participation in discussions. So, for box 7, your number will be three. For box 8, the training will be moderately complex (1). Your A/V materials (box 9) are going to be basic (slides, training manual, and handouts) so you would circle a 1 in this box. You will need to get approval (box 10) from the client on each module of the training (= 2). So, adding these together you have 12 additional days. Add this to the minimum you estimated at 8 days and you have 20 days of design and development work to produce a single day of training. As you can see it can take quite a bit of time to design and develop an effective day of training from scratch. However, your estimates will depend on the experience and resources available to your D/D person. A seasoned training design specialist has the advantage of her past efforts and a considerable amount of D/D time can be reduced by drawing on and using past efforts, or the efforts of other training designers within the organization. For example, the training might require a lot of participation and activities, but the seasoned designer wouldn’t have to design and develop these because she has already done this for previous training programs. All she will need to do is make some minor modifications to adapt them for this specific training. The point here is that judgment will need to be exercised in assigning the numbers to the boxes.

TABLE 5-3 Proposal for Developing a One-Day Workshop on Effective Communication


Time (Days)

Rate ($)

Total Amount ($)

Interview relevant employees to determine issues and context to develop training (or review needs analysis and follow up where necessary).




Develop objectives and guidelines for developing training, including identifying appropriate strategies to facilitate learning and transfer; also develop evaluation objectives.




Create content, organize module sequencing, organize content within modules, and so on.




Develop training materials on the basis of objectives. Develop exercises and activities to engage trainees and reinforce learning.




Develop basic training manual, handouts and so on.




Collaboration and miscellaneous expenses




Total cost for design and development




A simple calculation on overall cost could be done on the basis of this information, but it might seem high to those not knowing what is involved in the development of training. So it is useful to have some sort of breakdown, as depicted in Table 5-3. With such estimates, it is a good idea to build in a contingency fund of about 10 percent, to help cover unforeseen costs. This portion is indicated under “miscellaneous.” The “rate” should include both the trainer’s fee and overhead costs. In the example depicted in Table 5-3, if the training were presented only once, the cost of designing and developing the training package would be $3,400. Remember that this is only part of the cost for the training. However, this is a one-time cost. If it is to be offered 10 times, then the total cost of the development can be amortized over the 10 sessions, making its cost per session or per employee much less. The cost in the table is based on using an internal design/development specialist making about $50,000/year. If an external consultant is used the cost would likely be five to ten times higher.

TABLE 5-4 Training Costs for Grievance-Reduction Training

Developmental Costs


1. 20 days of director’s time at $50,000 per year

$  4,000

2. 5 days of trainer’s time at $30,000 per year

$    600

3. Materials

$  1,000

Direct Costs


1. 5 days of trainer’s time at $30,000 per year

$    600

2. Training facility rental for 5 days at $150 per day

$    750

3. Materials and equipment

$  2,000

4. Coffee, juice, and muffins

$    600

Indirect Costs


1. 1 day of trainer preparation at $30,000 per year

$    120

2. 3 days of administrative preparation at $20,000 per year

$    240

Participant Compensation


1. 30 supervisors attending 5-day workshop (average $35,000/year)

$ 21,000

Evaluation Costs


1. 6 days of evaluator’s time at $30,000 per year

$    720

2. Materials

$    800

Total Training Costs

$    32,430

Note: Calculations for the personnel costs are based on a 250-day work year.

So far, we have dealt only with the developmental costs associated with training. Direct costs associated with delivering the training (trainer compensation, travel, facilities, food and beverages, and so forth), indirect costs, overhead costs, participant compensation, and evaluation costs must also be included to determine the total cost. For an example of a more inclusive estimate of the total costs associated with delivering a training program, see Table 5-4.

Trainee Population

What if the TNA identifies two or more subgroups with the same learning objectives but different levels of knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSAs)? It is difficult to develop a single training program to meet all their needs. Going back to our supervisors who need the communication training, what if the TNA indicated that half of them previously received training in active listening and were reasonably proficient in it? The effective communication model we plan to use in the training of supervisors involves five steps, the first of which is active listening. The training could be designed in a modular manner to provide only the relevant modules to each subgroup. In our supervisor example, the first module would be skill building in the active listening process, and only those not already proficient would need to attend. Then all of the supervisors would receive the effective communication training, with the understanding that all were proficient in the active listening portion of the model.

Sometimes the needs analysis identifies a wide variability in the KSAs of the target population. In this case, the training design could provide individualized instruction, accomplished through computer-based or video instruction, although both take a long time to develop. Another alternative would be to allow for small classes and a high level of interaction between the instructor and each trainee.

Often your trainee population will have a wide variety of learning styles. This is an organizational constraint that we will discuss in more depth later in this chapter. You will have to take this into account as you design your training. Likewise, in some instances you may find that trainees hold negative feelings about a particular training technique. One way of dealing with this constraint is to use a different technique that trainees feel more positively about. Alternatively, if the technique is the best approach to achieving the desired learning, the design could build in attitude-change modules at the beginning. We found, for example, that many managers do not want to role-play in training. We often hear arguments such as “This is silly,” or “These never work.” One way to handle this resistance is simply to call it something different. The term play, for some, suggests that it is not serious learning. Sometimes when we present the technique, we suggest it is time for some “behavioral practice.” This simple change in terms causes the exercise to be received more positively. The point here is that if, through the needs analysis, it is discovered that a particular method of training is disliked because of past experience or word of mouth, the training design should include a way of changing the perception or another method should be used.

While organizational constraints influence most aspects of the training process, they can have a real impact on the development of the training objectives. As stated earlier, it would be wonderful if we could always deliver the perfect training to satisfy the training needs. Unfortunately, we face constraints on what we are able to do, thus the objectives we set for training must realistically reflect what is achievable. The organizational priorities, the budget available, the nature of the employees needing training, and so on, will place limits on what can be achieved. Once you have general idea of how the organizational constraints will be accommodated and have a general understanding of what can be achieved, you will need to refine that into clear objective statements and a set of specific guidelines for how the training program is to be developed. The next section focuses on the development of objectives.


TABLE 5-5 Types of Training Objectives

Trainee Reaction Objectives

Describes the desired attitudinal and subjective evaluations of training by the trainee

Learning Objectives

Describes the type of behavior that will demonstrate the learning, the conditions under which the behavior must occur, and the criteria that will signify that a sufficient level of learning has occurred

Transfer of Training Objectives

Describes the job behaviors that will be affected by training, the conditions under which those behaviors must occur, and the criteria that will signify that a sufficient transfer of learning from training to the job has occurred

Organizational Outcome Objectives

Describes the organizational outcomes that will be affected by the transfer of learning to the job and the criteria that will signify that organizational outcome objectives were achieved.

The term training objectives refers to all the objectives that are developed for the training program. There are generally four types of training objectives: reaction, learning, transfer of training, and organizational outcome (see Table 5-5). Reaction objectives refer to the objectives set for how trainees should feel about the training and their learning environment. Learning objectives describe the KSAs that trainees are expected to acquire throughout the training program and the ways that learning will be demonstrated. Transfer of training objectives describes the changes in job behavior that are expected to occur as a result of transferring the KSAs gained in training to the trainee’s job. Organizational outcome objectives describe the outcomes that the organization can expect from the changes in the trainees’ job behavior as a result of the learning. Ideally, a training program would develop objectives in all four areas.

Creating Objectives

The TNA is a critical part of determining what the objectives of training should be. As part of the TNA you have integrated the results of the organization, operation, and person analyses to identify the relevant performance gaps that should be addressed by training and the KSAs causing those gaps.

From this information, we set the learning objectives, transfer of training objectives, and organizational outcome objectives. Trainee reaction objectives can be linked to the person analysis but also to the key aspects of your training design and development such as satisfaction with the value and relevance of the training. We will discuss what should be included in the reaction objectives following our discussion of the learning objectives.

Although the content of the various types of objectives differs, the structure and process of developing good objective statements is the same. Objectives are statements about what is expected to be accomplished. A good objective has three components:3

·         1. Desired outcome: What should be expected to occur?

·         2. Conditions: Under what conditions is the outcome expected to occur?

·         3. Standards: What criteria signify that the outcome is acceptable?

It is difficult to write good objectives. You must take care to ensure that the three components are specified in unambiguous terms and that the full range of expectations is addressed.

Writing a Good Learning Objective

We focus attention on learning objectives for two reasons:

·         1. Learning objectives are often the most difficult to write.

·         2. Learning is training’s first priority. Unless trainees learn what they are supposed to learn, the performance gaps will not be reduced or eliminated.

Clearly articulated learning objectives are a critical first step in developing an effective training program. Learning can be observed only through its influence on behavior. Thus, when writing a learning objective, think not only about what will be learned but also about how the learning will be demonstrated.


The desired behavior must be worded clearly and unambiguously. Anyone reading the objective should be able to understand what the learner will be required to do to demonstrate that she learned the KSA. A learning objective that states, “After completing the training, the trainees will understand how to splice electrical wire” is ambiguous. It fails to specify what trainee behavior will indicate that the trainee “understands.” Recall that just a few sentences ago we said—think not only about what will be learned but also about how the learning will be demonstrated. A clearer learning objective would be: “will be able to splice electrical wires of any gauge.” This statement indicates what the learner should be able to do at the end of training. Consider another example: “The trainee will be able to differentiate (by sorting into two piles) between computer chips that are within specification and those that are outside of specification.” Here the behavior is clear, but not how the trainee is expected to differentiate between the computer chips. Will the trainees have gauges to work with? Will they have to be able to tell the difference by simply looking at the chips? The conditions under which the person will sort the chips are not stated.


Explaining the conditions under which the behavior must occur further clarifies exactly what is required. In the preceding example, it is not clear what, if any, aids will be 

available to the trainee to determine whether the computer chips are within specifications. Providing the conditions makes the objective even clearer: “Using an ohmmeter and a chart, the trainee will be able to differentiate (by sorting into two piles) between computer chips that are within specification and those that are outside of specification.”

A description of the conditions (assistance or barriers) under which the desired behavior will be performed should be provided when creating objectives. For example, the statement “Using an ohmmeter and a chart” indicates the help that is provided. If the objective began with the phrase “Without the use of reference material,” it is clear that the trainee must discriminate between the chips without using any aids.

Writing in conditions is necessary in some cases but not in others. In the following example, it is critical to know that the pie charts must be developed using a specific software package: “Present the results of an accounting problem in pie chart form, using the Harvard Graphics software.” Objectives often begin with the phrase, “After completing the training, the trainee will.…” This is a condition, as it states when the behavior will occur. However, for transfer of training and organizational objectives, the point at which the objectives are achieved and measured typically doesn’t occur until sometime after training has ended, so this should be included in these objectives. For example, a transfer of training objective might read as follows: “Six weeks after the completion of training, the rate of incorrectly sorted computer chips will drop from the pretraining rate of 3 percent to less than 0.01 percent.” Conditions should be included only if they help clarify what is required.


Standards are the criteria for success. Three potential standards are accuracy, quality, and speed. For example, a learning objective might define accuracy as “being able to take a reading off an altimeter with an error of no more than three meters.” A quality standard might be indicated by the statement “is within engineering specifications 99.9 percent of the time.” Or, if speed is a critical concern, “will be completed in 15 minutes or less.”

Here are a few examples of learning objectives for a telephone repairperson. The desired behavior is bolded, the conditions are italicized, and the standards are underlined.

·          Using a drop wire, bushing, and connector, but without the use of a manual, the trainee will splice a drop wire meeting the standards set out in the manual.

·          Using a standard climbing harness and spikes, the trainee will climb a standard telephone pole within five minutes, following all safety procedures.

·          The trainee will splice, according to code, six sets of wires in ten minutes while at the top of a telephone pole wearing all standard safety gear.


The outcome specifies the type of behavior; the conditions state where, when, and what tools will be used; and standards describe the criteria for judging the adequacy of the behavior. Remember that a learning objective should state clearly what the result of the training will be. Here are the steps to follow:

·          Write out the “desired behavior.” Here, the verb needs to describe clearly what will be done: A “doing” verb is used to indicate some action. Do not use the word understand. Always make sure that the verb describes an action. Examples of “doing” verbs are provided in Table 5-6.

·          Now add the conditions under which the behavior must be performed. This description encompasses the use or nonuse of aids. So “using an ohmmeter,” “using reference material provided,” “using a standard climbing harness and spikes,” “while at the top of a telephone pole,” “without the use of a manual,” “without the use of a calculator” are all examples of conditions that would be expected in certain situations.

·          Finally, it needs to be clear what standards for success will be used. How will the trainee know that he successfully completed the training? What level of accuracy is required? Is quality or speed an important part of success? “According to code,” “following all safety procedures,” “within five minutes,” “according to the manual” “within 15 minutes,” “with no more than three errors,” and “obtaining a score of 80 percent” are all possible standards.

TABLE 5-6 Types of Doing Verbs


Analyze, cite, compare, define, describe, distinguish, explain, identify, list, provide, name, quote, reproduce


Assemble, compute, construct, count, design, demonstrate, eliminate, install, list, measure, operate, place, recite, replace, solve, sort


Align, belong, choose, commit, criticize, decide, praise

Now, to test whether the learning objective is effective, ask someone to read it and explain exactly what she believes a trainee needs to do, under what conditions, and how the trainee will know if she is successful. If the person can articulate these factors, the learning objective is a good one.

TABLE 5-7 Learning Objectives Improved



Upon completion of training, the trainee

Upon completion of training, the trainee

Will be able to apply theories of motivation to different situations.

Will be able, after reading a scenario of an unmotivated trainee, to identify orally what she would do to motivate the trainee, and explain which theory she used and why. The explanation must identify at least three motivators and tie them to correct theory. The trainee must do the above on four of five scenarios, without the use of any outside material.

Will be able to recognize and identify different personalities, and know how to motivate them.

Will be able to watch a fellow trainee role-play a situation and correctly explain in writing what type of personality is being exhibited and what to do to motivate the trainee. Trainee must be 100% correct on the personality and identify at least two motivators.

Will understand what is necessary to have an effective team.

Will be able to correctly list five things that are required for an effective team and explain why they are necessary.

Will have knowledge of three types of active listening, and will be able to use the appropriate one in a particular situation.

Will be able to correctly identify in writing, three of the active listening techniques that were identified in training and match them with the appropriate situation.


In a role-play, will be able to respond verbally to an angry comment using one of the appropriate active listening types, and orally explain which was used and why.

Will be able to say no to boss and peers when asked to do extra work.

After reading a scenario in which the trainee is asked to do extra work which is not possible to complete, will be able to correctly use an appropriate way of saying “no” and explain which technique was used and why, with 100% accuracy.

Will be able to give an 5-minute oral presentation on a topic provided by the instructor using all the skills taught

After being given a topic by the trainer and 15 minutes to prepare a presentation, will give an oral presentation on the topic. The trainee will cover all the major points, use no more than three 3 × 5 cue cards; have fewer than five dysfluencies, maintain eye contact with the audience for a minimum of 4 minutes 30 seconds, and follow the guidelines for an effective presentation with an opening, body, and closing.

Table 5-7 provides some examples of poorly written learning objectives followed by an improved version. For some practice in writing a good learning objective, cover the right column of Table 5-7 and read the poorly written learning objective on the left side of the table. Improve this objective using the formula. Now check the right side for an example of how the objective can be improved. How did you do? Now do the remaining objectives, as this will provide good practice for writing effective learning objectives.

The other three types of objectives listed in Table 5-5 require similar components. For example, a transfer of training objective might read as follows:

·          After completing training, participants, at their regular job station and using an ohmmeter and a chart, will be able to separate acceptable (within specifications) from unacceptable (outside specifications) computer chips with an accuracy of 99.99 percent while sorting a minimum of 10 chips per minute.


Sometimes attitudes, in addition to knowledge and skills, are the focus of training. How do you write a learning objective for an attitude? When the goal of training is attitude change, the focus of training activities is to provide the trainees with information that contradicts inappropriate attitudes and supports more appropriate attitudes. Thus, training does not focus on changing attitudes specifically, but rather on providing new knowledge. This new knowledge might consist of alternative views and information related to attitudes. Therefore, learning objectives for attitude change should focus on acquisition of the relevant information rather than on the resulting attitude change.

Consider training that is attempting to improve attitudes toward teamwork in a group of trainees who all scored below the midpoint on a TNA teamwork awareness survey. In this case, the learning objective might read as follows: At the end of training, trainees will demonstrate an increased awareness of the positive aspects of teamwork (new knowledge) as demonstrated by a 50 percent improvement on the team awareness survey.

Recall that the reason we want to affect an attitude is to influence behavior. In this example, we want trainees to have positive attitudes so that once they are back in the workplace, they will participate fully in team meetings and provide input. The transfer of training objective in this case might be “Eight weeks after completing training, the participants will have attended all team meetings and, using the skills taught, provide ideas and suggestions in those meetings.” Another might be “Eight weeks after completing training, the participants’ performance rating in team meetings (as rated by other team members) will average one point higher than before training.”


At times you will need to communicate only a short statement of what the training is intended to accomplish. This is called a purpose statement. The purpose statement is used to synthesize the individual training objectives into one clear statement regarding what the training will be all about. This can be useful when first communicating with trainees or others about an upcoming training program (invitations, announcements, and the like). In these initial communications, you want to convey the overall purpose of the training without getting into the detail of the individual objectives. So, the purpose statement should describe what the trainee will be able to do as a result of the training but should not contain all of the detail in the formal objectives. For example, if the previous section of this chapter were to be converted into a training workshop, some of the formal training objectives might be those described next.

Given a set of training needs, organizational priorities, and constraints, the trainees, at the end of training, using notes and materials from the training, will be able to

·         1. Identify all the training needs that should be met by the training

·         2. Write effective learning objectives for each of the needs that meet the guidelines specified in the training (i.e., behavior, standards, and conditions)

·         3. Write effective transfer of training objectives for the needs that meet the guidelines specified in the training (i.e., behavior, standards, and conditions)

·         4. Write effective organizational objectives for the training that meet the guidelines specified in the training (i.e., observable changes in outcomes, standards, and conditions)

The purpose statement might read as follows: “The purpose of the Writing Training Objectives workshop is to provide participants with the ability to construct training objectives that effectively facilitate the design, development, and evaluation of training.” This conveys the essential purpose of the training in a simple and straightforward manner. However, as we indicate in the following section, there are significant advantages to communicating the specific objectives to various audiences.


Developing good learning objectives takes time, effort, and careful thought. Why not spend that time constructively developing the actual training? In fact, some HRD specialists seriously question the value of specific learning objectives.4 Some concerns about the use of objectives include the following:

·          Waste of valuable time

·          Inhibited flexibility

·          Focus moved from other areas

·          Unrealistic for management training and other soft areas of training

·          Not practical in today’s workplace

We respectfully disagree with those HRD specialists regarding the first concern; the argument is that resources are often scarce and the time taken to develop the objectives takes away from more important endeavors. On the face of it, this generalization might be true, but the objectives guide the development of training. They might even result in less time to develop the training because of the clear guidelines objectives provide. Go back and look at the objectives in Table 5-7. Note in the “After” column how much clearer the focus is regarding “what will be trained” as compared with the “Before” column.

Some suggest that objectives inhibit the trainer’s flexibility to respond to trainee needs. The counterargument here is that a comprehensive TNA is designed to determine trainees’ needs and that the objectives focus specifically on those needs. They do, perhaps, inhibit the trainer’s flexibility to go off on tangents that she might like to pursue, but adhering to a focused direction is a positive thing. Moving the focus from other areas is again the point of having objectives. The idea is to keep the focus on the topics identified in the TNA.

Some argue that concrete objectives are not possible in management training or areas such as time management or interpersonal skills.5 We note that whatever the training, the goal is to achieve certain outcomes, and those outcomes need to be translated into objectives. With time management, for example, you want trainees to gain some cognitive knowledge about strategies for time management. The purpose is for them to develop skills to use in the workplace. Trainees must know the skills before they can transfer them into the workplace. So articulating an objective that states, “At the end of training, trainees will demonstrate time management skills by completing an in-basket exercise within 45 minutes and be able to provide an appropriate time management rationale for each decision” makes perfect sense.

Finally, some say that objectives have outlived their usefulness, and they are too specific for today’s complex jobs.6 They say that we need to find methods that are better at determining what is required for effective performance. Although this reasoning might be true at a more macro level, the purpose of objectives as a guide for training development is still valid. The complexities of the job will surface during a TNA, but it is still necessary in any job to have competence in specific KSAs to be an effective performer.

The majority of HRD specialists agree with us that training objectives are important from the following stakeholders’ perspectives:

·          Trainee

·          Designer of training

·          Trainer

·          Evaluator of training

The Trainee

Training objectives benefit trainees because they

·          reduce anxiety related to the unknown,

·          focus attention, and

·          increase the likelihood that the trainees will be successful in training.

High levels of anxiety can negatively affect learning.7 Not knowing what to expect in a situation creates anxiety. Training objectives provide a clear understanding of what will be taking place over the training period. This reduces the anxiety felt from not knowing what to expect. The objectives also focus attention on relevant topics to be trained, which, recalling social learning theory in Chapter 3, is the important first step to learning. Thus, from a learning theory perspective, it is important to let the trainee know what the performance expectations are and be able to refer to them throughout the training. Also, as was indicated in Chapter 3, this information will assist the learner in both focusing attention and cognitively organizing the new information. A key here is to make sure that your objectives are easily understood. Recall the formula for writing good objectives: You should check to make sure the objectives are clear and understandable. Finally, learning objectives increase relevant learning8 and the likelihood that trainees will be successful in training. This makes sense according to goal-setting research,9 which indicates that when specific and challenging goals are set, the probability is higher that these will be achieved than when no goal is set or an instruction to “do the best you can” is given.10 A goal is what a learning objective is.

The Training Designer

The learning objectives guide the designer of the training or the purchaser of a training package. The objectives directly translate the training needs into training outcomes. With clear objectives, training methods and content can be checked against the objectives to ensure that they are consistent. Furthermore, evidence shows that following learning objectives results in the development of better lesson plans.11

Suppose the designer is told to “design training to provide salespeople with skills in customer service.” Does the designer design a course in interpersonal skills so that salespeople learn how to be friendly and upbeat? Does the designer design a course in product knowledge so that the salesperson can provide information about the various products and their features to customers? Does the designer design a course in technical expertise so that salespeople can assist customers in getting the product to work effectively? Consider the learning objective that reads, “After completing training, participants will, using paraphrasing or decoding and feedback (desired outcome), respond to an angry customer (conditions), suggesting two alternative remedies judged by the customer to be appropriate for resolving the problem (standard).” This learning objective provides a clear, unambiguous goal for the designer. The designer can then design a course in active listening (paraphrasing, decoding, and feedback), with the focus on dealing with angry customers. Without that guidance, the training might not be designed appropriately.

The Trainer

With clear learning objectives, the trainer can facilitate the learning process more effectively. Clear, specific objectives allow the trainer to more readily determine how well the trainees are progressing and thus make the appropriate adjustments. In addition, the trainer can highlight the relationship of particular segments of the training to the objectives. Some trainers might see objectives as infringing on their freedom to train the way they want to. It is probably for those trainers that objectives do the most good, keeping the trainer on the right track.

The Evaluator

Evaluating training is much easier when objectives are used, because these objectives define the behaviors expected at the end of training. With no clear indication of what training is supposed to accomplish, an evaluator has no way to assess whether the training was effective. It is analogous to the army sergeant who tells the private, “Dig a hole here.” The private starts to dig and the sergeant walks away. After digging for a few minutes, the private begins to worry because he knows he’s in trouble. He doesn’t know how deep the hole should be, how long, wide, or anything else. When the private sees the platoon leader walk by, he asks him, “How am I doing on this hole, sir?” The platoon leader, of course, says, “How should I know?” When good objectives are developed, the evaluator simply needs to assess whether the stated outcomes and standards are met.


Recall from Figure 3-1 the formula for factors influencing performance (P = M × KSA × E). Many issues exist within each of these factors that will make it easier or more difficult for the trainee to achieve the learning objectives.


The TNA supplies information not only on the need for training but also on the trainees’ readiness for such training. Let’s take the example of employees recently hired or promoted. They were selected for their new job because of their KSAs, but they need some initial training to get them ready to perform in their new job (processes, procedures, and the like). Perfect selection techniques would ensure that these people have the requisite KSAs to be successful in training, but few selection techniques are perfect. Even the best selection practices result in a certain number of individuals who are selected but subsequently are not successful. If these false positives—those who are predicted to be successful but are not—can somehow be identified in the TNA, the design of training might be able to address the issues that would prevent them from being successful.

For example, some who are identified as in need of training might not have the requisite KSAs to make use of the training methods and materials that would be effective for 90 percent of the other potential trainees. Providing a preliminary training module for this group prior to the regular training might increase the likelihood of them successfully completing training.

The selection process sets minimum criteria (based on a job analysis) that individuals must meet to be selected. Even here, however, if all met those criteria, some individual differences in abilities would be evident. Some will show higher levels of the KSA in question, and others might not possess the minimum skills (e.g., false positive). Needs assessment data that show large differences among the potential trainees indicate that the training design must be adjusted to address the differences, which relates back to organizational constraints (Table 5-1). If the variance in KSAs is large, you need to consider a design that allows those with lower levels of the KSAs to “catch up.” Otherwise, the training reduces motivation for many by being too boring for some and too complex for others.

By not accounting for trainee differences, companies can be the losers. For example, there was an insurance company that hired a number of older workers for its call center.12 The company believed that an older voice could relate to older customers better. The older workers were sent through the company computer-training program. Many of them quit before completing training, and those who did stay were substandard performers. The company decided that it was simply a bad idea to hire older workers, as they were not capable of learning the new technology. After discussions with a consultant, the company decided to try again. This time, the training was extended. Trainers were able to work more closely with the older trainees. As a result, performance on the job after training was on par with that of the younger employees.

Just how important is the individual difference issue? Consider the following:

·          Increased ethnic diversity—Hispanics will become the largest minority group in the U.S. workforce by 2016.13

·          A very large portion of the workforce is made up of older workers.14

·          Women will continue to increase as a percentage of the workforce.15

·          New technology and government legislation in North America is making it easier for people with disabilities to enter the workforce.

These facts suggest an increasingly diverse workforce in North America. With this increase in diversity comes individual differences in ways of viewing the workplace and its norms and values. Care in the needs assessment to understand these differences will help tremendously in designing a successful training program.

Differences in Learning Styles

Individual differences also exist in how people learn.16 There are a number of different learning style models to choose from. A recent Google search turned up over 80 different inventories. Although each has a slightly different perspective based on the particular research premises of the authors, they do have much in common. We chose the Felder–Silverman model to use as an example of how different trainee learning styles can influence the effectiveness of the training. We chose this model because it is consistent with many other models and the scale has reasonable reliability and validity.17 In this model, there are four different dimensions of learner preference. Within each dimension, the learners will differ in their preference for how they like to learn. The different learning styles are described next.


Your preference for one style or the other may be strong, moderate, or mild. Everybody is sensing sometimes and intuitive sometimes. To be effective as a learner and problem solver, you need to be able to function both ways. If you overemphasize intuition, you may miss important details or make careless mistakes in calculations or hands-on work; if you overemphasize sensing, you may rely too much on memorization and familiar methods and not concentrate enough on understanding and innovative thinking.

·          Sensing learners don’t like training that doesn’t connect closely to practical application, tend to like learning facts, and prefer solving problems by well-established methods. They dislike complications and surprises. They are good at memorizing and are patient with details. They like hands-on learning opportunities. Sensors are more likely than intuitors to resent being tested on material that has not been explicitly covered in training.

·          Intuitive learners often prefer discovering possibilities and relationships, like innovation, and dislike repetition. They seem to be better at grasping new concepts and are often more comfortable than sensors with abstractions and mathematical formulations. Intuitors don’t like “plug-and-chug” courses that involve a lot of memorization and routine calculations.

How Can Trainers Help Sensors?

Sensors remember and understand information best if they can see how it connects to the real world. If you are training in an area where most of the material is abstract and theoretical, you may have difficulty. You can be helpful by providing specific examples of concepts and procedures and how they apply in practice.

How Can Trainers Help Intuitors?

If your training requires primarily memorization and plugging in formulas, you may have trouble with these trainees. Provide interpretations or theories that link the facts, or ask these trainees to find the connections. You should also create incentives for memorizing details and correct solutions (reinforcing the trainee for checking her completed solutions). Some type of competition (either among a group or individual improvement) might work well when the content of the training doesn’t match the intuitor’s preferred approach.


Visual learners remember best what they see—pictures, diagrams, flowcharts, time lines, films, and demonstrations. Verbal learners get more out of words—written and spoken explanations. Everyone learns more when information is presented both visually and verbally.

How Can Trainers Help Visual Learners?

The simple answer is to find diagrams, sketches, schematics, photographs, flow charts, or any other visual representation of course material that is predominantly visual. Even showing a short video of someone else presenting the material 

will help the visual learner. Prepare a concept map showing key points, enclosing them in boxes or circles, and drawing lines with arrows between concepts to show connections.

How Can Trainers Help Verbal Learners?

Have trainees write summaries or outlines of course material in their own words. Put trainees into groups where they can gain understanding of material by hearing others explain the concepts. The most learning will occur when the trainee does the explaining.


·          Sequential learners tend to gain understanding in linear steps, with each step following logically from the previous one. They are able to absorb and use material even though they do not understand the big picture, but the material has to be presented in a logical order.

·          Global learners are not able to absorb the details until they understand the big picture. Even then, they may not be great with the details. They tend to learn in large jumps, absorbing material almost randomly without seeing connections, and then suddenly “getting it.” They tend to be able to solve complex problems quickly or put things together in novel ways once they have grasped the big picture, but they may have difficulty explaining how they did it.

How Can Trainers Help Sequential Learners?

One useful technique here is to provide trainees with a copy of the lecture material with blank spaces in place of key terms and definitions. Ask trainees to fill in the blanks as the training progresses. At the end of the module, as a review, go through the blank spaces and ask the trainees to tell you what should be in the space. You can help strengthen the trainees’ global thinking skills by asking them to relate each new topic to things they already know.

How Can Trainers Help Global Learners?

Before beginning each module, indicate how that module fits into the overall purpose of the training. Follow this up with how the module fits into the world of the trainees. As indicated earlier, one way to do this is to get the trainees to make the connection between the new topic and things they already know. This helps the global learner to put the new topic into a familiar context and see the connections. Fortunately, there are steps you can take that may help you get the big picture more rapidly.


·          Active learners tend to retain and understand information best by doing something active with it—discussing or applying it or explaining it to others. These trainees want to try it out and see how it works because that’s how they most effectively process the new information (e.g., symbolic coding, cognitive organization, and symbolic rehearsal). Because they process information externally, these trainees like working in groups.

·          Reflective learners prefer to think about the new information before applying it. They are more comfortable processing the new information internally, before using it externally. These trainees prefer working alone so that they can complete their internal processing of the information.

·          Sitting through lectures without any activity except taking notes is hard for both learning types, but particularly hard for active learners.

How Can Trainers Help Active Learners?

Create time for group discussion or problem-solving activities as part of the training. If training requires work outside the classroom, have the trainees work in teams.

How Can Trainers Help Reflective Learners?

Before moving to group activities, have the trainees engage in individual thinking. At the end of each module, ask trainees questions about the content. Also, ask them to think of possible applications. It will also help this type of learner if you allow some time at the end of the module for them to write down a summary of the material in their own words.


Typically, a training class is filled with trainees that have a mix of preferred learning styles. If the training is of short duration, this will not matter too much. As noted earlier, everyone has the ability to learn material presented in their non-preferred style. However, if the training is more extensive, this becomes a problem as learners will “turn off” and stop learning because the cognitive load becomes too great (too much stress on the trainee’s cognitive processes). The most effective approach in this instance is to design the training to tap into the whole brain. That is, design in components to each module that cater to each of the learning styles. For example, your lecture covering the content of each module should be accompanied by lots of diagrams, graphs, charts, and such. Organize the lecture so that you start out with the big picture and then begin covering the details in a sequential manner. Create sets of exercises that ask the trainees to use memorized facts and details and other sets of exercises that ask them to identify relationships and possibilities. Some of these exercises should have the trainees actually using the material, and other exercises should have them thinking and reflecting on the material. As you can see, our advice here is to design the training to accommodate all styles of learning unless you have the luxury of limiting the trainees to a certain learning preference.

The individual difference issue is complex, and interactions are not easy to generalize to different situations.18 Note in Figure 5-1 that training design A produces better results for those at all levels of the particular trait, suggesting that training design A is the method of choice. In Figure 5-2, however, design A provides positive results for those high in the trait but not for those low in the trait. In contrast, training design B provides positive results for those low in the trait but not for those high in the trait. Ideally, those low in the trait should receive training design B, whereas those high in the trait should receive training design A. When you are not able to create separate programs for differences in traits, we are suggesting that you will want to design the training to accommodate the different traits as much as possible. This method offers the advantage of covering the same learning point in different ways, thus facilitating the learning process for everyone. Disadvantages include increased time to complete training and higher costs to design and develop the training than would be the case when simply providing one mode of instruction. However, this expense must be weighed against the cost of putting people through training who cannot learn the required KSAs.

An alternative is to create separate training programs designed around the traits of each group. Here, the training is tailored to the individual trait(s), but multiple training programs need to be designed, developed, and implemented. Time for each individual group to complete training is minimized, but the time for everyone to complete the training is higher and cost of development is high because the training is different for each group.


FIGURE 5-1 No Interaction Between Training Design and Individual Trait.


FIGURE 5-2 Individual Trait and Training Design Interaction.

Motivation of Trainee

As the performance formula (P = M × KSA × E) indicates, if motivation is lacking, no learning is likely to occur. Thus, training should be designed not only to provide KSAs but also to motivate trainees to learn those KSAs and apply them to their jobs.


Recall from Chapter 3self-efficacy (as it relates to training) is the feeling we have about our ability to successfully complete training. Those with high self-efficacy are not only more motivated to learn, but also more likely transfer the learning to the job.19 An individual’s self-efficacy is based on several factors. Recall from Chapter 3that these factors are a person’s prior experiences, feedback from others, behavior models, and emotional arousal. Three of these can be influenced prior to training; the fourth (prior experience) can be influenced during training, and will be discussed under “Elaboration Theory.”

So, how do we influence an employee’s self-efficacy prior to training? Let’s first look at feedback from others. Both supervisors and peers can play an important role here. They need to provide positive feedback regarding the employees skills, and indicate confidence in the employee’s ability to complete the training successfully. This will enhance an employee’s self-efficacy.20 How about behavioral models? We know self-efficacy can be improved through vicarious learning.21 So what we need to do is have the employee observe peers that are similar and who have successfully completed the training and transferred the learning to the job. Finally, we need to reduce anxiety (emotional arousal). Recall that one of the reasons for developing clear behavioral objectives is to reduce the anxiety of trainees. Getting these objectives to trainees early on (before actual training) would help to reduce anxiety, and improve an employee’s self-efficacy. Additionally, pre-training communications should be designed to put the trainees at ease about their ability to learn the material. So, an important part of any TNA should be to determine the trainees’ self-efficacy. For those who have low self–efficacy, consider using the methods above help raise it before training.

Suppose one of your older supervisors has poor relations with her subordinates. Sending her to training to provide her with better interpersonal skills is fruitless unless she believes she can master the skills being taught. The person analysis of the TNA indicates she has low self-efficacy. Being older, and set in her ways, she actually is quite sure that learning new interpersonal skills is hopeless. How can we help? First, have supervisors and peers tell her they are quite confident she can master the skills taught. They can point out other new approaches they have seen her learn. Second, provide her with the opportunity to observe and talk with some older supervisors who have completed the training and are successfully using the skills. Third, provide her with clear objectives for training ahead of time so she will not be anxious about the unknown. These three interventions can help to improve her self-efficacy (and resulting motivation) to succeed in the training.


Let’s return to the intervention mentioned earlier. We have a trainee who believes she cannot master the skills. The intervention before training provides her with information that shows that she can succeed in the training (increasing her self-efficacy regarding the training). In expectancy theory terms, we are influencing Expectancy 1 (E1, the belief that effort will lead to desired performance). Also, by clarifying the positive outcomes of training, we make trainees aware of what can be achieved by being successful in training. Finally, by showing that training increases the positive outcomes, we influence Expectancy 2 (E2, the belief that desired performance will lead to desired outcomes). Increasing the expectancies (1 and 2) and also the number of positive outcomes will have the net effect increasing motivation to be successful in training.

No one consciously goes systematically through all the steps suggested in expectancy theory to make a decision, but unconsciously, such a process does occur. Understanding the process helps focus on an important process that influences motivation. An example will illustrate the point. A TNA in the area that Bill supervises found productivity to be lower than expected. It was also found that Bill’s subordinates were afraid to talk to him about problems they experienced doing their work. An interview with Bill revealed that he believed that the best way to supervise was to be tough. “If they are afraid of what I might do to them if they screw up, they will work harder,” he said. Bill seemed to like the idea that subordinates were afraid of him. On the basis of this information, Bill was encouraged to attend a training workshop. The workshop covers active listening, effective feedback, and other skills designed to teach supervisors how to interact better with subordinates, peers, and superiors. Will he be motivated to learn these skills? Let’s look inside Bill’s head, as represented in Training in Action 5-1.

To answer the question of whether Bill will be motivated to learn, we need to examine the factors in expectancy theory. What does Bill consider to be possible outcomes of successful training, and what is the attractiveness (valence) of each of the outcomes? An examination of Training in Action 5-1 indicates that he sees promotion as one outcome, and it is a fairly attractive outcome (7 on a 10-point scale). Less stress is another outcome, but one not especially attractive (4 on a 10-point scale). Altogether Bill identified six outcomes that might occur if he is successful at training. If he is unsuccessful, he identifies three outcomes, and all three are attractive; the lowest is an 8 on a 10-point scale. Notice that Bill does not perceive that his training can have any effect on the productivity of his workgroup.

Now examine the likelihood that Bill believes that the outcomes he identified will actually occur (E2) if he is successful or unsuccessful in training. If successful in training (improves his interpersonal skills), the likelihood of his being promoted is low (0.2, or a 20 percent probability). The likelihood he will feel less stress is quite high at 0.8. All others are somewhere in between. If he is unsuccessful (does not learn the new skills), the probability that he will not have to change his behavior (he will behave in the same manner as before) is 1.0, or absolutely guaranteed. If he is not successful in training, no one would expect him to change his behavior. Similarly, because he has not changed his behavior, employees will still be afraid of him (probability of 1.0); he will be the same old Bill, and his peers will not ridicule him. As for Bill’s belief about his ability to complete training successfully, he believes that if he really tries, it (E1) is 0.5. If he does not try, he believes that the likelihood of being unsuccessful is 1.0, or guaranteed to happen. Let’s determine whether he is likely to try in training through the following calculations:


E 1 [ ( E 2 outcome 1 × V outcome 1 ) + ( E 2 outcome 2 × V outcome 2 ) +  + ( E 2 outcome 6 × V outcome 6 ) ]

where V is the valence or attractiveness of the outcome.

Will try in training

0.5 [ ( 0.2 × 7 ) + ( 0.6 × 8 ) + ( 0.7 × 6 ) + ( 0.8 × 4 ) + ( 0.4 × 7 ) + ( 0.6 × 9 ) ] = 10.9

Will not try in training

1.0 [ ( 1.0 × 10 ) + ( 1.0 × 8 ) + ( 1.0 × 9 ) ] = 27.0

On the basis of these calculations, it is clear that Bill will not be motivated to learn in the training. The motivation to not try is substantially higher than the motivation to try. What can be done to influence Bill to learn? A number of approaches can be taken. First, recall from Chapter 3 that expectancies are beliefs about the way things are. They can be influenced in many ways (e.g., past experience, communication from others). If Bill heard from other supervisors that the training was not difficult, he might change his belief about how difficult it would be to complete the training successfully (Expectancy 1). If Bill learned that supervisors who were successful in training were promoted more often than others, this information would influence Bill’s belief that if he completed training, he would get promoted (Expectancy 2). If those who go to training generally receive higher pay raises and Bill is not aware of this fact, make him aware of the relationship between training and the raise (Expectancy 2). This relationship will add an additional positive outcome to Bill’s calculations, with a high probability of occurring.

5-1 Training in Action Analysis of Bill’s Motivation

What are the outcomes Bill sees and their attractiveness (valence) to him (on a scale of 1 to 10) if he is successful in training versus if he is unsuccessful?

Outcomes If Successful


Outcomes If Not Successful




Does not have to change behavior


Better at job


Employees still afraid of him


Less tension between Bill and subordinates


Not ridiculed by coworkers for being a nice guy


Less feeling of stress




Better relationship with union




Fewer grievances




How likely is it that if Bill is successful or unsuccessful, these outcomes will actually occur (Expectancy 2)? These expectancies are based on Bill’s belief that they will occur and range from 0.0 (not at all likely to occur) to 1.0 (guaranteed to occur).

Outcomes If Successful

Expectancy 2


Outcomes If Not Successful

Expectancy 2





Does not have to change behavior



Better at job



Employees still afraid of him



Less tension between Bill and subordinates



Not ridiculed by coworkers for being a nice guy



Less feeling of stress






Better relationship with union






Fewer grievances






Finally, how likely does Bill think it is that he could learn the new skills if he really tried (Expectancy 1)? This likelihood is also expressed as a probability (0 to 1.0).

In this case, Bill believes that the skills will be difficult for him to learn, and he also believes that “leopards cannot change their spots.” Therefore, Bill believes that if he really tries, there is only a 0.5 chance that he will be successful. On the other hand, if he does not try, he definitely (1.0) will not learn or change his behavior.

It is also possible that Bill did not consider some potentially positive outcomes such as “Improved productivity in his area,” “Respect from upper management,” “Better relationship with family and friends” (because he also will be able to use the skills in his personal life), and “Better able to persuade others of his point of view.” Once made aware of these outcomes, depending on their attractiveness, the motivation may be altered to try rather than not. For example, “Respect of upper management” might be a given (E2 = 1.0) for all those who successfully complete the training. If this outcome were highly attractive to Bill, it would go a long way toward changing the decision to “try.”

Other ways to influence Bill’s motivation to learn can focus on enhancing Expectancies 1 and 2 and clarifying the types of outcomes that will result from successful training. As Bill’s supervisor, you could do the following:22

·          Discuss Bill’s job performance and job-related goals and reach agreement that he needs to improve some set of KSAs to achieve those goals. Providing focus on goals presents specific outcomes that the trainee might not have considered.

·          Agree that this particular training program is the best alternative available for achieving the desired improvement (Expectancy 1).

·          Agree that demonstrated improvement in the identified KSA area will result in desirable outcomes for him (Expectancy 2).

These steps should result in Bill’s realizing the advantages of successful training and should make his attitude more positive. In the design of training, therefore, it is important to include such pretraining interventions. An integral part of a training design might be working with the supervisors to ensure that the suggested discussions take place. In large organizations with well-organized HR functions, the trainee–supervisor discussions might take place in the formal performance review. A portion of any thorough review is the developmental aspect, which is useful for the supervisor to use with subordinates in determining training needs and increasing the motivation to learn.

As noted earlier, it is not likely that anyone consciously goes through the expectancy model process because many of the factors are not known. But the model is still useful. It provides evidence of the complexity of the motivational process and what factors to consider when meeting with a subordinate to discuss their development and motivate them to improve. Discussion regarding his desired outcomes, his belief in achieving them, and his beliefs about successfully completing training can assist in helping change the person’s perceptions and improve motivation, without resorting to the complex analysis mentioned earlier.


Classical Conditioning

Recall from Chapter 3 that classical conditioning takes place without awareness. We salivate when we smell something we like cooking because of prior learning. Emotional responses can be conditioned in a similar manner. A trainee who had bad experiences in school might feel anxious and even sick on entering a training room set up like a school classroom. Trainees who experience high stress in their jobs become conditioned to feel stressed when they arrive at work. Eventually, just seeing the building begins to create the stress because the two events are so often paired. Having someone in such an emotional state does not facilitate effective training, which might be a good reason to hold the training off-site for employees of this type. The point here is that some situations are associated with unpleasant emotional conditioned responses. Pleasant emotional responses are conditioned to other situations. When designing training, in most circumstances, you want to create situations that are pleasant. When the trainees are comfortable both physically and emotionally, they are better able to focus their attention on training. For these reasons, it is useful to know in advance as much about the trainee as possible.

Operant Conditioning

Recall from Chapter 3 that if a particular behavior is immediately followed by a reward, the behavior is likely to be repeated. Also, punishment that immediately follows a particular behavior will decrease the likelihood of that behavior continuing. The following are important points to consider in the design of effective training:

·          Know the things your trainees will see as rewarding and those that will be seen as punishing.

·          Plan to reward at lower levels for effort and at higher levels for success using successive approximations.

·          Use both tangible and intangible rewards. Do not underestimate the power of trainees learning how to self-reward. Sometimes trainers will give coupons to trainees as a recognition and reward for participating in training exercises. These coupons are then redeemed at the end of the day for prizes such as books and/or other mementos related to the training.

·          Do not forget that feedback is a reinforcer and key element in learning. Design feedback to show what the trainee did well and what needs improvement.

The following example illustrates these points.

Some trainees are reluctant to role-play. However, the role-play is an effective method for achieving behavior change. If role-plays are incorporated into the training design, it is important to ensure that positive reinforcement, rather than punishment, follows. For example, the two trainers might first act out a simple role-play to demonstrate how it is done. After it is over, the trainers thank each other and point out some positive things that each did during the role-play. They might then indicate that they would like someone to volunteer to do another simple role-play; when the trainee is finished, the trainer and the other trainees applaud the efforts. Of course, this approach is successful only if the applause is seen as both real and reinforcing. You might then give the trainee feedback, highlighting the positive things done, and present the trainee with a “participation ticket” that can be exchanged later for a training memento.


Goal-setting research consistently demonstrates that specific, challenging goals result in higher motivation levels than do no goals or the goal of “do the best you can.” Specific goals direct the individual’s energy and attention toward meeting the goal. Several conditions related to goal setting affect performance:23

·          Individuals who are given a specific, hard, or challenging goal perform better than those given specific easy goals, “do the best you can” goals, or no goals.

·          Goals appear to result in more predictable effects when they are given in specific terms rather than as vague intentions.

·          Goals must be matched to the ability of the individual so the person is likely to achieve it. Being able to achieve the goal is important for an individual’s self-efficacy, for that is how individuals judge their ability to perform well on the tasks. For this reason, the analyst will need to design intermediate goals that reflect progress.

·          Feedback concerning the degree to which the goal is being achieved is necessary for goal setting to have the desired effect.

·          For goal setting to be effective, the individual needs to accept the goal that is set.

What is the application of this goal-setting research to training? Well, what better way to capture the interest and attention of trainees than to provide them with individual goals? Learning objectives, discussed earlier, are a form of goal setting and could provide challenging, specific goals. These goals provide the measuring stick against which trainees can evaluate their progress and from which they derive self-satisfaction as they progress.


Goal orientation, although studied in children for years, has only recently been researched in an organizational context. It is the degree to which an individual is predisposed toward a learning goal orientation versus a performance goal orientation.24 Those with a learning goal orientation focus on the learning process. They seek challenging tasks to increase their competence, see negative feedback as important information to help them master the task, and see failure as a learning experience. One result from this learning goal orientation is persistence when having problems doing a complex task. Research shows that a learning goal orientation is associated with increases learning.25

Those with a performance goal orientation differ because they focus on the end result. They wish to be seen as competent and, therefore, desire favorable feedback. They prefer easier tasks where they are able to demonstrate their competence rather than learning something new. A result of having this performance goal orientation is avoidance of complex tasks for fear of failure, limited persistence, and a tendency to be easily distracted.26

In an organizational setting, those with a performance goal orientation have a strong desire to impress others and focus on the outcome of their performance. Those with a learning goal orientation focus on mastery of the task to develop their competence, acquire new skills, and learn from their experience.27 The research using goal orientation in an organizational/training setting has only been going on for a few years, but much of it concludes that it is better to have a learning goal orientation than a performance goal orientation in a training setting.28 In other words, the focus should be on the process of learning new things rather than on some end-product performance goal.

Although there is evidence that goal orientation is a trait, the trait can be influenced by the situation. In fact, it seems that as long as there are situational cues suggesting a focus on learning rather than performance, the situational cues will override the goal orientation trait.29 Furthermore, these findings tend to be supported when the task is complex and requires new knowledge and strategies.30

What has this to do with design of training? First, it provides support for designing the training of complex tasks with the simple examples before moving to the more complex. You will see how to do this later in the chapter, when we discuss elaboration theory (ET), a macro theory of training design. The use of simple tasks at the beginning will help negate the influence of goal orientation. Also, getting trainees to experience success early in training will lessen the effect of goal orientation. The use of practice and feedback will be useful in this regard. In active listening, for example, using the easiest situation possible for beginning to practice a new skill, providing positive feedback, and suggesting alternative methods of response keep the focus on learning. In summary, goal orientation seems to be a personal trait that is influenced by cues in the training environment. A training design that starts with the simplest examples and provides positive feedback should negate the negative effect of a performance goal orientation.

So far, we have discussed getting and keeping trainees interested in the training. Now let us examine how to facilitate the learning process. In this regard, a number of important factors need to be addressed when you are designing a training program. These factors will be presented under two headings: facilitation of learning and facilitation of transfer. Facilitation of transfer, of course, also helps facilitation of learning.


Developing effective training programs requires an understanding of how individuals learn.31 Learning is at the heart of training. In order to facilitate learning, we must make sure our training design accommodates the trainees’ learning processes. We do this by first looking at how effective training practices correspond to social learning theory (SLT). We then look at instructional design theory and see how the concepts from SLT are incorporated into an effective training design.

Social Learning Theory

As noted in Chapter 3, SLT provides a broad description of the process of learning yet is relatively easy to understand. Let’s examine the parts of SLT as they relate to training. Specific training events that correspond to the specific learning processes are illustrated in Table 5-8.


Social learning theory (see Figure 3-5 on page 73) indicates that the trainee’s motivation influences where attention is directed. Trainees attend to things in the environment that are most important to them. Thus, the learning environment and process should be structured so that the most important things are the learning events and materials. Attention distracters need to be removed and creature comforts attended to.

TABLE 5-8 Learning Processes and Corresponding Training Events

Learning Process

Training Events


Creating the learning environment, pretraining communications, statement of objectives and purpose, highlighting of key learning points



Activation of memory

Stimulation of prior related learning

  Symbolic coding and cognitive organization

Presentation of various encoding schemes and cognitive images, associations with previously learned material, order of presentation during training

  Symbolic rehearsal and cues for retrieval

Case studies, hypothetical scenarios, aids for transfer of learning (identical elements or general principles)

Behavioral Reproduction

Active and guided practice (role-plays and simulations)


Assessment and feedback (positive and/or negative)

Eliminating Distractions

The room should be at a comfortable temperature, not too hot or too cold. People are generally comfortable at a temperature between 71 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit, with a humidity level at about 50 percent. The walls should be a neutral but pleasant color, free from distracting objects (e.g., posters, notices, and pictures unrelated to training). The room should be soundproof. The room should have no view to the outside, but if the room has windows, close the shades or curtains. Ideally, the learning facility will be away from the workplace, so trainees can concentrate on learning rather than be sidetracked by what might be going on at work. If the training must be conducted at the work site, establish a rule that no interruptions are allowed (from bosses, subordinates, or others who “just need a few minutes with…”). This rule also means no phones, beepers, or other communication devices while training is being conducted. Communicating with the work area can be important, so the training facility should have a system for incoming messages that can be delivered to trainees during breaks and after completion of training.

The seating should be such that trainees will not become uncomfortable over a two-hour period, but not become so comfortable that they must fight off sleep. Choose comfortable, flexible, cloth-covered chairs with armrests. Trainees will also need a surface on which to place their training materials, for engaging in exercises and for writing. Sometimes it is not possible to address some of the elements we identified earlier. In those instances, it is important to let the trainees know that the situation prevents you from dealing with the issue. For example, if you are unable to control the room temperature, you might say something like “The temperature in the room is not adjustable and it might get a little warm. I’ve left the doors open so air can circulate, but if people walking by or talking in the hallway become a distraction I’ll need to close them. Please let me know if you are getting too warm and we’ll take a short break.”

Schedule training activities with the following rule in mind: “The brain can absorb only as much as the seat can endure.” Breaks should be scheduled so that trainees do not have to sit for too long at one time. Provide refreshments if trainees are likely to be hungry at the start of or during training. A growling stomach is a significant force in taking the trainee’s mind off the learning. Remember, food is a reinforcing, so it is important to create positive associations for training while keeping trainees attentive. If lunch is provided, it should be light and not contain large amounts of carbohydrates, which tend to make people drowsy. Also avoid turkey, because it is sleep inducing. Remember how you feel after a turkey dinner? Obviously, alcohol should not be available while training is going on.

Attracting Attention

The first steps in motivating your employees and setting their expectations are to notify them that they will be participating in the training, inform them of the nature of the training, and explain its job-related benefits. This pretraining communication should, at a minimum, state the purpose and agenda, the type of attire that is appropriate, and provide contact numbers in case there are questions. You should also inform them if refreshments are going to be available. At the outset of training you should state the learning objectives, and review them at strategic points throughout. Reiterating the objectives helps keep the focus of training on the desired outcomes and attention on the important training activities. However, it is not enough for the trainer simply to state the objectives from time to time. The trainees must accept those objectives. To this end, at the beginning of training, ask trainees to describe how accomplishing the objectives will lead to resolving job-related problems. This exercise not only focuses trainees’ attention on the learning objectives but also builds commitment that will facilitate the transfer of new KSAs back to the job.

In addition to accepting the learning objectives, trainees must also feel that the objectives are achievable. This principle comes directly from both expectancy theory and goal setting. The following is a way you can design achievable goals into the training. At the start of training, the overall objective might seem difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. Point out that the overall objective is just the final step in a series of obtainable sub-objectives. Research on goal setting suggests that following this procedure will result in higher levels of trainee learning.32 Suppose the purpose of a one-day seminar was to “use the conflict resolution model to calm an irate customer, without giving in to his request.” The thought of calming an irate customer using a method (conflict resolution model) that the trainees know nothing about might raise trainees’ anxiety level. An intermediate objective that stated, “Respond to a single angry comment using active listening,” does not seem as imposing and would provide a view of one of the steps toward reaching the overall objective.

Finally, the trainees’ attention should be focused on the critical aspects of each step in the learning process. Techniques for highlighting the important points should be built into the learning activities so that the appropriate material is processed into permanently stored information.33 The method of highlighting will vary according to the instructional method (e.g., case study, lecture). In the example of conflict resolution training discussed previously, suppose the training included a videotape of the correct steps. As the video progressed through the various stages of the conflict resolution model, these steps would flash on the bottom of the screen. This model begins with active listening, so as the video shows the person using active listening, “Active Listening” will be flashed on the bottom of the screen. This device would give the trainee an idea of how to perform each step and how the steps integrate into the total model.


An individual goes through four stages in the process of retaining something she is taught:

·         1. Activation of memory

·         2. Symbolic coding

·         3. Cognitive organization

·         4. Symbolic rehearsal and cues for retrieval

Activation of Memory

The Social Learning model does not identify the activation of memory as a separate process but includes this as a part of the symbolic coding process. We have separated these two processes to show how each is an important consideration in the design of training. Information that is attended to is transformed into symbolically coded (typically as language) long-term memory. From there, it is called up when the appropriate cues are present.34 Before the symbolic encoding process can begin, relevant prior learning must be stimulated, so connections between the new information and the old can be established. The trainer, through stimulating the recall of the relevant prerequisite learning or prior supportive learning, can facilitate this process.

Assume that the trainer has already discussed the various management styles and now wants the management trainees to learn the “relevant employee characteristics” for matching managerial style to the needs of the subordinate. The trainer can stimulate the recall of the prerequisite learning by asking the trainees, “Which employee characteristics are important for determining what management style to use?” Perhaps the trainees provide a few characteristics that are related to a few of the styles, but seem to have run out of ideas. Recalling supportive prior learning can be stimulated by asking the trainees to draw on related experience. In this case, the trainer might say, “Think back to employees you’ve dealt with in the past that seemed to have given you problems. What were their dominant characteristics? What would be an appropriate management style for you to adopt with them?” This activity would recall information supporting the new learning, providing a context for the new learning to occur.

Symbolic Coding and Cognitive Organization

Once the appropriate prior learning is recalled, the trainee is ready to encode the new information. The trainer can facilitate the encoding process through the technique of guided discovery. Typically, the trainer makes statements and then asks a question. Assume that the trainees just watched a video of a supervisor and a subordinate discussing the subordinate’s work performance. After watching the video the trainer might say, “Remember, certain employee characteristics are more closely related to how the employee approaches the work situation. In the video, how did the employee approach the work situation and what characteristics are most likely to influence this approach?” The statement is intended to stimulate relevant prior learning, and the question is designed to allow the trainee to discover the appropriate rule from the cues provided. The question should not contain all the information needed for the answer but should suggest a strategy for discovering the answer. The trainee develops a coding scheme that relates the new learning to prior learning by engaging in guided discovery with the trainer.

Encoding can be enhanced through the use of images, in addition to being coded as verbal propositions. When symbolic coding incorporates both verbal propositions and images, retention of the information is improved, probably because image retention and language retention occur through different cognitive channels.35 The addition of visual material in support of the oral and written language increases the trainees’ ability to remember the information. So, in communication training, when you are explaining what active listening is, the showing of a video of active listening being used will help the trainee to accurately code the concept.

Cognitive organization is intimately tied to symbolic coding. When you develop the materials and the flow of a training program, you should make sure the new learning builds on relevant older learning. This will help assure that the new learning is organized into the cognitive structure correctly. Similarly, the use of visual models that show how the information fits together will be very helpful in facilitating the cognitive organization of the new material.

As you design the flow of training, you want to help the learner organize the new material by providing various organizational strategies. Imagine a training program on conflict resolution. The model of conflict resolution has four steps; active listening, indicating respect, being assertive and providing information. The TNA indicated all trainees have had previous training in active listening. The training, therefore, will build on this prior knowledge. You might ask trainees to recall their active listening skills, and how using it might help in a conflict situation. This will provide a background for the other three steps and how they integrate into the prior learning, which helps in assuring cognitive organization.

Symbolic Rehearsal

Symbolic rehearsal is a type of practice. It is practicing in your mind, as when the trainer asks the trainees to imagine a hypothetical situation and discuss how they would behave. At this point, the trainees are not actually doing what they have learned to do—they are thinking, talking, or writing about it. Case studies provide one form of symbolic rehearsal. Trainees read about a situation and describe how they would handle the situation. See Training in Action 5-2 for a different way of providing an opportunity for symbolic rehearsal.

5-2 Training in Action Using Symbolic Rehearsal to Facilitate Retention

The following is a transcript from a training class regarding a Training Needs Analysis

·         Professor: That’s all I have to say about a TNA, does anyone have any questions?


·         Professor: OK I want you to imagine you are going to do a TNA for a small organization of about 50 employees. There is 1 manager (owner) 4 supervisors, and 3 clerical and 42 employees made up of welders, metal workers and laborers. The owner has asked you to come in and train her supervisors as they have had no supervisory training whatsoever. What I want you to do is first create a list of questions you would want to ask and who you would ask. Once you’ve done that, then in your groups discuss the questions and come up with a list to share with the rest of the class.

20 minutes elapse

·         Professor: So, how about Group 3, what have you come up with?

·         Burt: Well, we have lots of questions for the operational and person analysis, but as a group, we have disagreement as to the need to do an organizational analysis, so we have no questions in that category.

·         Professor: What about the other groups, is an organizational analysis necessary? Yes Jan.

·         Jan: We had the same argument, some of us think you always need to do an organizational analysis but a few of us disagreed. Those of us that believe it is necessary have generated some questions for the organizational analysis but there is still the disagreement as to its necessity.

·         Professor: What about your group Helen?

·         Helen: We have a number of organizational analysis questions as we all believed it is necessary to do all three levels of analysis whenever you are doing a TNA.

·         Professor: Alright let’s hear the reasons an organizational analysis is not necessary under these circumstances. OK Pat let’s hear from you.

·         Pat: Well it is a small organization and clearly the owner just wants us to provide some basic supervisory skills.

·         Professor: Helen, you obviously disagree, why?

·         Helen: Well even in a small organization there may be obstacles or poor feedback mechanisms in place that could be preventing supervisors from using effective supervisor skills they may already know. Or, even if they don’t have the skills these obstacles could be in place. When we train the supervisors in the appropriate skills, they would not be able to transfer the training because the obstacles or feedback issues haven’t been identified and dealt with. In that case, we would have wasted the company’s time and money.

·         Professor: Well does that make any sense to those why thought one might not be necessary?

I see a lot of you nodding your heads yes. So, do you see what happened here. By getting you to symbolically rehearse what you might do, and discussing this with your group, we identified an important issue that needed to be resolved. In SLT jargon we have made sure that all of you have symbolically coded and cognitively organized the material in an appropriate manner. I would think that now after this little exercise, we all understand the importance of the organizational analysis in all situations. Do you agree? Does anyone have anything to add?

·         Jan: Well I am glad we did this in class as it is an argument we would have definitely had in our groups eventually, given our project.

·         Professor: Good, yes Jan I agree, and this is but one more method to assure that symbolic coding and cognitive organization have taken place accurately. Now that we have accomplished that, let’s go through the questions you came up with for each of the categories and discuss them.


Behavioral reproduction is the transformation of the learning into actual behavior. Pilot training provides a clear example of the difference between behavioral reproduction and symbolic rehearsal. Pilots go through an extensive training process in learning how to fly a new aircraft. They read manuals, attend lectures, watch videos, and engage in computer-assisted, self-paced learning modules. Once a sufficient amount of learning occurs, 

the pilot trainees demonstrate their knowledge of procedures through discussions with the trainer and one another about what they would do in specific situations. Trainees are given written or visual scenarios and asked how they would respond. All of these activities are symbolic rehearsal. When trainees demonstrate sufficient cognitive command of the aircraft’s systems, procedures, and capabilities, they are put into flight simulators, which allow them to practice flying the aircraft. After they demonstrate competence flying the aircraft in simulation, they fly the actual aircraft under the supervision of an experienced pilot. The simulation and supervised flights are behavioral reproduction activities.

Design Theory

There are several theories related to the effective design of training. Some, such as component display theory,36 are specific only to cognitive learning, and others focus only on attitude change.37 For more information on these and many others, you should consult Instructional-Design Theories and Models, Volume III: Building a Common Knowledge Base by Charles Reigeluth.38 For our purposes, we will examine two design theories with a broader application: elaboration theory (ET),39 a macro theory of design, and the micro theory of Gagné and Briggs.40

Theories of training design are not theories in the traditional sense, because they do not predict cause-and-effect relationships. They prescribe methods of presenting what is to be learned in a way that enhances the likelihood that the learning will occur. So instructional design theories offer guidelines for designing effective training in terms of what techniques to use in what situations.41


Elaboration theory is a macro theory of design. It is based on a holistic alternative to the part/whole sequencing that is usually followed in training. This holistic approach is more meaningful and motivational for learners, because from the start they see and get to practice the complete task.42 It is relevant only for complex tasks (and is not applicable for the design of attitudinal training). To understand when to use ET, it is necessary to understand the issue of sequencing. Sequencing is the process of how to group and order the content of training. It is directed at facilitating the “cognitive organization” aspect of SLT.

If you are training employees in the use of several software packages (word processing, spreadsheet, e-mail use), sequencing is not important, and it does not matter which you teach first. If the operating system is Windows and it is a part of the training, it would be necessary to present it first (because all other programs require its use). In this case, sequencing is important. Sequencing is important only when a strong relationship exists among the topics of the course. So, if your training included producing charts from the spreadsheet program and integrating them into a necessary word processing document, some sequencing would be necessary.

For the purposes of training different topics, two sequencing strategies are possible: topical and spiral (see Figure 5-3). Topical sequencing requires the complete learning of one topic before moving to the next task. Spiral sequencing requires learning the basics of the first task, then the basics from the second task, and so on. After completing the basic understanding of all tasks, the learner moves to the second level of the first task to do the same thing. The advantages and disadvantages to each of these strategies are depicted in Table 5-9.

TABLE 5-9 Comparison of Topical and Spiral Sequencing





Concentrate on topic, no interference from other topic

Once learned, move to the next topic, and the first is forgotten


Built-in synthesis and review, interrelationships are more obvious and understood

Disruption of learner’s thought processes when moving to the next topic


FIGURE 5-3 Comparison of Topical and Spiral Sequencing

A training program is seldom all one or the other, but a combination of the two, depending on the relationships among the tasks being taught. Consider a weeklong workshop for supervisor training on topics such as effective feedback, effective communication, providing performance reviews, running an effective meeting, problem solving, and so forth. In sequencing these topics, it makes sense to have feedback and effective communication before performance reviews, because they will provide help in doing an effective performance review. They can also be taught separately, using topical sequencing strategy. Consider another topic—problem solving. If you were teaching a six-step problem-solving process, you might combine the methods of sequencing. Learning to define a problem correctly and brainstorming might be taught topically before the problem-solving model is presented because they are stand-alone topics. Then the six-step model could be taught using the spiral method. The learning process is facilitated, because some tasks are learned independently. The complexity of the overall problem-solving process and interrelationship among the steps suggest the use of the spiral approach.

Here is where ET comes in. Recall that it is only applicable to complex tasks and is based on what Charles Reigeluth calls the Simplifying Conditions Method (SCM). As he states:

·          Regarding complex tasks, the SCM sequencing strategy enables learners to understand tasks holistically.… Holistic understanding of the task results in the formation of a stable cognitive schema to which more complex capabilities and understanding can be assimilated.43

SCM is based on the notion that for all complex tasks, simple and more complex versions exist. Consider driving a car, which is considered a complex task. Driving in an empty lot is much less complex than driving on a freeway during rush hour.

The SCM is based on two parts, epitomizing and elaborating. Epitomizing is the process of identifying the simplest version of the task, which is still representative of the task as a whole. Elaborating is the process of identifying progressively more complex versions of the task. In the design of training, the epitomizing version of the task is taught first, followed by increasingly more complex (elaborating) versions of the task until the desired level of complexity is reached. Consider the job of air traffic controller. The task is complex; they must assist several aircraft landings under various weather conditions. Training would take place in a simulator when the computer would simulate aircraft landing at the airport. First, determine the epitome: the simplest version of the task possible while still representative of the complex task. It would be where only one aircraft is on the screen, no wind or other adverse weather conditions are present, and the pilot is responding perfectly to the trainee’s instructions (when told to turn to heading 040 and descend at 100 feet per minute, the pilot response is exactly that). Once this epitome is mastered, a number of elaborations of the task must be mastered, each more complex, until the complexity required on the job is reached. In the air traffic trainee’s situation, the first elaboration is to add a light crosswind, then perhaps errors in responses from the pilot (first regarding the heading, then both heading and descent). The final elaboration would be matched to the expectation of air traffic controller in the field.

The major advantage of this approach to training is that the more complete tasks are presented immediately, which should foster better understanding and motivate trainees as they immediately see the relationship between what they are learning and the job-related tasks. Evidence indicates that ET is not only effective but also appealing to trainees.44 Students wanting to know more about the theory and see actual examples of its use are referred to work by Carson and Curtis and others.45

This process of presenting the simplest form of the task (Epitomizing) and gradually presenting more complex forms (Elaborating) until the level of complexity needed is reached also helps the trainee develop a higher self-efficacy. Recall that earlier in the chapter, we discussed three of the four methods of improving a trainee’s self-efficacy. These could be done prior to training. The final method was personal experience. Personal successes (experience) through gradual presentation of the task to be learned; first in simplified form (epitome), and continued successes through the gradual increase in complexity (elaboration), leads to an increase in a trainee’s self-efficacy. So, using the elaboration theory to design your training accomplishes two things. First, such a design makes it easier to learn the concepts. Second, in allowing for consecutive successes, such a design actually helps improve a trainee’s self-efficacy.

Let’s go back to the older female supervisor who did not have a good relationship with her subordinates and was sure she could not learn the new interpersonal skills. Recall we suggested some ways to improve her self-efficacy prior to training. This would give her more confidence in believing she could in fact master the skills. Now, in training if we use epitome and elaboration of the skills (starting simple and moving slowly to more complex) she should have some early successes in using the skills, which will improve her self-efficacy even more. As a result, she would be more likely to not only learn the skills, but also transfer the skills to the job.


The Gagné–Briggs model of instructional design,46 discussed in Chapter 3, is applicable to cognitive, behavioral, and attitudinal learning. It provides a set of procedures to follow for each instructional event to enhance learning. The model identifies nine events of instruction, which are tied to social learning theory (see Table 5-10). Note that the first event in the theory of instructional design is “attention,” which parallels that of social learning theory. The next event, “informing of the objectives,” further activates a process of getting the trainees’ “attention” focused on training goals. Stimulating recall of prerequisite learning is one aspect of activating relevant memory. The one aspect of social learning theory (SLT) that is not addressed in the nine-step model is activation of motivation. As you may recall from SLT (see Figure 3-5 on page 73), motivation needs to be activated before learning can occur. So, in our discussion of the Gagné–Briggs model we have included an additional step that activates motivation to learn. This is why Table 5-10 is titled the “Revised Gagné–Briggs Nine Events of Instruction.” Let’s examine our ten events of instruction in more detail. Typically a training program consists of multiple modules that are integrated to meet the training objectives. It is important to remember as you go through the ten events that they can apply to each module of a training program.

TABLE 5-10 Relationship Between Revised Gagné–Briggs Nine Events of Instruction and Social Learning Theory


Social Learning Theory

Gagné–Briggs Nine Events of Instruction

Factors to Consider

Training Module (name of module)


Gain attention



Create/reinforce positive attitude toward training


Provide introductory comments to develop a relaxed atmosphere.



Inform trainee of goals

Describe the objectives for this module.


Activate Motivation to Learn

Not included



Discuss the value/relevance of achieving the goal.


As you are discussing the objectives for the module have trainees explain how they are related to the job. Draw out examples of how achieving the objective(s) will be of value. Use guided discovery technique if no or few examples are forthcoming.

During Module







Focus material on training


Symbolic coding

Stimulate recall of prior knowledge

Develop links between previous learning and the new learning (activation of memory).



Make relevant



Cognitive organization

Present material

Use multiple media and make interesting.



Make interesting

Ask questions to obtain trainee involvement.


Symbolic rehearsal

Provide guidance for learning

Get trainees involved (symbolic rehearsal).




Use relevant examples, and offer many of them.


Behavioral Reproduction/Reinforcement

Elicit performance

Encourage learning

Provide relevant activities that allow practice with the material (including maximum similarity and/or different situations).



Provide feedback

Provide time to evaluate performance level accomplished and provide feedback. Tell trainees how they are doing or design activity to provide feedback

Ending of Module





Ensure that trainees see results of training

Assess performance

Use an assessment tool (written or oral to determine if trainees have the KSAs). Allow trainees to indicate their comfort with the material. Ask for any questions.


Sensitize trainees to difficulty in transfer training

Enhance retention and transfer

Review objectives to show what was accomplished. Ask trainees to describe how this could apply to the workplace.

Gain Attention

Attention can be gained in several ways (raise voice, clap hands, or a comment such as “Now watch me carefully”), but is best when tied to the training at hand. If the training was in problem solving, for example, ask the question, “How do you go about solving a problem?” or “We have high absenteeism; what should we do about it?” These types of questions focus discussion on the types of problems trainees face and their typical problem-solving approaches. This initial focus leads nicely into the introduction of the problem-solving objectives. Another way to gain attention is to have the CEO/president welcome the trainees and indicate how important the training is to the future of the company. High-level support for training is always important, and when a key decision maker takes time to convey this support, it is especially effective in getting trainees’ attention.

Inform the Learner of the Goal or Objective

We covered learning objectives and their importance in depth. Clearly, this step is important in getting the trainee focused and aware of not only what needs to be learned, but also what will be required when training is complete. Also, it is useful to tie the training back to the job and how it will help trainees be better performers. Having done a TNA, you will find this an easy task.

Activate Motivation to Learn

This step is not included in the Gagné–Briggs model. However, it is a key process in SLT. Trainers need to activate the trainees’ motivation to learn the new material or learning will not occur. Remember that motivation is one of the three factors that determine whether someone will perform. In this case, performance is learning and without motivation, learning will not occur. One way to get trainees motivated to learn the new material is to tell them how relevant the training is to their job performance and how valuable the training will be to them. A better way would be to get the trainees to describe the training’s relevance and value. This can be accomplished in conjunction with the preceding step (informing of the goal) and the following step (recall of prior knowledge). For example, the trainer could ask trainees to think about problems they have experienced in their job (in the areas the training is targeting). She could then identify the training objectives and as she does, ask the trainees how achieving that objective would be of value. Using this approach the trainer should be able to provide the link between learning the new material and the on-the-job rewards that will follow (i.e., elimination of problems, easier to do, better performance and so on).

Stimulate Recall of Prior Relevant Knowledge

This step is important to ensure that the trainee has accessed the information/knowledge necessary for the learning that is about to take place. At the moment of learning, all relevant prerequisite capabilities must be highly accessible to be part of the learning event.47 Suppose “team problem solving” training is to be conducted. Previously, some brainstorming training and problem-definition training had been completed. Now trainees should be thinking about these topics so that the previous learning will be accessible to the problem-solving training. Ask for an explanation of brainstorming from a trainee, or focus a discussion on these two topics and show how they are related to the present learning task. Or simply review the two topics with a high level of participation from trainees.

Present Material to Be Learned

Material is presented in a logical and understandable format. This point seems obvious, but recall that what the trainer might think is obvious might not fit in the trainees’ schema. To ensure understanding, the method of instruction should include several questions designed to elicit responses from trainees regarding their level of understanding. Highlight important points with verbal emphasis (raise voice, slow down presentation for effect). Use easel sheets with bold print to highlight important learning points. Also, eliciting examples from trainees serves to ensure that trainees understand the material. The trainer in team problem solving should list the steps on an easel board for all to see, with the sub-steps provided under each of the main headings. Some simple examples of problems and the procedures to solve them could be on a video for effect. The video could be stopped at each step to highlight the step and the preparation for the next step. These examples reflect ways in which the organization and presentation of material assist the trainee in their symbolic coding and cognitive organization.

Provide Guidance for Learning

The key here is to guide the trainees to the appropriate answer/conclusion, not just to tell them the answer. Get trainees to examine the possibilities related to the topic, both right and wrong. When the solution is reached, the overall discussion will have helped trainees obtain an in-depth understanding of the topic. Provide them with a problem and ask for possible alternatives. For example, in problem-solving training, give trainees a problem such as “absenteeism is high” and ask them to “define the problem” (the first step in problem solving). This task gets trainees thinking and providing different perspectives. These different perspectives are shared, and all can assess (depending on whether the response was correct) their own level of understanding. Providing numerous examples allows the trainees to see the generality of the material to many situations. Asking for their examples confirms that the material is being put into the correct context.

Elicit the Performance

Here, trainees actually do it. For example, in the case of learning a problem-solving model, they now would work in teams to solve a real problem. The problem should be similar to or even the same problem they have been discussing all along. It should also be the simplest type of problem they are likely to come across. Until now, working through the solution was piecemeal; now, as a team, they do it as a whole integrated process without interaction with other teams or the trainer. Once they are successful, provide a more complex problem to solve—even suggest that they use one they previously encountered in their workplace.

Provide Feedback

Once the team completes a process, a feedback session as to how they did is essential. Feedback can be provided in numerous ways. Videotaping the session and going over it with the team (time-consuming), sitting in on parts of each meeting and providing feedback, or having another team watch and provide feedback are all methods used to provide feedback. The type you use will, to some extent, be a function of the time available and the number of trainees. Of course, designing a program in which training is spread over a number of weeks would allow for more individual feedback between training sessions, but the benefits must be weighed against the cost of trainer time. The important thing is that trainees know what they are doing right and wrong, and that they can make corrections before training is complete.

Assess Performance

The Gagné–Briggs theory indicates that learning should be assessed after each topic is taught. So, after training on effective feedback skills and before moving to performance appraisal training, you need to assess the learning that took place regarding feedback skills. The assessment need not be formal, especially when a formal evaluation may be planned for the end of the training program. But some method of determining whether the trainees learned the material is necessary. Questioning (for cognitive knowledge) is one way to assess this. Asking trainees for a behavioral response (a skill) is also a form of assessment. This approach has two purposes: It confirms that learning took place and provides for additional practice at recalling the knowledge or performing the skill.

Enhance Retention and Transfer

An important part of any training program is the transfer of the training to the job. Designing the program to facilitate retention and transfer is one of the more critical components of the training design. If the purpose of the training is cognitive knowledge, the opportunity for review (retrieval of the information) needs to be provided at spaced intervals after the training is complete. The same applies to skills. All of the support processes discussed earlier are relevant here. For an example of using the Gagné–Briggs design theory to develop training, see Table 5-11. This is an example of an introductory module of a multi-module training program designed to teach supervisors how to give feedback.

TABLE 5-11 Module for “Giving Effective Feedback” Using the Revised Gagné–Briggs Ten Step Model


Feedback Training

Gain attention

Ask questions of trainees to initiate interest in topic of feedback: “Who has received constructive feedback that they actually appreciated?” If some have, ask them what it was about the feedback that made it better than other feedback they received. If no one has, ask what it was about previous feedback that made them not appreciate it. Have a brief discussion about what is wrong with the typical feedback received and what would make it better.

Inform of goal

Show objectives and discuss; tie to previous discussion.

Activate motivation to learn:

Discuss the value/relevance of the objectives. Have the trainees identify how achieving the objectives will improve their ability to work with their subordinates, peers and supervisors.

Stimulate recall of prior knowledge

Ask “How do you behave when you are trying to help someone versus when you are disciplining them?” “How do you behave toward someone you are trying to help (helping is what feedback is all about)?” Get trainees to verbalize things they do such as “provide it in private,” “do it as soon as possible,” and so forth, to put them in a helping frame of mind with their rules for helping in their “working memory.”

Present material

Share a list of what makes for effective feedback—be specific, not general; be descriptive, not evaluative; and so forth. Present it on an easel sheet in bold. Provide examples for each item.

Provide guidance

Provide trainees with multiple examples (some good, some poor) and ask for input as to effectiveness. Give a handout sheet with a number of feedback statements, and ask trainees to rate their effectiveness. Get trainees in small groups to discuss their results and come up with a group consensus as to which are good and which are not so good. Have them provide a rationale. Now go through each and ask trainees to discuss this in terms of their responses.

Elicit performance

Performance here is cognitive knowledge about what is effective, and not effective feedback. Ask trainees to form groups of three. Have one of the three teach the others the rules of effective feedback with examples. Then switch, so each trainee has the opportunity to show that they know the information well enough to teach it to others and provide their own unique examples.

Provide feedback

The other two trainees receiving training complete an evaluation form giving feedback to the one doing the training (in the groups of three). The trainer also goes around to each group and provides feedback.

Assess performance

Conduct a quiz that asks trainees to recall the rules for effective feedback. Go through a list of feedback examples (similar to the ones earlier), and indicate which are effective, which are not effective, and why they were not effective.

Enhance retention and transfer

Trainees will be back to learn the behavioral component of training in a week. At that time, review will take place to facilitate retention.

Strategic Knowledge

In the past, training was designed to provide trainees with only the KSAs needed for their particular job. Many organizations found that more broadly based training leads to greater organizational effectiveness. In many cases, physical work is being replaced by knowledge work. An examination of some of North America’s best-managed companies found that the use of management teams was a common approach. This use of teams is on the increase all over Northern America. The Center for Study of Work Teams at the University of North Texas indicates that about 80 percent of the Fortune 500 companies use teams with half or more of their employees. To be effective in the team approach, employees need a broad understanding of how their jobs interact with other jobs. In these companies, job-specific training is supported with information about the job’s relationship to other parts of the organization. This type of training incorporates aspects of strategic knowledge development because it allows trainees to understand when and why to use their new KSAs.

Strategic knowledge development increases the breadth of what is learned by extending the training content to include learning when and why KSAs are appropriate and developing strategies for their use. The strategies that are developed revolve around the planning, monitoring, and modifying of behavior. The trainee learns not only how to perform the task but also how to behave strategically and adaptively. Table 5-12 compares a traditional skills training format with a strategic knowledge training format. You can see that the main difference is that the strategic knowledge training provides information as to when the skill is used and why it is important. Trainees are also provided with practice sessions in determining when to use the skill.


Transfer of training refers to how much of what is learned in training transfers to the job. Training can result in the following transfer outcomes:48

·          Positive transfer: a higher level of job performance,

·          Zero transfer: no change in job performance, or

·          Negative transfer: a lower level of job performance.

The goal is to have training result in positive transfer to the job.

Research into factors that influence transfer of training focuses on three areas: conditions of practice, identical elements, and stimulus variability. The research also provides evidence that the nature of feedback, the strategies used for retention, and goal setting can influence how well the training is transferred back to the job.

Conditions of Practice

Opportunities for trainees to practice can be designed in several ways. Each will facilitate the transfer of training more or less effectively depending on the nature of the KSAs to be learned.


Which is more effective—having trainees practice continuously for four hours, for one hour on four different days, or for a half hour on eight different days? Research demonstrated that material learned under the latter approach, spaced practice, is generally retained longer than is material learned under the first approach, massed practice.49 This finding is one of the most replicated in psychological research,50 and additional support was found for simple motor tasks in a recent meta-analytic review of the research.51 However, spaced practice requires a longer training cycle, and management generally resists it. Training departments need to become more creative in developing their training to allow for spaced practice. Instead of the traditional one-day workshop, eight one-hour sessions at the beginning of the workday might be possible. Instead of a five-day workshop, consider once a week for five weeks. This approach also gives trainees time to think about and even practice the knowledge or skill on their own.

Regarding more complex tasks, the research is less clear. A recent meta-analytic review suggests that using spaced practice for complex tasks is not as critical.52 Tasks that are difficult and complex seem to be performed better when massed practice is provided first, followed by briefer sessions with more frequent rest intervals.53 More recent work 
suggests that although there is no difference between the two with regard to acquisition of the complex task, spaced practice seems to inoculate trainees against skill loss over extended periods of nonuse.55

TABLE 5-12 Comparison of Traditional and Strategic Knowledge Training 54

Training Topic: Reading and Interpreting Quality Control Charts

Traditional Training

Strategic Knowledge Training

Step 1

Declarative Knowledge (what) is presented.

Trainees are told the purpose of the training and given specific objectives.

The different types of charts that are used in the work area and their purpose are explained.

The different components of the charts are presented with a brief explanation

Step 1

Declarative Knowledge (what) is presented in the same way as in traditional training.


Step 2

The context is presented. How the information from each of the charts is used to make decisions about production processes is explained. It is explained that if the trainees could read and interpret quality control data, mistakes would be caught earlier and the product saved instead of scrapped.

Step 2

Procedural Knowledge (how) is presented.

Trainees are guided in recalling required mathematics skills.

Then the information and materials required to master the task are presented. Trainees are shown how to create the charts during production and interpret them. Examples of charts with explanations are provided.

Step 3

Procedural Knowledge (how) is presented in the same was as traditional training, but with the following addition.

The context for the procedures is added by explaining why the procedures used to create the charts are important and the appropriate times for applying the procedures.

Step 3

Trainees practice using the charts and interpreting the results.

Step 4

Trainees practice using the charts and also are given exercises to allow practice in determining when and why to use them.

Workers are provided opportunities for rehearsal and reinforcement of both declarative and procedural knowledge.

Step 4

Trainees are given feedback.

Step 5

Trainees would be given feedback (same as in traditional training).


First we need to be clear that in most instances it is important to provide an explanation of the whole before getting into the details of the individual parts of the training material. The learner needs to understand the “big picture” to see how the facts, principles, and concepts that will be presented in each of the “parts” of the training relate to each other and to the job. A wall chart that visually depicts the overall structure and individual parts of the training will be useful to trainees as a reference as the training moves through its individual modules.

Once the big picture is understood, the question still remains, should the training be designed to teach everything together or should it be separated into its component parts? From the learner’s perspective this is termed part learning and whole learning. Whether trainees should learn parts of a task separately or learn the whole task all at once depends on whether the task can be logically divided into parts. In many cases, it is just too difficult to design part training.56 Whole training devices are much easier because the design can be modeled after the real device (e.g., pilot-training simulators). James Naylor suggests that even when the task can be divided into parts, the whole method is still preferred when

·          The intelligence of the trainee is high,

·          The training material is high in task organization but low in complexity, and

·          Practice is spaced rather than massed.57

Task organization relates to the degree to which the tasks are interrelated (highly dependent on each other). For example, in driving a car, the steering, braking, and acceleration are highly interdependent when you are turning a corner (high organization). Starting a standard-shift car, however, requires a number of tasks that are not as highly organized (pushing in the clutch, putting the gear shift in neutral, placing the foot on the accelerator, and turning the key to start). Task complexity relates to the level of difficulty of performing each task.58

In the design of training, it is often not practical to attempt to subdivide the task into meaningful parts. If it is possible to subdivide them, use the whole method if the task organization is high and use the part method if task organization is low.

As an example of high-task organization, imagine training a backhoe operator to dig a hole by first having her practice raising and lowering the boom, then moving the outer arm in and out, and finally moving the bucket. This sequence simply does not make sense. Ultimately the trainee has to learn how to open each of the valves concurrently and sequentially in the digging of a hole. An example of low-task organization is the maintenance of the backhoe. Here a number of tasks (check the teeth on the bucket, check the hydraulic oil, and inspect the boom for cracks) are not highly organized, so each could be taught separately.

A third option, progressive part training, can be used when tasks are not as clear in their organization. Consider the training of conflict resolution skills. Imagine that the model to be taught involves four steps (actively listen, indicate respect, be assertive, and provide information). These tasks are interdependent but might also be taught separately. In this case, a combination of the two types may make sense. The process is as follows:

·         1. The trainees learn and practice active listening.

·         2. Then the trainees learn and practice active listening and indicating respect.

·         3. Then the trainees learn and practice active listening, indicating respect, and being assertive.

·         4. Finally, the trainees learn and practice the whole model.

Whole, part, and a combination of the two (progressive part) learnings are represented in the following diagram:



Training Type

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 4

Phase 5


A + B + C + D

A + B + C + D

A + B + C + D

A + B + C + D

A + B + C + D






A + B + C + D

Progressive Part


A + B

A + B + C

A + B + C + D

A + B + C + D

As mentioned previously, “whole learning” is generally preferred. However, you will need to take into consideration the cognitive load that is being placed on your trainees. Cognitive load refers to the amount of mental processing that is needed for the trainee to learn the material. The less familiar the trainee is with the material, the more complex the material, and the more material there is to learn, the higher the cognitive load. Other factors such as stress, fatigue, low self-efficacy, and so forth, can also increase the cognitive load. Perhaps you’ve experienced the situation in which the instructor just presented a constant stream of facts, principles and concepts until you felt that you just couldn’t take anymore. At that point you probably shut down your processing of the information, feeling that your brain was overloaded. As a trainer you can avoid this type of situation by designing the material to be presented in organized and “right-sized” chunks. Allowing trainees to master smaller tasks (overlearning) leads to better learning of the whole.


Overlearning is the process of providing trainees with continued practice far beyond the point at which they perform the task successfully. The more a task is overlearned, the greater the retention.59

Overlearning is particularly valuable for tasks that are not used frequently or if the opportunity to practice them is limited. In a study of soldiers assembling and disassembling their weapons, the overlearning group received extra trials equal to the number of trials it took them to learn the task. The other group, called the refresher group, received the same extra number of trials as the overlearning group, but at a later date. The third group received no extra trials. The overlearning and refresher groups both outperformed the third group, but the overlearning group also retained more than the refresher group.60 Even when information or skills are overlearned, however, it is important to put mechanisms in place to reinforce the use and practice of the learned behaviors on a continual basis, especially when it is a newly learned knowledge or skill.61

When trainees practice a skill beyond the ability to simply do the task, the responses become more automatic and eventually do not require thinking. For this reason, overlearning is most valuable for tasks performed in high-intensity or high-stress situations such as emergencies. For example, one trainee recalls that numerous times during initial pilot training in the air force, the instructor would pull back the throttle of the aircraft and yell, “Emergency!” He did it frequently, and soon the trainee discovered that thinking was not even required—the emergency procedures became automatic. This reflexive nature is important in a situation where correct responses are critical.

In Chapter 1 we defined the concept of automaticity, a concept closely related to over-learning. It could be thought of as an outcome of overlearning, although it could also occur after a great deal of on-the-job practice. It is a shift to a point where performance of a task is fluid, requires little conscious effort, and, as the name implies, is “automatic.” Automaticity, through overlearning, should be designed into training when the task will be performed in high-stress situations, or those that are encountered infrequently but must be performed correctly.

Maximize Similarity

Maximizing similarity is also known as identical elements. The more the elements in the training design are identical to the actual work setting, the more likely it is that transfer will occur.62 Two areas of similarity are possible: the tasks to be performed and the environment in which they are to be performed. How to increase similarity? A newscaster reading the news on television must use a teleprompter (the task) while someone is talking to him via an earphone (environment). After the basic skill is learned, the trainees practice the skill in an environment similar to their actual workplace environment to ensure transfer. A machinist is exposed to the background noise of the factory floor and the interruptions common to the job. The secretary is exposed to the office noise and to the interruptions that occur in the office.

Vary the Situation

It is much easier to use the concept of identical elements for motor or technical skills, where most of the elements required for learning are in the job situation. When conceptual or administrative skills are required, as in management training, a great deal of variability often characterizes typical situations, and the use of identical elements simply is not effective. In such cases, the general principles approach is more useful.

General Principles

For much of management training, it is impossible to provide specific training for what to do in every situation that might arise. It is necessary, therefore, to provide a framework or context for what is being taught, which is what strategic knowledge training attempts to do. Training through general principles will better equip trainees to handle novel situations.

Suppose that in teaching managers how to motivate employees, you tell them that praise is a good motivator. A manager goes back to the job and begins praising workers. Some workers are not motivated and, in some cases, they even become less motivated. The manager is at a loss. If, however, the managers were taught some general principles about motivation, they would understand the responses they get and alter their own behavior. The principles related to expectancy theory suggest that certain rewards are attractive to some and not to others. Furthermore, it indicates that praise must be a function of performance to be motivating. The manager could think through these principles and identify what change was required to motivate those not responding to the praise. For some of these employees, the attractive outcome might be for the manager to say nothing and stay away when they perform at an appropriate level.

Other Considerations to Facilitate Transfer


Providing feedback (knowledge of results) to a trainee is important to learning and the transfer of training back to the job. Feedback performs three functions:63

·         1. It tells trainees whether their responses are correct, allowing for necessary adjustments in their behavior.

·         2. It makes the learning more interesting, encouraging trainees to continue.

·         3. It leads to specific goals for maintaining or improving performance.

When providing such feedback, it is better to indicate that the trainee can control the level of performance. Sometimes inexperienced trainers will try to be supportive by suggesting that the task is difficult, so any problems in mastering it are understandable.64 This approach reinforces low self-efficacy. Feedback indicating that a trainee can master the task improves a person’s self-efficacy, and trainees with high self-efficacy tend to be more motivated and achieve more.65

Frequent opportunities to provide feedback should be part of the training design. Providing feedback takes a rather long time if the group is large because the trainer needs to get to all trainees and monitor improvements. To help overcome this problem, other trainees can be used to provide feedback. For example, three-person groups can be used in interpersonal skills training. One of the three acts as an observer of the behavior and provides feedback to the person who is practicing.


A major reason that training does not transfer to the job is that, once back on the job, the trainee faces many of the same pressures that caused reduced effectiveness in the first place. Marx66 instituted a system of relapse prevention into his training, modeled after a successful approach to assisting addicts to resist returning to their addictive behavior.67 The strategy sensitizes trainees to the fact that relapse is likely, prepares them for it by having them identify high-risk situations that will result in relapse, and helps them develop coping strategies to prevent such a relapse.

Goal setting has also been shown to increase the likelihood of transfer.68 With goal setting, the trainees are required to meet with fellow trainees to discuss the goals and how they will accomplish them. Furthermore, trainees are required to keep a record of their goal accomplishments, return these records to the trainer, and promise to meet at a later date to discuss these accomplishments publicly. This public commitment, through documentation of behavior, discussions with fellow trainees, and monitoring by trainers, further increases the likelihood of transfer.

Some evidence shows that relapse prevention without goal setting is not always successful,69 so Marx incorporated both the goal setting and public commitment into his relapse prevention training.70 This revised relapse prevention training is presented in Table 5-13Table 5-14 presents some of the relapse prevention strategies (step 4 in Table 5-13) used in training. In preparation for relapse prevention training, trainees complete a relapse prevention worksheet (Figure 5-4)71to get them thinking of the issues involved.

TABLE 5-13 Seven-Step Relapse-Prevention Training 72



·         1. Choose a skill to retain

Helps manager to identify and quantify the skill chosen. Goal setting and monitoring of the skill require clear definitions of the skills, so this is an important step and often requires help from the trainer. “Be nice to my employees” is not clear enough and needs to be revised to something more concrete such as “Provide praise to employees when they meet their quota.”

·         2. Set goals

Once a skill has been defined and quantified, then appropriate definitions of what a slip (warning that goal is in jeopardy) and relapse (more serious disengagement from goal) are. From this, goals are set as to what is desired. For example, the goal might be to praise at least five employees a minimum of once a day when they meet their quotas. Then define what a slip is: “Two consecutive days where five employees are not praised”; and what a relapse is: “A week where targeted behavior is not met.”

·         3. Commit to retain the skill

Need to think about the reasons for maintaining the skill. Trainees write out advantages of maintaining the skills.

·         4. Learn coping (relapse prevention) strategies

These strategies help increase awareness of potential trouble spots, how to respond emotionally and behaviorally, where to get help, and so forth.

·         5. Identify likely circumstances for first relapse

The trainees are asked to think of a situation that would most likely cause them to slip back to old behavior. Prepares them for when it really happens and provides a nice transition to the next step, which is practice.

·         6. Practice coping (relapse prevention) strategies

With an understanding of what will cause a slip, trainees work in small groups practicing (using role-plays, and so forth) how to maintain the skill in such situations.

·         7. Learn to monitor target skill

Develop feedback mechanisms to help you monitor the frequency of using the specified skill. Use of whiteboard in office or notepad where you can check off each time you use the skill.

TABLE 5-14 Coping Strategies for Relapse Prevention



Understand the relapse process

By understanding that relapses are common and can be expected, it better prepares the trainee for such events. When a slip or relapse occurs, it is expected.

Recognize difference between training and the work setting

In training, there is often a lot of positive feedback from peers and the trainer. This creates some overconfidence about how easy it will be to continue with the new skill when back on the job. However, you need to think about the likelihood that this attention and feedback will not happen back on the job, so realize that the transfer will be more difficult.

Create an effective support network on the job

Identify and enlist others who can support you back on the job. Peers who have also attended the same training and superiors who are supportive can be asked to provide you with needed feedback on how you are doing.

Identify high-risk situations

Determine times and situations where you are likely to slip back to old behavior. These cognitive “fire drills” help you determine cues that signal a potential slip.

Reduce emotional reactions that interfere with learning

Understanding that there will be slips and not reacting with feelings of failure, or tendency to blame the poor training. These responses are self-defeating, and being aware that they are likely to occur prepares you to take them in stride. Realize that it is a part of the learning process and does not reflect poorly on you or the training

Diagnose specific support skills necessary to retain new skill

Determine what support skills are necessary to assist in the transfer of the trained skill. Consider the skill of allowing the team, rather than the supervisor, to make the decisions. This is difficult to change, and the skill of time management is an important collateral skill. If you are always running behind, the tendency to make the decisions yourself or push the team to hurry will interfere with the taught skill. You need to be aware of this and, if necessary, also get training in the collateral skills.

Identify organizational support for skill retention

Determine who in the organization will support the skill, and actively seek them out for assistance in providing feedback. Ask supervisor to give feedback even if initially, the supervisor is not that interested in doing so.

This combination of relapse prevention and goal setting is a powerful tool for encouraging transfer. The relapse part uses both cognitive and behavioral components to facilitate long-term maintenance of the newly learned behaviors.73Trainees leave the training expecting that relapse is a strong possibility, but possessing a repertoire of coping responses to deal with it. The addition of the goal setting and public commitment further provides an incentive for transfer. Recent research indicates this method is particularly effective where the climate for the transfer is not supportive.74


FIGURE 5-4 Relapse Prevention Worksheet


In Chapter 4, we noted that once a performance gap is identified, the next step is to determine how much of the gap is a function of inadequate KSAs and how much arises from other factors. Remember what Nancy Gordon from Ameritech said, that many of these gaps are a function of organizational forces and not a lack of KSAs. Just as these forces can interfere with effective performance, they can also interfere with new learning and inhibit transfer. To increase the likelihood of transfer, therefore, it is useful to harness as much help as possible back on the job.

Supervisor Support

Supervisor support is one of the key determining factors for the transfer of training.75 Supervisors need to understand the behaviors being trained and provide support for trainees who use these new behaviors back on the job. In addition, research indicates that transfer is more likely when supervisors provide trainees with desired outcomes upon successful completion of training.76 These actions on the part of supervisors will go a long way toward facilitating transfer.

Supervisors also can affect their employees’ learning and transfer of training in other ways. If employees who are motivated to improve (involved in their own development) receive support from their supervisors for such developmental activity, this support enhances their motivation.77 Also, motivation to learn can be enhanced when employees understand realistic information regarding the benefits of their development activities.78 Two other factors that affect motivation to learn are the employee’s perception of training relevance and reduction of negative side effects (like work that piles up) of attending training.79 These two factors can also be controlled, to a great extent, by the supervisor.

Peer Support

Research indicates that peer support can also have a positive effect on transfer of training.80 If the trainee is the only one from a department who receives training, peers back on the job might not understand how to provide social support. In some climates, this situation could result in pressure from more experienced peers to “forget all that stuff.” With the right climate, however, peers can provide the proper support to use the training. What is the right climate? Learning must be considered an integral aspect of the organization’s ongoing operation, becoming part of the employees’ and managers’ responsibilities. If everyone is involved in the learning process, it continues beyond the classroom. Most important, all employees must understand and support overall organizational objectives. By involving the entire workgroup in training, the resulting peer pressure will support company goals and objectives. With this type of climate, it is possible to use peer support in a more formalized manner. Peers could be considered potential coaches. Although it is the supervisor who is generally thought of as a coach to help recently trained employees transfer their skills to the workplace, experienced peers can also take on this role.81The peers would receive training as coaches and be provided with specific checklists to evaluate trainees periodically on their performance. In addition, more experienced peers can serve as mentors, willing to answer questions and provide advice, guidance, and support to remedy the difficulties trainees may encounter in applying the new skills to the work situation.

We discuss strategies for dealing with different climates in a later section. For now, it is sufficient to note that it is the training department’s responsibility to inform upper management of the advantages of creating such a climate if the goal is to encourage transfer of training.

Trainer Support

Conventional wisdom is that the trainer’s job is done when training is over. More recent research, however, demonstrates the value of continued trainer involvement in the transfer of training. Trainees who commit to meet the trainer and other trainees at some later date to discuss transfer of training use the training more effectively.82 Thus, value derives from the continued involvement of the trainer, who can be a useful resource in helping trainees work through any problems encountered in the workplace.

In this regard, one idea is to have trainers monitor trainees at some point after training to assess how they are doing and provide feedback.83 The trainer sits in and observes the trainee in a situation where she is required to use the trained behavior. To be effective, the sit-in must be

·          voluntary on the part of the trainee,

·          confidential between the trainer and trainee, and

·          only for developmental purposes, not administrative

During the sit-in, the trainer must not interrupt the interaction between the trainee and others and provide feedback only after the session is over. After all, “Who is better to be coaching the trainee on behaviors that were learned in training than the trainer?”84

Using the trainer in a follow-up to facilitate transfer of training might spread the trainers rather thin. However, it is important to consider the investment already made in training. If transfer does not occur, the investment is lost.

Reward Systems

As noted earlier, valued outcomes contingent upon successful training enhance training transfer.85 Operant conditioning is a powerful regulator of behavior. Employees are quite adept at determining which behaviors can get them in trouble, bring them rewards, or result in their being left alone. If trained behaviors are not reinforced, then the likelihood is small that such behaviors will be exhibited. Part of the trainer’s responsibility is to work with the supervisor and other parts of the organization to align reward systems to support the behaviors learned in training.

Climate and Culture

Using a systems approach to training, you facilitate transfer of learning by focusing as many forces as possible on reinforcing the learned behaviors. Although supervisors, peers, and reward systems all influence an organization’s climate and culture, these factors need to be discussed in their own right.


Climate can influence the transfer of training.86 Climate is generally conceptualized as the perception of salient characteristics of the organization.87 Such salient characteristics as company policies, reward systems, and management behaviors are important in determining the organizational climate. Supervisor support and peer support are part of the total climate that will reinforce the use of the trained skills, but they alone do not make up an organization’s climate. Other climate factors such as company policies and the attitudes reflected by upper management regarding training, if positive, will also support the transfer of training. Consider how trainees perceive training. If they believe adequate resources (time and money) went into the development of training, trainees are more motivated to attend and learn. The message here is that the company cares enough about this training to devote valued resources. If these characteristics do not describe the climate, it might be better not to offer training at all.88 Cultivating such a supportive climate toward training is important and does facilitate transfer.89

Climate is related to, and in many ways reflects, the culture of an organization. When asked, “What is useful in promoting transfer of training?” HR specialists and supervisors responded that it is critical to have a culture that supports training.90


Culture is defined as a pattern of basic assumptions invented, discovered, or developed by a group within the organization. It can be considered a set of shared understandings about the organization.91 One type of culture—a continuous learning culture—evidenced by the shared understanding that learning is an important part of the job, shows a positive effect on the transfer of training.92 A continuous learning culture is influenced by a variety of factors such as challenging jobs, social support (peer and supervisor), and developmental systems that allow employees the opportunity to learn continually and receive appropriate training.


Given the importance of climate, what can be done if the climate is nonsupportive or neutral regarding training? Changing climate and culture in an organization is a long and difficult process and must be done from the top. Issues related to the mismatch of the training goals and organizational climate and culture should surface in the organizational analysis part of the needs analysis. This information would then be provided to the top HR manager.

Evidence in North America indicates that the HR departments of organizations now carry more influence in organizational decision making than in the past93 and that employees in these departments are better trained in HR issues.94 With this increased influence and training, HR professionals are responsible for helping the company leadership to understand and resolve conflicts between organizational strategies and objectives and the existing climate and culture. Training in Action 5-3provides an example of things that, when incorporated into the training process to facilitate transfer, help change the learning climate and culture.


Small businesses follow more sophisticated HR policies today than in the past.95 In fact, a recent study suggests that many of their policies and practices are not much different from those of large businesses.96 Furthermore, like larger businesses, effective HR practices have been shown to have a positive effect on quality97 and productivity.98 These findings suggest that small businesses are beginning to realize the importance of sound HR practices.

Much of what was discussed earlier is relevant for any size organization. Ensuring that employees are highly motivated to learn, and presenting interesting and relevant training, is the goal no matter what the size of the company. Again, the major problem in many training 

programs is not the learning of the skills but the transfer of these skills to the job. We believe that given the requirements necessary for transfer of training, the small business enjoys a definite advantage. We see that climate and a continuous learning culture go a long way toward ensuring the transfer of training. Although any organizational change is difficult, a small organization should be able to accomplish climate and culture change faster and more easily than a large one. Furthermore, in the small business, it should be easier to obtain and demonstrate top management’s commitment. In many of the large company interventions conducted by the authors, top management provides written or verbal support for the intervention, but little else. Most of our dealings are with the HR manager, rather than with the CEO or president. Although we stress the continued involvement of upper management, we often have little interaction with top management once the intervention has begun. Top management typically feels they must spend their time on more important things.

5-3 Training in Action

Helping Ensure Transfer

Dr. Richaurd Camp is a consultant to many organizations in the United States and abroad. A few years back, an executive search firm hired him to train its employees on effective interviewing techniques. This was a key part of their work. Dr. Camp, in a meeting with the firm’s management, discussed the importance of approaching the training as an organizational intervention and the need to consider several organizational factors to ensure that the training transferred to the job. The client would be spending a great deal of money on the training and was willing to do what was necessary to ensure transfer, which would be especially difficult because the international company is highly decentralized.

After a number of meetings with management, Dr. Camp designed a three-day workshop to provide the interviewing skills requested. The first group to go through the training consisted of all the top managers, including the president. This not only provided them with the necessary skills but also garnered their support for the process throughout the organization. He then began training of all the other employees, from the top down. At the beginning of each training session, to indicate the importance of the training to the trainees, a video of the president of the company was shown. In the video, the president indicates the importance of the training and how it would make them a more effective organization. Furthermore, a senior manager who also verbalized support for the training was in attendance at each training session. The manager was also able to provide real-life examples of when employees had used old versus new training skills, and he answered questions that arose about using the training back on the job. This put the training in a real organizational context for the trainees.

In each local area, “stars” were identified (those using the process very effectively) and used as a resource people to facilitate transfer. After training, employees were also assigned coaches (recall that everyone has received the training, so experienced coaches were available). To reinforce the importance of using the skills on the job, Dr. Camp developed a “one-day refresher” training and went to the various offices to provide this. Part of the “refresher” training was to share concerns about the difficulties in implementing the process and to generate ideas on how to make transfer easier. At the end of this training, Dr. Camp encouraged trainees to send him copies of the “outcome of an interview process” so he could provide them with feedback to again facilitate effective transfer to the job.

Dr. Camp then suggested that the company develop a task force to examine how effective the transfer of training was and consider other steps that could be taken to ensure that what trainees were learning was being transferred to the job. A representative of the task force began meeting with employees (while they were at different training sessions) to explore ways of facilitating the transfer. One of the ideas to come from these meetings was that each trainee team up with another trainee who was at the training session. When they got back to their respective offices throughout the world, they would stay in contact, providing support, feedback, and ideas for dealing with obstacles to using the trained skills.

How successful has the training been? Management has looked at some bottom-line results and has determined that the training has helped them become more profitable. Does everyone use the skills as effectively as they could? No, but the organization continues to work on ideas to encourage the transfer. Recently, the task force has begun discussing the possibility of videos and online information to introduce the skills and to reinforce their correct use.

In the small firm, it is often the CEO or owner who makes decisions about the type of training and development that will be provided.99 Access to these individuals is much easier and provides a greater opportunity for you to influence them. Because of their greater involvement, they often develop a clearer understanding of their role in making training successful. An example of this involvement is shown in our Training in Action 5-4.

5-4 Training in Action

Real Support

The Sandwich Community Health Centre is a service-oriented organization with about 35 employees located in Sandwich, Ontario, Canada. The executive director and assistant executive director of the organization wanted to integrate the two areas of the organization (clinical and health promotion) and develop a team approach to much of the community care they offer. After a discussion on the issue, a consultant conducted a TNA and provided training on communication skills and conflict resolution.

Everyone attended training, even the executive director. This involvement by top management conveyed an important message about the importance of the training. Top management also insisted that the training be evaluated. Knowing that an assessment would be made at some future date kept everyone focused on the need to change. Finally, although no formal culture assessment was made, the interviews conducted in the TNA clearly indicated a climate of continuous learning.

Will the training in Training in Action 5-4 transfer? According to the research, it stands a good chance. The fact that the organization is small enough that all could attend the same training at the same time and experience the same things will help the transfer process. This situation simply could not occur in a larger company.


As noted at the start of this chapter, to develop effective training programs you need to understand the various factors that facilitate learning and transfer. This is one of the three outputs of the design phase. The other two outputs are the development of evaluation methods and the identification of alternative methods of instruction.


The design of the evaluation for your training has already begun if you have been following our training process model. The methods you used to determine the organizational and person performance gaps are the same methods you should use to evaluate whether the training has reduced those gaps. The objectives you set (reaction, learning, etc.) define the behaviors, standards and conditions for evaluating the effectiveness of the training. These become one set of inputs to the evaluation process discussed in Chapter 9. Recall the learning objective from earlier in the chapter:

·          Using a drop wire, bushing, and connector, but without the use of a manualthe trainee will splice a drop wire according to the standards set out in the manual.

This objective assists us in development of the evaluation. From the objective it is clear that we need to develop a behavioral test that will assess how well the trainee will splice a drop wire compared with the standards set out in the manual. Ideally, you would have developed such a test when you were assessing employees to determine their needs. Chapter 9 discusses evaluations strategies when this is not the case. In any case, you should begin the design of your evaluation strategy once you have addressed the other design issues. Once you have completed the development phase you should finalize the evaluation strategy (develop the evaluation instruments, determine the time frame and location and so on). Note in Fabrics, Inc. (which begins on page 194), how we use the learning objectives in the development of the evaluation. You should find it useful to re-read this portion of Fabrics, Inc., just prior to reading Chapter 9 on evaluation, so that the contiguity between design and evaluation remains clear.

Identification of Alternative Methods of Instruction

In addition to developing the evaluation for the training, you also begin developing the training. To do this, you first need to understand the various methods available and what their effectiveness is in terms of training KSAs. So the next two chapters (Chapters 6 and 7) provide that information. Then in Chapter 8 we return to the development of training, which, as noted earlier, is done in tandem with developing the evaluation.


Were you able to figure out what went wrong in the two cases at the beginning of the chapter? Both deal with the need to develop good training objectives.

Case 1

Recall the incidents discussed in Case 1 at the beginning of the chapter. Training in troubleshooting did not transfer well. What went wrong? Would more training have helped the mechanics become better troubleshooters? Reexamine the training that took place. The instructor provided a problem, and the trainees indicated the symptoms that would result from the problem. This problem/symptom sequence was the exact opposite of what they would have been required to do on the job, which involved seeing a symptom and then determining the problem. A given set of symptoms might have several different causes, but the mechanics weren’t trained to use symptoms to diagnose the cause. Had proper learning objectives been developed before the design of the training, the instructor would have realized this mistake. For example, consider the learning objective, “Upon identifying the symptoms of the electrical problem, the trainee will be able to list and describe the possible causes of these symptoms.” Had this objective been developed before training, the type of training required would have been more obvious.

Case 2

In case incident 2, all the trainees followed a cycle of doing poorly on tests 1, 5, 9, 13, and 17, and much better on the other exams. Remember, a different instructor taught each section. On the very first test, the trainees did not know what to expect and so did poorly. Once they understood what to expect on the tests, they improved on the remaining three tests. When a new instructor arrived, they prepared as usual, only to find the type of test had changed; once again they did poorly. When they understood what the new instructor wanted, they did better. It was “getting used to what the instructor wanted” that caused the cycle. The training director then looked at the objectives for each section and found them to be loosely worded and unclear about what would constitute trainees having learned what they were supposed to have learned. If done correctly, the objectives for each of the sessions would clearly describe the performance expectations and the way in which they are to be measured. Knowing this, the training director revised the learning objectives for all sections, providing guidance to both instructors and trainees as to what would constitute successful learning. The problem soon disappeared.


Table 5-15 provides a tool to use in reviewing design phase activities and whether the design is ready to be moved into the development phase. In the design of training, several constraints need to be considered, such as how much time will be given to prepare and present training, how much of a priority it is, and how much money can be spent. These will all place constraints on the type of training offered. Once these questions are answered, it is necessary to determine the type of trainees, their current level of KSAs, their motivation to learn, and the degree of homogeneity for the group. Answers to these questions will provide you with a framework that will be used to develop the objectives for training.

TABLE 5-15 Design Matrix

Design Component

Activities and Issues

Ready to Move to Development?

Organizational Constraints

Review analysis data, and then identify any additional constraints that might relate to the “who, what, when, where and how” of the training program.

All constraints are identified, and accommodation strategies developed.

Training Objectives

Trainee reaction, learning, transfer, and organizational results objectives need to be developed. These must have a clear description of the desired outcome, the conditions under which that outcome will occur, and the standards that will signal that the outcome has been achieved.

All objectives have been reviewed and approved by the appropriate parties.

The evaluation instruments are developed, and decisions about when and where to evaluate have been made.

Learning Theory



  Focus on the trainee

·          Individual differences (KSAs, learning style, etc.) must be addressed.

·          Trainee motivation issues must be addressed.

The issues to the left have been completed and documented. This document will drive the development and implementation of the training.

  Focus on training design

Review Social Learning theory, the Nine Events of Learning model, Elaboration theory, and other learning theories to arrive at the rules, policies, and procedures that will guide the development of the training and facilitate learning.


  Focus on Transfer

·          Appropriate use of whole/part practice, maximized similarity, varied situations, and general principles to maximize transferability from the classroom.

·          Using data from the analysis phase, develop strategies for addressing organizational impediments to transfer.


Alternative training methods

With the learning objectives in mind, identify the methods most suited to achieving those objectives and which fit within the constraints that have been identified are selected to be used for the training


Learning objectives provide clear, unambiguous goals for the training. An effective objective contains three parts: (1) desired behaviors, or what the trainee is expected to be able to do; (2) conditions, or what help/environment trainees will have when performing the expected behavior; and (3) standards, or what will be required to be successful. Learning objectives should be developed for reaction to training, learning, transfer to the job, and organizational outcomes. These objectives provide guidance for designing and developing the training. They also provide the trainer with clear instructions on what to train and how to do it. Finally, they inform the trainees about what to expect.

In the design of training, consider two aspects: learning and transfer. To facilitate learning, the design must address the motivation of the trainees and the environment in which training will take place. Social learning theory and the Gagné–Briggs micro theory of design provide a framework for setting up each instructional event in a manner that is most effective. To facilitate transfer, consider issues such as type of practice, whole or part learning, overlearning, and similarity to the job. Also, using a combination of goal setting and relapse prevention helps trainees transfer the KSAs to the job.

The support of the supervisor and peers in the work group is just as important to transfer, and sitins by the trainer will help too. Finally, congruent reward systems and a supportive climate/culture need to be present to ensure transfer.

ET, a macro theory of design, is useful for determining the sequencing of events and just how to present them in a training context. This theory argues that one should focus on whole rather than part learning, but to make the whole as simple as possible at the beginning and then make it more difficult in stages until it reaches the level of complexity found in the workplace.

This chapter sets the stage for showing the link between the learning objectives and the methods used to provide training. Understanding what makes a good learning objective and the groundwork in terms of what facilitates learning and transfer on the basis of theory allow for an examination of the methods of training and the link between these methods and the learning objectives.

The Training Program (Fabrics, Inc.)

This continues the description of the Fabrics, Inc., training program that we began in Chapter 4. Recall that Fabrics, Inc., grew quickly and experienced problems with its supervisors. In Chapter 4, we described how the consultant completed a needs analysis. From this TNA, the consultant determined a number of areas in which supervisors could use training. A partial list included a lack of KSAs in the following areas:

·          Effective listening

·          Communication

·          Conflict resolution

·          Effective feedback

·          Measuring employee performance

·          Motivating employees

For the purpose of this exercise, we deal with only one, conflict resolution. The first step will be to develop the learning objectives.


Some of the learning objectives are as follows:

·          The trainee will, with no errorspresent in writing the four types of active listening, along with examples of each of the types, with no help from reference material.

·          When, in a role-play, the trainee is presented with an angry comment, the trainee will respond immediately using one of the active listening types. The trainee will then explain orally the technique used and why, with no help from reference material. The trainee will be presented with five of these comments and be expected to correctly respond and explain a minimum of four.

·          The trainee will, with 100 percent accuracyprovide in writing each step of the conflict resolution model, along with a relevant example, with no help from any reference material.

·          In a role-play of an angry customer, the trainee/employee will show concern for the customer by listening and providing alternative solutions, using the steps in the conflict resolution model, with help from an easel sheet that has the steps listed on it. The trainee must use all the steps and two types of active listening in the role-play.

·          After watching a role-play of an angry person and an employee using the conflict resolution model, the trainee will, without reference to material, immediately. provide feedback as to the effectiveness of the person using the conflict resolution model. The trainee must identify four of the six errors.


The trainee will upon completion of training respond to a 15-item reaction questionnaire with minimum scores of 4 on a 5-point scale.


When an angry customer approaches the employee and begins speaking in an angry tone of voice, the employee will, immediately, use the conflict resolution model tocalm the customer down.


Three months after training, there will be a 75 percent drop in letters of complaint from customers.


We turn now to design issues. The conflict resolution model has four steps and requires attending to cues at verbal, vocal, and visual levels. From an ET perspective then, it is a complex task. The four steps in the model are as follows:

·         1. Use active listening.

·         2. Indicate respect.

·         3. Be assertive.

·         4. Provide information.

Further examination of the model reveals that the first part, active listening is a complex task by itself,100 as is the total model. So the first decision is what mix of spiral/topical sequencing to use in the training of this model. Active listening, being a skill that can also be used on its own, suggests the use of topical sequencing to train employees in active listening first. Then we will use spiral sequencing to train the total conflict resolution model.

Teaching of the cognitive component of each of these skills will be completed before the skills training, but for brevity we will discuss only the behavioral component. Using SCM, as proposed by ET, we first determine the epitome (simplest version of the task that still embodies the whole task). For active listening, it will be to use the skill in an everyday situation, such as discussing which movie to see. In this situation, the initiator (person in the role of disagreeing with the trainee) will simply disagree regarding a movie the trainee wants to see. This situation has minimal emotional content and should require minimal monitoring of the initiator by the trainee, as it will not result in an argument. The same epitome used for active listening can also be used for the conflict resolution model because the latter simply takes the discussion to a different level.

The most complex task will require dealing with a great deal of anger on the part of the initiator of the discussion. Once these two extremes are conceptualized, those in between can be determined.

Let’s now examine this training at a micro level using Gagné–Briggs theory. For the module related to teaching active listening, we want to begin by getting trainees’ attention, as suggested by Gagné–Briggs design theory. This can be accomplished by showing a video of two people in a heated argument and then asking, “Has that situation ever happened to you? Would you like to have a better way of responding in such a situation so tempers do not flare?” This would allow you to introduce active listening. The next step in the theory is to inform the trainees of the goal. Presenting the learning objective related to active listening accomplishes this. The training would continue to be designed paying close attention to the steps in the design theory.

Now let’s turn to the evaluation component as an output from the training design. To consider these, we turn back to the learning objectives, which are as follows:

·          The trainee will, with no errorspresent in writing the four types of active listening, along with examples of each of the types, with no reference material.

·          The trainee will, with 100 percent accuracy provide in writing each step of the conflict resolution model, along with a relevant example, with no help from any reference material.

These, along with a number of similar objectives not shown, will require a paper-and-pencil test of declarative knowledge.

Regarding the behavioral component of the evaluation, consider these objectives:

·          When, in a role-play, the trainee is presented with an angry comment, the trainee will respond immediately using one of the active listening types. The trainee will then explain orally the technique used and why, with no help from reference material. The trainee will be presented with five of these and be expected to correctly respond and explain a minimum of four.

·          In a role-play of an angry customer the trainee/employee will show concern for the customer by listening and providing alternative solutions, using the steps in the conflict resolution model, with help from an easel sheet which has the steps listed on it. The trainee must use all the steps and two types of active listening in the role-play.

·          After watching role-play of an angry person and an employee using the conflict resolution model, the trainee will, without reference to material, immediatelyprovide feedback as to the effectiveness of the person using the conflict resolution model. The trainee must identify a minimum of four of the six errors.

These objectives will require carefully developed standardized role-plays. The role of the initiator will be scripted and standardized to provide each trainee with similar situations to respond to. In addition, a standardized scoring key, which will guide the scoring of a trainee in the behavioral tests, will be developed. These scoring keys will provide examples of acceptable and unacceptable behavior of the trainee, and a rating scale for different responses. There will also be a scoring key provided for the explanations (oral test) that follow the behavioral part of the test.

We will return to Fabrics, Inc., in Chapter 8, to provide a look at the development process.

Key Terms

·          Behavioral reproduction

·          Climate

·          Cognitive load

·          Cognitive organization

·          Conditions

·          Culture

·          Design theory

·          Guided discovery

·          Identical elements

·          Knowledge of results

·          Learning objectives

·          Massed practice

·          Negative transfer

·          Overlearning

·          Part learning

·          Positive transfer

·          Progressive part training

·          Relapse prevention

·          Self-efficacy

·          Sit-in

·          Spaced practice

·          Standards

·          Symbolic coding

·          Symbolic rehearsal

·          Task complexity

·          Task organization

·          Transfer of training

·          Whole learning

·          Zero transfer

Questions for Review


What is a learning objective? List and explain its three components.


What can be done long before the trainee attends training to ensure that the trainee will be motivated to learn?


How does knowledge of classical and operant conditioning assist you in designing effective training?


How would you present training material in a manner that facilitates retention?


If a particular task were critical to saving a life (police officer shooting a gun, pilot responding to an emergency), what factors would you build into the design of training to ensure that the behavior was both learned and transferred to the workplace?


To help ensure transfer of training, what would you do outside the training itself? Who would you involve and how? What would you do about the organizational structure/environment?


Suppose you are designing a training program for a group of 40 employees. These employees come from a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds and have different educational and experience backgrounds relative to the content area of the training. What training design features would you use to address these constraints?


Discuss the Gagné–Briggs theory of design and its relationship to social learning theory.


Explain ET and how it would help you design a training program.



You perhaps already noted that the learning objectives at the beginning of each chapter do not completely follow the three criteria we identified. They all describe the outcome in behavioral terms but do not identify the conditions or standards, which vary with the instructor. Assume you will be the instructor for this chapter and will rewrite each of the learning objectives at the beginning of the chapter in complete form. Your trainees are corporate HRD employees, and you are training them on the contents of this chapter. Additionally, write an objective for each of the other types of training objectives (trainee reaction, transfer of training, and organizational outcome).


Examine each of the five objectives below, and rewrite them using the criteria presented in the chapter

Upon completion of training the trainee

·         a.will be able to identify the different types of employee motivation, and methods that could be used to motivate the employee

·         b.will be able to give a 20-minute oral presentation on a topic of their choice using all the skills taught

·         c.Without the use of any training material, the trainee will be able to list and provide a description of four methods of providing incentives, two monetary based and two nonmonetary based.

·         d.Will feel more positive toward union stewards

·         e.After watching a video of a supervisor–subordinate interaction will be able to identify what the supervisor did wrong and how she should have responded.


What is your grade point average since you started your education at this institution? How hard do you work to maintain that average: 3 (very hard/hard), 2 (about average), and 1 (enough to get by)? Now ask yourself why. Tie your answer into Expectancies 1 and 2 and the valence of outcomes. Break into groups that contain a mix of 1s, 2s, and 3s. Discuss what makes the person in your group a 3. Is it attractive outcomes (valence), confidence in ability (Expectancy 1), or belief that it will result in the positive outcomes desired? From that information, is there any way you believe you could influence the 2s or 1s to be more motivated? What would you try to influence? Explain your approach in terms of Expectancies 1 and 2. How does this process relate to trainee populations in the workplace?


In the chart below, identify from the column on the right which prescription fits with which of Gagne’s 9 events in the left column. Write the appropriate letter in the middle column.




·         1. Gaining attention


A) Restate the problem in general terms, and then add specific details: (a) rectangular lot 50 by 100 ft; (2) radius of the sprinklers, 5 ft; (3) water source in the center of the lot.

·         2. Inform the learner of the objective


B) Present a different problem using the same type of sprinkler, with different lot shape and size. Check the efficiency of the student’s solution in terms of coverage and amount of materials used.

·         3. Stimulate recall of requisites


C) Have the learners recall applicable rules. Since the sprinkler heads they will use spray in circles and partial circles, rules to be recalled are (1) area of a circle, (2) area of quarter and half circles, (3) area of rectangular areas, and (4) area of irregular shapes made by the intersection of circular arcs with straight sides.

·         4. Presenting the stimulus material


D) Have the student design tentative sprinkler layouts, draw them out, and calculate the relative efficiency of each. Guide the learner through various options if it appears that rules are not being applied correctly. For example, “Could you get more efficient coverage in the corner by using a quarter- circle sprinkler head?” or “It looks like you have a lot of overlap; are you allowing for 10 percent non-coverage?” Ask the learner what rule he is following for placing the sprinkler.

·         5. Providing learning guidance, and


E) The problem to be solved is to design the most efficient sprinkler system for a plot of ground—one that covers at least 90% and uses the least amount of materials.

·         6. Eliciting performance



·         7. Providing feedback


F) Present several different problems varying in shape of lot, position of the water source, and area of sprinkler coverage. Assess the student’s ability to generalize problem solving to these new situations.

·         8. Assessing performance


G) Show pictures of sprinkler coverage of a rectangular plot of ground. One highly successful (90 percent coverage), one unsuccessful (70 percent coverage), and one using too many sprinkler heads. Show these rapidly, asking for them to identify differences.

·         9. Enhancing retention and transfer


H) Confirm good moves, when in a suitable direction. If the learner doesn’t see a possible solution, suggestions may be made. For example, “Why don’t you draw four circles that barely touch, calculate the area, then draw a rectangle around the circles and calculate the area of coverage to see how much you have?”

Web Research

Conduct an Internet search to identify two companies that provide training design consulting services. Identify the design process for each. Compare and contrast each in terms of their approach.

Zenon Environmental, Inc. (small business with efficient HR management)


Conditions of Learning (R. Gagné)



Review the Domtar case from Chapter 1, and answer the following questions:

·         a.In the implementation of Kaizen, what groups of employees are likely to need training? How should the trainees be organized? Think of this issue from a training design perspective and from a training content perspective.

·         b.For the type of training envisioned, what are the learning objectives? Write these objectives in complete form.

·         c.For each group of employees that will need training, what are the organizational constraints that need to be addressed in the design of the training? What design features should be used to address these constraints? Be sure to address both the learning and transfer of training issues.


Review the Multistate Health Corporation case from Chapter 2, and answer the following questions:

·         a.In the implementation of the HRPS, what groups of employees are likely to need training? Think of this from a training design perspective and from a training content perspective.

·         b.For the type of training you envision for each group, what are the learning objectives? Write these in complete form.

·         c.For each group of employees that will need training, what are the organizational constraints you will need to address in the design of your training? What design features will you use to address these constraints? Be sure to address both the learning and transfer of training issues.






Please include the following elements in the Project response:

 Review the article “Terminating the Employee-Employer Relationship: Ethical and Legal Challenges,” located in the Business Source Complete database of the CSU Online Library by clicking the link below: 


Van Bogaert, D., & Gross-Schaefer, A. (2005). Terminating the employee-employer relationship: Ethical and legal challenges. Employee Relations LawJournal, 31(1), 49–66. Retrieved from url=



 This article discusses how terminating the employer-employee relationship can be one of the riskiest tasks for an employer due to the many possible impacts of the termination as well as numerous potential legal hurdles. After reading the article, briefly summarize the purpose for the article and answer the following questions: 


  1.  What is the authors’ main point, and what evidence is used to support it? 
  2. How does the termination of the employer-employee relationship create risk and legal issues? 
  3. How do exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine factor into termination decisions? 

 Begin with an introduction that defines the subject of your critique and your point of view. Identify if your point of view conflicts or agrees with the ideas and point of view of the article’s author. You should then defend your point of view by raising specific issues or aspects of the argument. Offer your own opinion. Explain what you think about the argument. Describe several points from the article with which you agree or disagree. What evidence from the article, your textbook, or additional sources supports your opinion? Conclude your critique by summarizing your argument and re-emphasizing your opinion.  


Review the article “Terminating the Employee-Employer Relationship: Ethical and Legal Challenges,”

Please use concepts and terminology from chapter 3,5,6 to help provide substantive and meaningful responses to demonstrate your understanding of the topics presented. Responses should be 200 words or more per question. Sources used must be identified by in-text citations and a reference page. Chapters and Terms attached.



What is a learning objective? List and explain its three components and how they relate to designing a training program.


Question 2

 How does  knowledge of the social learning theory assist in designing effective training  programs?



 Compare and  contrast needs theory and process theory. How are the theories applicable to learning?



 Discuss the  strengths and weaknesses of at least two traditional training methods.



 How can  training be designed to motivate learning and accommodate trainee learning  styles?

HR 320 Training and Development

Week 3 Terms and Definitions


1.      Design Theory: offer best practices for designing effective training programs as based on techniques to be used in certain situations.


2.      Learning: how one acquires skills and knowledge through study, experience, or instruction.


3.      Learning Objectives: a statement that describes specifically what knowledge, skills, attitudes learners should be capable of demonstrating following instruction.


4.      Motivation: The degree of a person’s willingness and desire to carry out a task.


5.      Needs Theory: explains the relationship between human needs and how they affect motivation.


6.      Organizational Constraints: in terms of training needs there are factors that hinder the acquisition of organizational training goals (budget, time, space, location, etc.)


7.      Process Theory: explains how needs translate into action.


8.      Self-Efficacy: the degree of belief one has about the ability to carry out tasks or to achieve goals.


9.      Social Learning Theory: explains how people learn through observation.


10.  Training Design: The second phase of the ADDIE Model; the plan for the development of instruction.


11.  Training Methods: techniques used to deliver training material to trainees.


12.  Transfer of Training: process in which what is learned in training is applied to the workplace.


Three Learning, Motivation, and Performance

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

·          Explain the value and importance of understanding theory.

·          Identify the major factors that determine human performance and their relevance to training.

·          Describe how motivation and self-efficacy relate to the effectiveness of training.

·          Describe the cognitive and behavioral approaches to learning and their contradictory implications for instructional practices.

·          Describe how social learning theory integrates cognitive and behaviorist perspectives.

·          Describe how the processes and components of social learning theory relate to training.

·          Describe the causes of resistance to learning.

·          Explain the effect of group dynamics on learning and the transfer of training.

·          Explain why different people need different training methods to learn the same things.

·          Identify the characteristics of training design that motivate learning and accommodate trainee differences.


Claudia, a successful 33-year-old corporate marketing executive, found herself in the mountains preparing to climb a rope ladder attached to a tree. When she reached the top of the ladder, she would fall off backward. It wouldn’t be an accident. No, she wasn’t suicidal or deranged. She was participating in an executive development program called Wilderness Training Lab.

Back at the corporate office she was known as an independent, smart, and tenacious businesswoman. She quickly moved up the corporate ladder from product research assistant to brand manager. Claudia had a reputation for micromanaging her subordinates and for being a loner. When asked about these issues, Claudia replied, “When I was in college, I had a lot of group projects. At first I went along with group decisions and trusted others to do a good job. Even though I felt anxious about putting my grade in the hands of someone else, it seemed to be a good way to get along in the group. Those projects received mediocre grades, and I’m only satisfied with being the best. Then I started to take over the leadership of every group I was in. I developed the plan, decided who would do what, determined the timelines, and always took on the most difficult and complex parts myself, all the time making sure the others were doing what they were assigned. From then on my group projects always got an ‘A.’ I carried those lessons with me into the workplace and I’ve had good success here, too. Maybe it rubs some people the wrong way, but it works for me. The only trouble I’m having is keeping up with all my projects. Some of the other brand managers want to work with me on joint projects, but I do not have time. Besides, they probably just want me to do their work for them or steal my ideas. The VP of marketing will be retiring soon and only one of the seven brand managers will get that job. What’s in it for me if I collaborate with them? Let each of us sink or swim on our own merits.”

A few months ago, the VP of marketing, Sandy Cines, discussed career plans with Claudia. Sandy had always praised and encouraged Claudia’s work, but this time he was a little reserved. He suggested, in rather strong terms, that she attend an executive development “wilderness” program. Claudia hesitated because of her workload and upcoming deadlines. Sandy said, “Well, I’ll leave the decision up to you. The director of training and I have looked at your strengths and what you’ll need for the next level as an executive. Technically you’re very strong, but more important at the next level is building good interpersonal relationships. The training director recommended this program for you, but, as I said, I’ll leave the decision up to you.” Claudia wondered what he thought was wrong with her interpersonal relationships. She had great relationships with customers and outside vendors, and in her personal life. Relationships with her subordinates and peers needed to be different. She needed to be firmer and less flexible with them, did she not? She did not think she had bad relationships with her subordinates or peers. They never complained to her. However, Claudia decided it was pretty clear that Sandy wanted her to attend the wilderness program.

She found a diverse group of men and women executives from all over North America when she arrived for the training. Many confided that their organizations had sent them to “learn how to be more effective in groups.” Most of them indicated they were interested and eager but a little nervous about what was expected of them. They soon found out. They were divided into groups of 10 and taken out on the “course.”

The first training exercise was climbing the “trust ladder.” Doug, the program director, explained that the group members would have to rely on each other quite a bit during the coming week. To demonstrate that the group could be trusted, each person was to climb to the top of the ladder and fall backward into the group, which would catch the person in the proper manner. Doug showed them how. After everyone had completed the exercise, they discussed risk taking, building and trusting one’s support systems, being part of a support system, and communicating one’s needs. Then came more challenging exercises, such as building and using rope bridges to cross a stream, white-water rafting, and—the most physically challenging of all—scaling a four-meter wall. The front of the wall was sheer and smooth. A platform was on the other side, on which two people could stand at about waist level with the top of the wall and from which extended a ladder to the ground.

Everyone had to scale the wall, and no one could stand on the platform until he or she had scaled the wall. It was a timed event, and the groups were in competition with one another. The first thing a group had to do was develop a plan. Strong and tall people were needed to boost the others to a point where they could pull themselves over. Some stood on the platform and helped those who were not strong enough to pull themselves over. It was clear that the first people over also had to be strong. Another problem was the last person over. Everyone, except the last pair, would have “spotters” in case of a fall. Also, the last person could not be boosted to the top. Someone would have to act as a human rope, hanging down from the top so that the last person could climb up the person and over the wall. Therefore, the last person would have to be strong enough to boost the second-to-last person up, but light enough to climb over the human rope. To determine the order, the group members needed to share with one another their strengths and weaknesses. Claudia wanted to be the last person so that she could make sure everyone was doing what they were supposed to, and also because, as the last person over the wall, she would represent the group’s successful completion of this exercise. Two of the strongest men in the group confessed to having injuries that would hamper their performance. Claudia realized that her tennis elbow would be a great liability. When it came to her turn to discuss her strengths and weaknesses, she was honest about her injury and indicated that she would fit best somewhere in the middle where many people could help her.

When Claudia’s turn to climb came, she called out to those on top what to expect—where she couldn’t put much strain and how she would indicate that someone was pulling too hard. Then she was being pushed up with spotters all around her, and the next thing she knew she was over the wall.

Later, when the members discussed the event, Claudia asked what impact her limitations had caused in the group. Those who had been pullers replied, “None.” They said they knew what to do because she had told them about her problem ahead of time.

While packing to go home, Claudia thought about how much she had learned about herself and her relationship to other people, especially at work. She recognized that she generally failed to trust others to do their part and so she was not as effective as she would like to be. Her success came at a high price because of the extra workload she imposed on herself. In addition, she wondered, “What is the price my subordinates pay? How have my actions affected their attitudes and performance? Do I need to be so competitive with my peers? Is that really in the company’s best interest? Is it in my best interest?” She knew she would have a lot to think about on the trip home.


Theories are speculative road maps for how things work. In fact, most of us develop our own theories to explain how the world around us works. The child yells, “I want an ice cream cone.” He is told, “No, not until you ask properly.” After several such incidents, the child begins to see that when he says “please,” he is more successful than when he says “gimme” or “I want.” The child develops a theory of how to get things he wants; he must always say “please.” “Good” theories assemble a number of facts, show the relationship among those facts, and develop a logical rationale for what is likely to be true, given those facts. From theory, predictions or hypotheses can be generated and tested. If the tests show that the predictions are correct, the theory is supported. If the new facts are inconsistent with the predictions, the theory is revised or discarded. Suppose the child in the previous situation takes his theory to the extreme. When he says “please” but is denied his request, he continues to badger the person, saying “pleeeease, pleeease.” If he soon finds that this approach does not work, he might revise the theory. The new theory says: “Please” works more often than not, but if you have to say it over and over, it does not work. In fact, it makes the person annoyed. This process of developing, testing, and reformulating a theory is the basis of science. It is how new knowledge is created. A good theory is also practical because it

·         • explains facts as simply as possible,

·         • predicts future events, and

·         • provides information on what can be done to prevent undesirable things from happening.

·         theory is an abstraction that allows us to make sense out of a large number of facts related to an issue. Effective training practices are developed from theories and theoretical constructs that describe how learning occurs and what motivates people. This chapter is about theory, so it is necessarily somewhat abstract. Unfortunately, some people may see little value in wading through the complex logic and rationale of theories. It is easier to follow a set of instructions like a recipe. But, in training, as in business, a single recipe will not work. Recipes require standardized ingredients—businesses do not have standardized ingredients. Each organization is unique, with different missions, strategies, environments, technologies, and people. The interaction of these elements creates a different “chemistry” in each organization, thus making a “one best way for everyone” approach ineffective. Theories provide the guidelines, principles, and predictions that allow organizations to create the right recipe for their situation. Successful people in business pay attention to theory.

·         Firms in all industries from manufacturing to telecommunications, from energy production to health care (e.g., Ford, 3M, Microsoft, Motorola, Toshiba, Toyota, and Xerox), jumped ahead of the competition because they understood and applied theories. Some of these theories concern the product; others concern how the product is made, and still others how the firm is managed. Rather than copying others, these companies understood the underlying theories related to what they were trying to do and applied those theories to meeting their goals. As the quality guru W. E. Deming indicated, experience teaches nothing without theory.1 He warned that unless you understand the theory behind someone’s success, copying can lead to chaos.2 A survey of Fortune 1000 companies engaged in programs to improve quality (e.g., total quality management, ISO 9000) and involve employees in decision making supports this view. The companies that applied the underlying models and theories correctly were getting the best results; those that simply put programs into place were getting the worst results.3

·         Consider pay systems. Suppose a company pays its employees on the basis of how much they produce (i.e., a piece-rate system). The company is successful and the employees make a high wage. You decide to institute the piece-rate system in your company. Will it work? It might, but it might not. Its success will depend on the total reward system, what the company is trying to accomplish, and what the employees value. For example, employees might turn out a high volume of the product but at the cost of many problems with quality. They might produce more than can be sold. Piece-rate systems can create a “norm” in the work group that prohibits them from producing more than a specified amount (to avoid increases in the product/money ratio or to protect slower workers). In other words, the differences in the people and work environments affect the success of the piece-rate system.

·         As a manager, your understanding of motivational theory allows you to improve employee performance levels by applying the principles of motivation to your firm’s unique circumstances. The same is true with training. Whether one company’s training program will work in another’s will depend on the needs of each company, its employees, and the training system used. Copying without understanding is like taking someone else’s prescription drugs. Even though they might have made someone else better, they could kill you.

·         What theories are important to the success of the training enterprise? If trainees do not learn, then training has failed, so theories of learning are certainly important. If trainees learn but do not try to transfer the learning to the job, then training has failed. Add theories of motivation to the list. If the trainees learn and try to transfer the learning to the job site, but obstacles in their work environment prevent them from making the transfer, then again training has failed. It failed because the changes in the work environment that needed to support the desired behavior were not considered. Thus, to design and implement effective training programs, you need to understand how people learn, what motivates learning and performance, and how the learning and work environment affect motivation and performance. This chapter focuses on these topics. The theories, models, and concepts discussed here serve as a foundation for the rest of the book. We will refer to these theories and their implications for training throughout the text because they are related to each phase of the training process.


FIGURE 3-1 Factors Determining Human Performance


Your job performance and your behavior in general are a function of what you know, what you are able to do, and what you believe (knowledge, skills, and attitudes [KSAs]). If you do not have the requisite KSAs, you cannot perform. However, additional factors are important in determining your performance. Figure 3-1 depicts a general performance model. This model indicates that a person’s performance (P) depends on the interaction of motivation (M), KSAs, and environment (E). Motivation arises from your needs and beliefs about how best to satisfy those needs. Both motivation and KSAs are part of your memory and thinking systems (i.e., cognitive structure). Environment refers to the physical surroundings in which performance must occur, including barriers and aids to performance. Environment also includes the objects and events (cues) that you might see as indicating that your performance will be rewarded or punished.

Think back to the wilderness training case. Which of Claudia’s KSAs allowed her to reach her current position? Recall that her boss felt that she lacked the interpersonal skills necessary for developing good relationships. Did she lack these skills or was she not motivated to use them? Apparently, she had the skills, because she was able to develop good relationships with others with whom she was not directly working. The training director probably understood this, because he suggested the wilderness training rather than an interpersonal skill-building workshop. The wilderness training did not teach people how to develop good interpersonal relationships as much as it broke down barriers that prevented those relationships from developing. The program worked on the motivation and attitudes of the trainees. What barriers in Claudia’s work environment might keep her from developing these relationships? How about the upcoming retirement of the VP and that open position? What criteria could be used to evaluate managers that would encourage them to develop positive relationships with peers and subordinates?

Each of the factors M, KSA, and E in Figure 3-1 can influence performance, but the combination of these factors determines the person’s performance. The weakest factor, then, limits the likelihood of engaging in any activity. For instance, no matter how knowledgeable or skilled you are, if you are not motivated to perform the activity—or worse, are motivated to not perform it—then you will not. If the environment does not support the activity or blocks it, then it does not matter how motivated or knowledgeable you are, you will not do it. For example, if necessary tools are not working or equipment is missing, you won’t attempt the activity. Likewise, if the environment is sending signals that your performance will be punished, you won’t perform. In Claudia’s case, she seemed to want to stay at work and not attend the training. However, her boss gave strong indications that staying would be viewed negatively. Her environment changed, signaling that old ways of performing would not be rewarded and new ways would.

The model in Figure 3-1 is important for determining employee training needs. It helps us understand whether poor job performance is a result of KSAs or other factors. It is also important in the design of training. When putting together the learning modules and training methods, the trainer must consider how they will affect the trainees’ motivation to learn. Similarly, when selecting the training facility and materials, we must consider how they will interact with trainee motivation. When we ask trainees to use their new knowledge and skills back on the job, we must make sure that the environment is supportive of this new way of performing. A deeper understanding of these three determinants of performance will increase your ability to design and implement effective training programs. First, we look at motivation, presenting the most prominent theories and clarifying their relationship to the training enterprise.

Motivation: Why Do They Act Like That?

Motivation is part of a person’s cognitive structure and is not directly observable. Thus, it is typically defined in terms of its effects on behavior, which are observable. Most of the scientific literature defines motivation as the direction, persistence, and amount of effort expended by an individual to achieve a specified outcome. In other words, the following factors reflect a person’s motivation:

·          What need(s) the person is trying to satisfy

·          What types of activities the person engages in to satisfy the need

·          How long the person engages in the activity

·          How hard the person works at the activity

Go back to Claudia’s situation. What need is she trying to satisfy: the growth need or the need to achieve and get ahead in the company? To answer this, look at the types of activities she is involved in. She takes on extra projects, volunteers to work on task forces, works late, and so forth. How long has she been doing it? For about two years. How hard does she work at it? Well, it seems pretty hard: She works 12-hour days and often goes in on Saturday.

Motivation is goal-directed and derived from both personal needs and the decision processes used to satisfy those needs. Separate theories evolved to explain the relationship between needs and motivation, and between decision processes and motivation. Needs theories attempt to describe the types of needs people have, their relative importance, and how they are related to one another. Process theories attempt to describe and explain how a person’s needs are translated into actions to satisfy the needs.


Our needs are the basis of our motivation and the reason for almost all of our activity. Understanding a person’s needs helps you understand his behavior. From Maslow’s early work,4 Clayton Alderfer developed a needs theory of motivation called ERG theory.5 The initials ERG represent the three basic needs of the theory: existence, relatedness, and growth. Existence needs correspond to Maslow’s lower-order physiological and security needs. They are the immediate needs required to sustain life—needs for food, shelter, and the like—and the need for some security in the future for a safe and healthy life. Relatedness needs reflect people’s need to be valued and accepted by others. Interpersonal relationships and group membership (work, family, friends, etc.) act to satisfy these needs. Growth needs include feelings of self-worth and competency and achieving our potential. Recognition, accomplishment, challenging opportunities, and a feeling of fulfillment are outcomes that can satisfy these needs. Even though some disagreement exists in the scientific community about the relationships among these needs and their relative importance at any given point in life, few dispute the idea that these needs exist for everyone.

People work to satisfy their needs. Understanding the types and strengths of employee needs is important to the training process. It can help identify some of the causes of poor performance and therefore determine training needs. Consider the employee who has strong relatedness needs but whose job is structured so that he must work alone most of the time. He might be unable to complete the required quality and quantity of work because he spends too much time socializing with others in the workplace. Additional technical KSAs will do little to improve his job performance. Performance improvement would more likely result from some other type of training (perhaps time management) or some nontraining intervention (such as job redesign or counseling).

Understanding needs is also important in designing training programs and facilities. Trainers need to make sure that the environment and training methods—that is, how the training is conducted and where it takes place—meet the trainee’s physical, relationship, and growth needs. We discuss these issues in depth in the chapters covering training design, development, and implementation. Think back to the wilderness training case to get a sense of how training methods, materials, and environment influence trainee motivation.

Although she was motivated to attend the training because of her boss’s pressure, was Claudia motivated to learn when she first arrived, or was she skeptical about the value of the training? What if she had attended a series of lectures on the importance of developing strong interpersonal relationships instead of the outdoor group experiences? Would she have been as motivated to absorb the lessons and apply them to her work? How strong do you think Claudia’s relatedness needs were? How effective would the training be if it focused on showing her how changing her behavior would result in increased acceptance by her peers? It seems apparent that Claudia did have high growth needs. The outdoor training presented her with a series of physical and psychological challenges, fitting in with her growth needs and motivating her to become an involved participant in the training.

The few empirical studies conducted on this topic tend to support Alderfer’s notion that people can experience needs in all three areas simultaneously.6 The relative satisfaction level in each area determines the importance of the needs. Unsatisfied needs motivate us, and motivation decreases as needs in an area are satisfied. However, needs in these three basic areas tend to renew themselves; they can also expand. Although you might have a good job that provides you with food, shelter, and security, you might start to feel the need for better food, a larger and more comfortable home, a larger savings account, or an investment portfolio. Similarly, even though your relationships with family, friends, and coworkers may at first satisfy your relatedness needs, you might begin to feel that you would like the relationships to be better or closer, or that you want to develop additional relationships.

Sometimes our needs conflict with one another, or one type of need might become more important than the others. Then we feel we must choose one over the other, which is what happened with Claudia. We cannot be sure how strong her relatedness needs are, but we do know that she saw them as conflicting with her ability to satisfy her growth needs at work. The wilderness training was designed to satisfy the trainees’ needs for growth and relationships at the same time. Step by step, the training demonstrated how building strong interpersonal relationships could not only satisfy relationship needs, but also make greater accomplishments possible.

This example illustrates a central point about motivating trainees to learn. The best training incorporates opportunities to satisfy all three categories of needs. The training facility and accommodations address, in part, existence needs. How much trainees learn is affected by the trainees’ physical comfort, level of hunger, and so on. Demonstrating how the training will improve the trainee’s competencies and, in turn, increase job security and fulfill existence needs will also motivate the trainee. Building a network of positive relationships among trainees and between trainees and the trainer will address relatedness needs. Using methods that provide challenging experiences that lead to the attainment of the target KSAs will address growth needs. By having training address all three types of needs in some way, you can be assured 

that all trainees will find at least one need that can be satisfied. This will go a long way toward motivating all trainees, because you offer something for everyone.

Needs theory leads to implications for the training process even after completion of the training. Trainers must make sure that trainees can see how learning fulfills their needs. In Claudia’s case, her boss provided some of that linkage when he told her how important relationship building is to her current and future job success (i.e., security needs). What could the trainers at the Wilderness Training Lab do to create these links? We discuss this issue more in the next section, because these links are the focus of the process theories.


Needs are only one part of the motivation equation. Deciding how to go about satisfying those needs is the other part. Process theories of motivation describe how a person’s needs translate into action. Although many types of process theories exist, we will focus on the three with the most direct implications for training: classical conditioning, reinforcement theory, and expectancy theory.

Classical Conditioning

Classical conditioning is the association of a generalized response to some signal in the environment. It typically involves learning to emit a nonvoluntary response to some signal that in the past did not produce that response. For example, when an optometrist examines your eyes, she may put you in front of a machine that blows a puff of air into your eyes. This puff of air causes you to blink your eyes. If a red light came on just before the puff of air, you would probably learn to associate the puff of air with the red light and begin blinking whenever the red light comes on. At that point, you would have learned to blink (generalized response) in response to the red light (signal).

The most widely known example of this type of learning involves Pavlov’s dogs.7Pavlov was not studying learning; he was examining the physiology of digestion by measuring the amount of salivation produced by various substances placed on the tongues of dogs. As the story goes, Pavlov observed that the dogs began to salivate on his entering the laboratory, thus playing havoc with his desire to determine the amount of saliva produced by various substances. He speculated that over time his entrance was followed so often by substances placed on the dogs’ tongues that the dogs learned to salivate on his entrance.

TABLE 3-1 Classical Conditioning Process

Step 1

Unconditioned stimulus

(Meat powder)

Unconditioned response


Step 2

Conditioned stimulus paired with unconditioned stimulus

(Buzzer followed closely in time, over many trials, by meat powder)

Unconditioned response


Step 3

Conditioned stimulus

(Buzzer alone)

Conditioned response


Table 3-1 shows how the classical conditioning process works. Step 1 reflects the state of affairs before conditioning takes place. Certain factors in the environment (unconditioned stimuli) produce automatic responses (unconditioned responses) in animals and people. If we place an unconditioned stimulus such as meat powder on a dog’s tongue, an unconditioned response would be the dog’s salivation. That is, the dog need not be trained (conditioned) to salivate when meat powder is put on its tongue. However, this salivation response does not occur with every stimulus that might be in the dog’s environment, such as a buzzer. If, however, you sounded that buzzer just before putting meat powder on the dog’s tongue, over a number of trials the buzzer would become a conditioned stimulus. The dog is learning (being conditioned) to associate the buzzer with the meat powder. However, you are still putting meat powder on the dog’s tongue, so the salivation is really a response to the meat powder and remains an unconditioned response. This situation is reflected in step 2 of Table 3-1. In step 3, you stop putting meat powder on the dog’s tongue after sounding the buzzer. If the dog salivates at the buzzer, you have created a conditioned response (salivation) to a conditioned stimulus (the buzzer). Continually sounding the buzzer without offering the meat powder will extinguish (remove) this response. Over time, the conditioned response gradually disappears. Through conditioning, a response to one stimulus can be transferred to another, unrelated stimulus.

Classical conditioning occurs frequently in the workplace, though it typically receives little attention. The noon whistle blows at the factory, and the worker’s digestive juices begin to flow. Sparks fly from the welding machine and your eyes blink, even though you are wearing goggles. As you will see later, this type of learning can affect the learning environment.

Reinforcement Theory

Reinforcement theory is relatively simple on the surface but can be difficult to apply. It does not provide all the answers for how needs are translated into action, but its major points are essential for understanding human behavior. The foundation for reinforcement theory comes from the work of E. L. Thorndike.8 Thorndike’s law of effect states that behavior followed by satisfying experiences tends to be repeated, and behavior followed by annoyance or dissatisfaction tends to be avoided. B. F. Skinner used this principle in developing the operant conditioning model and reinforcement theory.9

The basic components of learning in operant conditioning are illustrated in Figure 3-2. A person is faced with an object or event in the environment (stimulus) and behaves in a certain way (response). That behavior results in an outcome (consequence) to the individual that is positive or negative. In the illustration, the man has seen a book of great interest (environmental stimulus) while on the way to work. He purchases the book and reads it (response) while continuing to walk to work. You can imagine the consequence. The environment provides stimuli that elicit behaviors and consequences that reinforce or punish them.


FIGURE 3-2 Behaviorist Model of Learning

In similar situations, the consequences of past behavior affect future behavior. How will the man in Figure 3-2 respond to books while walking in the near future? Operant learning theory says that due to the negative consequence of falling into the hole, the man will learn to avoid reading and walking at the same time. A person’s motivation (i.e., direction, magnitude, and persistence of behavior), then, is a function of her reinforcement history. Unfortunately, reinforcement theory provides no explanation of the processes involved in storing, retrieving, or using the lessons of past reinforcement. The model leaves us wondering how future behavior becomes influenced by previous reinforcement history. Nevertheless, the theory does convincingly predict the various effects on future behavior caused by the consequences of past behavior.

Skinner identified four types of consequences that can result from behavior:

·         1. Positive reinforcement

·         2. Negative reinforcement

·         3. Punishment

·         4. Extinction

When behavior results in either positive or negative reinforcement, the likelihood that the behavior will occur in similar future circumstances is increased. Positive reinforcement occurs when your behavior results in something desirable happening to you—either tangible (such as receiving money), psychological (such as feeling pleasure), or some combination of the two. Negative reinforcement occurs when your behavior results in removing something you find annoying, frustrating, or unpleasant. This “good” outcome increases your likelihood of repeating the behavior. For example, if you have a headache, take an aspirin, and the headache goes away, the “aspirin-taking response” is negatively reinforced. Nothing is inherently desirable about taking the aspirin; its reinforcing power comes from its ability to remove the pain. Either the environment or the person can provide reinforcement. For example, when a person receives his pay, the environment provides positive reinforcement (pay). When a person feels a sense of pride and accomplishment after completing a task, the person is positively reinforcing himself.

Your behavior is punished when it results in something undesirable happening to you. Punishment decreases the likelihood of the response occurring in the future. Like reinforcement, punishment can be tangible, psychological, or both and can come from the environment or be self-administered. In Figure 3-2, the environment provides the punishment. However, when we do things that violate our personal values and beliefs, and therefore experience negative feelings, we are self-punishing that behavior. Punishment exists when you receive something unpleasant or when you lose something desirable. The latter form of punishment is called extinction. For example, you might buy books by a certain author because of the positive feelings you experience as you read them. However, while reading the last two books by this author, you did not experience those positive feelings. Therefore you stop buying this author’s books. When a person’s behavior (like buying and reading the books) no longer produces the desired outcomes, the behavior is less likely to occur in the future. Figure 3-3 depicts the various types of behavioral consequences.


FIGURE 3-3 Types of Consequences That May Follow Behavior

A few examples here should clear up any misunderstandings or confusion created by these definitions. First, think back to the Wilderness Training Lab case. What kind of reinforcement history did Claudia experience from working in groups? Her first group experiences in college resulted in the negative outcomes (for her) of mediocre grades. Because her cooperative behavior in groups was punished, she stopped it. When she changed her behavior to become more directive—monitoring and doing more of the important work—two consequences resulted: (1) she was positively reinforced by good grades and (2) she avoided the negative feelings of anxiety about the other group members not doing their assignments well and the resulting mediocre grades. Her new group behavior was both positively and negatively reinforced over a number of years. It is no wonder, then, that she continued to work this way in groups. Is it possible that Claudia avoided working in groups with her peers because she couldn’t control those groups in the same way she could her subordinates? The training she received provided her with new group situations in which she was positively reinforced (e.g., recognition, accomplishment) for using a new set of group behaviors. This new set of outcomes seems to have changed her beliefs and attitudes about how to work effectively in groups.

In another example, after working for a few hours, Jon, a machinist, suddenly hears a loud unpleasant screeching noise coming from the exhaust fans near his work area. He finds the electrical switch and turns the fans off; he later switches them on again, and they work for the rest of the day. The same thing happens over the next two days. On the fourth day, when he takes his break, he turns the fans off before the noise begins. When he returns from his break, he turns them on, and they operate normally for the rest of the day. This behavior becomes a daily habit with Jon. Jon does not know that plant maintenance repaired the fan the evening before he began his “turning it off at the break” behavior. Jon maintained his behavior because it was negatively reinforcing. By “giving the fans a rest,” he avoided the loud, unpleasant noise. As this worked every time, it was self-reinforcing. This is how superstitious behaviors develop.

Reinforcement versus Punishment

Punishment can eliminate undesirable behavior in the workplace. However, several problems make it undesirable as a management or training tool.

·          It does not motivate people to do things, only not to do things. It does not indicate what the desired behavior is, only what is not desired.

·          If the undesired behavior is punished only sometimes, people will learn the situations in which they can get away with it. The saying “While the cat’s away, the mice will play” neatly captures one problem with this technique; punishment requires constant vigilance on the part of a supervisor and encourages employee efforts to “beat the system.”

·          If a person’s undesired behavior is rewarding, the punishment must be severe enough to offset the behavior’s reinforcing properties. Escalating negative outcomes to employees can raise ethical, moral, and commonsense objections.

·          Someone must do the punishing. This person becomes someone to be avoided. Supervisors avoided by subordinates experience leadership problems.

Positive and negative reinforcement are better tools for motivating and especially for training employees. Negative reinforcement can cause the desired behavior to become self-reinforcing, like Jon’s turning off the fans. When the person continually performs the desired behavior, negative outcomes are avoided. If the desired behavior is then also positively reinforced, the person not only avoids the negative outcome but also receives a positive outcome. As with Claudia in the opening case, the result is a strong maintenance of the behavior.

With reinforcement, the person doing the reinforcing does not always need to be present for the desired behavior to occur. The employee actively seeks to make the reinforcing agent (e.g., supervisor or trainer) aware of her behavior. When punishment is used as the motivational or learning mechanism, the employee attempts to hide behavior so as to avoid the consequences. Obviously, a trainer or supervisor’s job is much easier when employees are attempting to communicate what they are doing rather than hiding it.

Thus, either positive or negative reinforcement is preferred over punishment as a strategy for motivating learning and behavior change. Used in combination, positive and negative reinforcement appear more effective than either used alone.10 For those interested in finding out more about how to implement positive, humanistic, and effective work environments, we would encourage you to read Dick Grote’s Discipline Without Punishment.11

Reinforcement theory suggests that any training must be concerned not only with teaching the KSAs but also with the consequences that are attached to the following:

·          the learning process,

·          the old way of doing the job, and

·          the new way of doing the job.

These factors play a key role in determining how much is learned and how much is actually used back on the job.

As noted earlier, many unanswered questions arise when using reinforcement theory to describe the motivational process. Expectancy theory, however, provides some additional explanation and leads to many more implications for training.

Expectancy Theory

In 1964, Victor Vroom published a theory of work motivation called expectancy theory.12 This theory describes the cognitive processes involved in deciding the best course of action for achieving our goals (i.e., satisfying our needs). A cognitive process is a mental activity such as information storage, retrieval, or use. Thinking and decision making are cognitive processes. In its most basic form, expectancy theory proposes that a person’s motivation can be explained by the relationship among three conceptually distinct elements:

·         1. The level of success expected by the individual (e.g., how well she will be able to do what she sets out to do), which is termed Expectancy 1.

·         2. The individual’s beliefs about what the outcomes will be if she is successful. The expected outcomes and their likelihood of occurrence make up Expectancy 2.

·         3. The individual’s feelings about the various outcomes’ positive or negative value. An outcome’s subjective value is referred to as its valence.

In combination, these elements determine the individual’s motivation (i.e., effort) to engage in a particular course of action. When situations allow different courses of action, as most do, the one with the highest motivation level is chosen. The motivation level for a particular course of action can be calculated mathematically with the following formula:

Effort = Expectancy  1 i × Σ ij  ( Expectancy  2 ij × Valence ij )

Although this formula is useful for those conducting research on motivation, it is not particularly useful in the day-to-day activities of most people. It does, however, present some important implications for training and learning, which we discuss shortly.

To gain a better understanding of the expectancy theory framework, let’s go back to Claudia at the point at which she was trying to decide whether to attend the executive development seminar as suggested by her boss. Today is the last day she can register for the seminar, which starts in two weeks. She postponed the decision as long as possible and now must decide. She feels confident about her ability to complete this training successfully, but she holds some doubts about whether it will teach her anything useful about running her marketing operation or working more effectively in a group. She knows that during her week of training, the marketing strategies for five important accounts will arrive on her desk, and she will need to review and finalize them before forwarding them to top management. They are due on the Wednesday following training. In addition, her normal work will continue to pile up. Claudia faces the choice between incompatible courses of action. Her cognitive processes, in expectancy theory terms, are illustrated in Figure 3-4.

Examining Claudia’s situation in terms of expectancy theory, we see that her expectations of success (Expectancy 1) are high for both behaviors. The expectancy of 1.0 means that she is 100 percent sure that she would successfully be able to complete either course of action. The Expectancy 2 links reflect the outcomes that Claudia anticipates if she successfully completes the seminar or stays at the office and completes her workload. If she turns down the training and stays on the job, she believes that there is a 50 percent chance her boss will see her skills as inadequate. It would be higher, but she believes that if she can do a superior job on these strategies, he will not think that those relationship skills are so important. She believes that it’s 90 percent likely that she will have feelings of pride and accomplishment for getting all her work completed on time. However, if she turns down the training, she believes that there is only a 30 percent chance that her boss will recommend her for promotion.


FIGURE 3-4 Illustration of Expectancy Theory

Conversely, if she goes to the training, she believes that the likelihood is 60 percent that her boss will evaluate her as having a more complete set of managerial skills. However, she will fall behind in her work, and it is a certainty (1.0) that she will feel harried, overloaded, and depressed. Yet she sees the chances of being recommended for a promotion increasing to 60 percent if she goes to training. As the valences in Figure 3-4 show, she values her boss’s recommendation for promotion the most. She views having her boss evaluate her skills as being inadequate and the feelings associated with being behind in her work as the least desirable of the outcomes.

How would you use the formula to calculate Claudia’s motivation to stay on the job rather than go to training? By multiplying each Expectancy 2 by its respective outcome valence and summing the values, you would get 9.8.

( Expectancy  2 ij × Valence ij ) = ( . 5 × 1 ) + ( . 9 × 7 ) + ( . 3 × 10 ) = 9.8

Then you would multiply that total by Expectancy 1, which is 1.0, and you would arrive at a force of 9.8 for nonattendance at the seminar.

Using the same procedure for the alternative goal—attending the seminar—you would arrive at a force of 11.2. Thus, for Claudia, the motivation to stay at work is less than the motivation to attend the seminar.

Even though the actual values of expectancies and valences are interesting from a scientific perspective, from a practical standpoint it is the relationships among the elements of the model that are useful. This example illustrates the cognitive processes that link a person’s goals, possible courses of action, and likely outcomes. These connections determine the person’s motivation and are what is missing from the reinforcement theory. Of course, we simplified the situation considerably from what Claudia would actually face in the real work setting. She had many other alternatives. She could delegate someone to cover most of the normal work coming across her desk (though she was not especially comfortable with delegating). She could arrange for the marketing strategies to be sent to her at the training facility and work on them at night, after training, and over the weekend. Each of these alternatives would present its own expected outcomes and associated valences.

Faced with the situation Claudia faced, what would you do? It is unlikely that you would place the same value (valence) on the outcomes or give them the same likelihood of occurring. You might identify more or fewer outcomes. One of the things that make this theory so useful is that it takes into account the fact that people view the world differently and are motivated by different things. The lesson from expectancy theory is that you need to know what the person expects and what they value in order to understand their motivation.

Few people would consciously go through the formal math or mapping of expectancy theory, but it is interesting to note that most training programs that teach decision making use a model similar to this one. More typically, we go through these processes unconsciously and in a less systematic fashion. We choose a particular way of behaving because of our expectations about the costs and benefits of that action. Relationships between our past behavior and its consequences are combined with current information to make inferences about the consequences of our future behavior. Some implications for training become rather obvious here.

First, to be willing to try, a person must expect that there is a reasonable chance of success. Expectancy 1 exerts the most influence on our behavior because we do not waste our time trying to do things we believe we cannot do. Sometimes this belief makes people reluctant to go to training, so trainers must demonstrate that success is likely for the participants. Second, and related to needs and reinforcement theory, trainers must make sure that the right outcomes are attached to the successful completion of training. Trainees should be able to see clear connections between the content of training and important organizational and personal outcomes. Third, the training outcomes must be made as desirable as possible for the trainees rather than just for the organization, the supervisor, or the trainer.

Self-Efficacy and Motivation

Feelings about our own competency are reflected in the concept of self-efficacy, which is one of the better-researched constructs related to motivation. High self-efficacy is associated with a belief that we can and will perform successfully. Individuals with low self-efficacy are preoccupied with concerns about failure.13Research supports the belief that the higher the self-efficacy, the better the performance.14 Not only is performance better, but in difficult situations, those with high self-efficacy also try harder, while those with low self-efficacy tend to reduce effort or give up.15 In a training context, research shows that those with high self-efficacy beliefs are more motivated to learn and are more likely to transfer that learning.16

There are four main factors that combine to provide employees with an estimate of their ability to be successful:

·         1. Prior experience. The person’s past successes and failures and their consequences

·         2. Behavioral models. Successes and failures of others observed attempting the behavior

·         3. Others’ feedback. The encouragement or discouragement provided by others

·         4. Physical and emotional state. The physical or emotional conditions the person believes will affect their ability to perform.

Self-efficacy, therefore, is the primary factor in the person’s Expectancy 1 evaluation. The employee’s feelings of self-efficacy are translated into behavior. If success is expected, the employee works harder, longer, and more creatively, anticipating the positive consequences of a successful effort. If failure is expected, the employee acts to minimize the negative consequences of failure. For example, withdrawing from the activity (refusing to try) moves the person away from proven failure to simply “I did not try.” It also allows the person to say, “At least I did not put a lot of energy into it,” or make some other rationalization. The point is that the employee’s self-efficacy sets up the person’s behavior to fulfill the self-efficacy beliefs. In expectancy theory terms, if I do not believe that I can successfully do something, I won’t exert the effort to do it; instead, I’ll do something else.

What can be done specifically to improve an individual’s self-efficacy? The supervisor can provide the employee with confidence through persuasion. Convincing her that she is quite capable of succeeding in the training will help. Also, seeing others who are similar to the employee succeed will improve the employee’s self-efficacy.

Training can improve self-efficacy either directly or indirectly, as a by-product.17 If the employee experiences low self-efficacy regarding her abilities to perform the job, but evidence indicates that she possesses the requisite KSAs, a program of improving self-concept and confidence is needed. When low self-efficacy results from a true lack of required KSAs, attaining competency in these KSAs should increase the employee’s self-efficacy if the training allows the trainee to demonstrate mastery on a continuous basis. In this case, the training needs to be designed so that the trainee begins with easily mastered tasks and moves to more complicated tasks after the easier components have been mastered. Trainers can also emphasize what the objectives are and the success of similar sets of trainees in the past.

Self-efficacy is very powerful in terms of facilitating trainee success. It seems to be a good predictor of both learning in the training environment and transfer of the behavior to the job.18 So determining a trainee’s self-efficacy before training and, if low, providing means to improve the trainee’s self-efficacy would seem to be a worthwhile endeavor.


Theories of learning are important in the development of training. We examine the essential elements of learning theories and identify their relationship to training. Specific applications of the theories are provided in subsequent chapters.

What Is Learning?

To understand the differences among learning theories, it helps to understand the difficulties of simply defining the concept of learning. Learning is not directly observable, but it is something that almost everyone says they experience. People “feel” that they have learned. It is clear from physiological evidence that learning is related to changes in the physical, neuronal structure of the brain and its related electrochemical functioning.19 However, how or why these electrochemical changes take place is still unknown. Learning is closely tied to memory; whatever is learned must be retained if it is to be useful. Electrochemical changes created during learning apparently create a relatively permanent change in neural functioning that becomes what is commonly termed memory. Again, relatively few definitive answers exist about how or where learning is stored in the central nervous system.


Because we cannot observe learning, we must infer that it occurs by looking at its observable effects. What things, influenced by learning, can we observe? The answer is: the learner’s behavior. For instance, in school, tests are given to determine what has been learned. The way questions are answered is the observable behavior. In the workplace, your supervisor might look for ways you perform your job differently after training. Because learning is measured in terms of relatively permanent changes in behavior, this becomes the operational definition of learning for many theorists. Behaviorists in particular adopt this definition.

Cognitive theorists, however, insist that even though learning can be inferred from behavior, it is separate from the behavior itself. By examining the ways in which people respond to information and the ways in which different types of behavior are grouped or separated, cognitive theorists developed theories of how information is learned. For cognitive theorists, learning represents a change in the content, organization, and storage of information (see the section, Example of Cognitive Theory). The term used to refer to the mental processing of information is cognition. For cognitive theorists, learning is defined as a relatively permanent change in cognition occurring as a result of experience. These theorists discuss learning in terms of mental infrastructures or schema rather than in terms of behavior. Learning is seen as the building and reorganization of schema to make sense of new information. Bruner,20 Gagné,21 and Piaget22 are among the cognitive theorists.


At first, the differences in the definition of learning might not seem important. It might seem to be a simple difference of whether learning is synonymous with behavior or of how information is processed, organized, and stored. However, these differences create widely different approaches to how education and training are conducted.

One obvious and important difference is where control of learning is believed to occur. The behaviorist approach suggests that the environment controls learning. Certain external stimuli are present, the person responds to them, and certain consequences result. It is the model of learning implied in Figure 3-2 (page 64) and discussed earlier as part of reinforcement theory. In the behaviorist approach, the trainer controls learning by controlling the stimuli and consequences that the learner experiences. The learner depends on the trainer to elicit the correct associations between stimulus and response. Note that this model does not include the brain or any mental activity. Skinner’s explanation of learning perhaps clarifies why he was sometimes referred to as a radical behaviorist. He defined learning as “a relatively permanent change in behavior in response to a particular stimulus or set of stimuli.”23 In other words, we perceive things a certain way because of the consequences of perceiving them that way. Learning occurs when new consequences are experienced.

In contrast, the cognitive approach suggests that the learner controls learning. Prospective learners come to training with their own set of goals and priorities. They possess a set of cognitive structures for understanding their environment and how it works. They even develop their own set of strategies about how to learn. The learners decide what is important to learn and go about learning by applying the strategies they developed and with which they feel comfortable. For cognitive theorists, the learner controls both what is learned and how it is learned. The trainer and the learning environment facilitate that process to a greater or lesser degree. Adoption of one approach or the other leads to implications for how training is conducted and the resulting atmosphere of the training environment. Table 3-2 lists some of the instructional implications of these two positions. For some learning situations, a behaviorist approach is better, and for others a cognitive approach works better.24 We discuss this issue again later in the chapter.


TABLE 3-2 Some Training Implications of Cognitive and Behaviorist Learning Theories


Cognitive Approach

Behaviorist Approach

Learner’s role

Active, self-directed, self-evaluating

Passive, dependent

Instructor’s role

Facilitator, coordinator, and presenter

Director, monitor, and evaluator

Training content

Problem or task oriented

Subject oriented

Learner motivation

More internally motivated

More externally motivated

Training climate

Relaxed, mutually trustful, respectful, and collaborative

Formal, authority oriented, judgmental, and competitive

Instructional goals

Collaboratively developed

Developed by instructor

Instructional activities

Interactive, group, project oriented, and experiential

Directive, individual, and subject oriented

Piaget identified two cognitive processes critical for learning: accommodation and assimilation. Accommodation is the process of changing our construction (“cognitive map”) of the world to correspond with our experience in it. Piaget indicated that accommodation occurs through the creation of new categories, or schemata, to accommodate experience that does not fit into existing categories. Assimilation is the incorporation of new experience into existing categories. In cognitive map terms, accommodation changes the map, whereas assimilation fills in the detail. These two processes are most clearly evident in young children but exist in adults as well. Suppose Mike (age eight) is in the rear seat of the car with his younger brother Brandon (almost two and learning to talk) as Dad drives through some farmland. As they pass a pasture where horses are grazing, Mike points and says, “Look Brandon, horses.” Brandon responds hesitantly, “Horsies?” Mike excitedly replies, “Yes, that’s right, horsies!” Dad glances back and says, “Good work, Brandon, you now know a new word!” Brandon is pleased and repeats the word several times to himself. As they continue driving, they pass another pasture with cows grazing. Brandon yells, “Look Mike, horsies!” Mike or Dad is now faced with teaching Brandon the difference between horses and cows.

What is the learning process that took place? Brandon started out with no understanding of horse or cow. When presented with a new perceptual experience and a label, Brandon created a new cognitive category that might include the following parameters: large, four-legged, brown, moving thing with a tail. So, when Brandon saw the cows, they fit enough of the parameters that he attempted to assimilate this new experience into the category “horsies.” If Mike and Dad do a good job of teaching Brandon the differences between horses and cows, he will learn to discriminate between these two and create a separate category for cows (accommodation). What he does not know yet is that later in life he will be taught to create new categories such as mammals and species and that both horses and cows are included in some categories but not in others.

The processes of assimilation and accommodation reflect the way we organize our experience and the meanings we attach to the world as we encounter it. Our behavior depends on how we accommodated or assimilated previous stimuli.


We believe that the cognitive and behavioral approaches must be integrated to provide a full definition of learning. Learning, as we use the term throughout this text, is defined as a relatively permanent change in cognition resulting from experience and directly influencing behavior. A fairly obvious implication of this definition is that changes in cognition and related behavior that result from things other than experience (e.g., effects of drugs, fatigue, and the like) would not be considered learning. The definition also implies that changes in cognition and behavior that are short-lived have not been learned. For example, memorizing a phone number long enough to walk from the telephone directory to the phone and dial the number would not fit into our definition of learning. However, learning mnemonic techniques that allow you to do that would be learning, if they were retained over a relatively long period of time.

Learning, as defined here, is not dependent on behavior. Relatively permanent cognitive changes (new KSAs) can occur in the absence of observable behavior. However, only the learner would know whether the learning took place. For example, think of courses you took in which the material was presented in a lecture or audiovisual form. If it was effective, you changed your way of thinking about the topic or came to a deeper understanding of the material—even though you did nothing other than pay attention and think about what was presented. However, until you engage in some activity related to the topic, no one other than you would know that learning had taken place. This phenomenon could also happen with skills. Suppose you are a chef and you attend a seminar on preparing a dish. You observe the presenter enhancing the flavor of a dish using a technique of which you had no previous knowledge. You go back to your kitchen, try the technique, and are successful on the first try. You acquired the “flavoring” skill through observation rather than behavior. However, you might not be sure you had acquired the skill until after you engaged in the behavior. Additionally, the more you use the technique, the more permanent (i.e., resistant to forgetting) it would become. Thus, behavior is both an important measure and means of learning.

Each of these two approaches produces valuable insights about learning. Learning theories that integrate the substantiated aspects of both approaches explain learning more completely than either one alone. We discuss such a theory next.


Social Learning Theory25 (also known as observational or vicarious learning), includes behaviorist principles, but has an important principle that differentiates it from the purely behavioral approach. This principle, that learning can occur without any overt behavior by the learner, has been substantiated by considerable research. So, from the Social Learning Theory perspective, events and consequences in the learning situation are cognitively processed and can influence behavior even if the learner does nothing but observe. As in reinforcement theory, the consequences of behavior (reinforcement or punishment) influence the likelihood of that behavior in the future, but they do so as a result of how they are perceived, interpreted, and stored in memory. Thus, a person can learn by observing the behavior of other people and the resulting consequences to those other people. This process is called observational learning (or sometimes referred to as vicarious learning). This theory contradicts the strict behaviorists, who claim that learning can occur only as a result of a person’s own behavior and its consequences. The cognitive processes that are a part of social learning theory are motivation, attention, retention, and to some extent behavioral reproduction. Figure 3-5 illustrates the relationships among these cognitive processes. The discussion that follows covers each aspect of the model.


Although motivation was discussed at length earlier in this chapter, it is useful to see how it fits in with social learning theory. As the model indicates, motivation both influences and is influenced by the other processes. The learner’s needs determine what things receive attention and are processed for retention. As shown in the model, social learning theory incorporates the reinforcement theory concept that the consequences of behavior affect the likelihood of future behavior. By observing someone else’s behavior, the observer can learn something about how to perform the behavior and also something about the consequences of the behavior. Thus, the learner’s future behavior is influenced by the how other people behave and the reinforcement or punishment that follows their behavior.


However, the model of learning processes illustrated in Figure 3-5 is more than just observational learning. It combines concepts from various learning theories into a comprehensive set of integrated learning processes. By examining these processes we are able to derive principles for effective training. After discussing each of the processes, we will show how they align with nine instructional principles that lead to effective training.


Before we can learn, we need to focus our attention on what is to be learned. For most of our waking hours we are in an environment that bombards us with a multitude of sights, sounds, smells and so on. However, we only notice some of all that is around us and pay attention to only part of that. The things we pay attention to are those that stand out for some reason (loud, bright, unusual, etc.) and which we believe have important consequences for us.

The chapter on training design addresses in great depth the issues related to capturing and maintaining trainee attention. However, let’s examine a few methods here to illustrate how managing trainee attention can increase the effectiveness of training. One way to garner attention is to let participants know the purpose of the training and why it has important consequences for them (the benefits of learning and the costs of not learning). You can also get trainee attention by making key learning points stand out so that the trainees will focus attention on them. Eliminating distractions, such as electronic communication devices, keeps trainees’ attention focused on the training. Making learning exercises fun and interesting keeps attention focused on the learning topic. However, exercises that are fun but not related to the learning objectives focuses attention away from what trainees are expected to learn. Getting trainees to pay attention is just the first step in facilitating learning. Once you have their attention you need to help them retain the information.


Once attention is focused on an object or event, the incoming information is processed for possible retention. Some of the information will be retained, and some will be lost. The more you design your training to facilitate the retention processes, the more your trainees will learn. As Figure 3-5 shows, there are three key retention processes; symbolic coding, cognitive organization, and symbolic rehearsal. The retention process begins with symbolic coding, which is the translation of the external world into internal symbols that are used to understand and retain the information. These symbols are then organized into the person’s existing cognitive structure by linking up with previously stored information. This “linking up” process is called cognitive organization. It is what we previously discussed as assimilation and accommodation (putting information into already existing categories or creating brand new categories for the information). It can be facilitated in training by asking the trainees to provide examples of how the new information relates to what they already know and how it differs from what they already know. Doing this serves two purposes: It allows the trainee to code and store the information more easily, and it allows the trainer to see whether the desired associations are being made. Our earlier discussion of Brandon learning the concept “horsie” and the difference between cows and horses is a simple example of how this process works. First Brandon learned the new concept “horse” which he symbolically coded into his memory as a large animal with four legs. He created a new category (cognitive organization) which he labeled “horsies.” Later he sees a cow which he calls a “horsie”. Let’s say dad and brother Mike tell him “No, that’s a cow.” Brandon isn’t likely to be able to understand the difference. If, when they get home, dad shows Brandon pictures of cows and horses and explains how they are different he will have facilitated Brandon’s learning. To see if Brandon really knows what distinguishes a cow from a horse dad should ask him to pick out the picture of the cow and show him what makes it different than the horse. It is through this question and answer cycle that dad will be able tell if Brandon really has learned to distinguish between the two. There are additional ways to facilitate retention beyond questioning and these are discussed in Chapter 5 (Design).

To anchor the learning and increase its retention, the learner can “practice” the learned material through visualizing or imagining how the knowledge or skill will be used. This is called symbolic rehearsal. If the focus is on skill building, the trainee imagines using the skills in different situations. This is usually fairly easy to do because a skill is generally associated with particular situations in which it is used. When the focus of learning is knowledge, it is sometimes more difficult to imagine how it can or will be used. For example, think back to when you were learning the multiplication tables. Most of us memorized these through constant repetition over many months, and to help us remember them we were given multiplication problems to solve. Each year, as we advanced to the next grade, we were given more multiplication problems to solve. This repetitive use of the multiplication rules allowed us to retain them. In contrast, storing information without any personal use—in other words, just memorizing—typically results in only short-term retention. Students who have ever crammed for an examination are probably familiar with this phenomenon. In the case of cramming for an exam, little time is spent trying to understand how the information can be used in the “real world” while a great deal of time is spent developing systems for memorizing the words. Once the exam is over, there is no perceived need to retain the information and it is lost. However, associating the information with its uses enhances the storage and retrieval processes, increasing long term retention. The symbolic rehearsal process is one kind of mental practice. Observing others use the knowledge or skill provides additional opportunities for symbolic rehearsal because as you watch them, you can put yourself in their place. Symbolic rehearsal also increases the ability to generalize learning to novel situations. As with the other retention processes, Chapter 5(Design) discusses many additional ways to enhance retention through symbolic rehearsal.

Behavioral Reproduction

Behavioral reproduction is repeated practice. The more a person practices using new information, the more it is learned and retained. The effectiveness of practice depends on how the practice is designed and reinforced. This will be discussed in detail in Chapter 5Figure 3-5 shows the behavioral reproduction process as being both a part of the learner’s internal cognitive processes and the external environment. This is done to show that the person’s internal processes initiate the behavior (retrieving the knowledge/skill from memory and directing the body to perform) while the behavior actually occurs in, and becomes part of, the external environment.

We already spent considerable time discussing the importance of behavioral consequences. One additional point is worth making, however. If consequences are to affect behavior, the individuals must be aware of the consequences and their connection to behavior. For example, assume that a supervisor has not yet told an employee that he has recommended him for a bonus because of superior performance. Obviously, the recommendation will not influence the employee’s behavior until the supervisor informs him. Even when aware of a consequence, the person may misinterpret its connection to performance. The supervisor may tell the employee “I’ve recommended you for a bonus.” However, the employee may think “Well I guess my getting him coffee every morning has paid off.” Thus, for consequences to have the desired effect the person must know the outcomes and correctly connect them to the behavior that produced them. Effective training programs need to provide learners with the opportunity to practice new behaviors, but in addition need to call attention to the desirable consequences of learning and of using the learning back on the job.


We have discussed various processes involved in how individuals learn and some things effective training programs should do to enhance learning. From these learning processes Gagné and his associates26 have developed a sequencing of instructional events that should be designed into any training program so as to facilitate the trainee’s learning process. Table 3-3 lists these and what the effect of the event is on the trainee.

TABLE 3-3 Gagné–Briggs Nine Events of Instruction27

Instructional Event

This Event Causes the Trainee

Gaining attention

To focus on trainer and/or training materials

Informing the trainee of goal (objective)

To begin to focus on the goal

Stimulating recall of prior knowledge (learning)

To retrieve prior learning to working memory

Presenting the material

To selectively perceive important parts of training

Providing learning guidance

To consider how the new material fits into the trainee’s overall schema and clarify where it belongs for ease of retrieval

Eliciting the performance

To do it

Providing feedback

To perform more effectively by reinforcing correct responses and assisting when incorrect

Assessing performance

To demonstrate what has been learned by completing some predetermined activity

Enhancing retention and transfer

To use the concept in more complex and varied ways accompanied by feedback

This Micro Theory of Instructional Design provides nine steps (sets of events) to follow in developing training.28 Gagné and his associates say:

·          “These events of instruction do not invariably occur in this exact order, though this is the most probable order . . . by no means are all of these events provided for every lesson. . . . Their role is to stimulate internal information processes . . . sometimes an event will be obvious to the learner and not needed . . . or provided by the learner themselves. . . . In using the checklist the designer asks, “Do these learners need support at this stage for learning this task?”29

So, one should not interpret the nine steps as applying to an entire training program that consists of multiple modules. Rather, these steps apply to each module in a training program. For example, if a training program has four modules and each module has its own learning objective, then the nine steps would apply to each module. But, perhaps not in the same order or even all of them in each module. We provide an example of how to apply the nine steps to a training module in Chapter 5(design). Our purpose here is just to familiarize you with how the theory of learning is translated into practical steps for the design of training.


We have now discussed both motivation and learning theory. Here we discuss how these integrate into a model of trainees’ motivation to learn as they enter and progress through a training program. In addition to designing training to align with learning processes, the design must also address the trainee’s motivation to learn. Motivation to learn is defined as the intensity and the persistence of the trainee’s learning-directed activities in relation to the training program.30 There is a significant amount of research evidence to show that motivation to learn influences the outcomes of training (knowledge and skill acquisition, transfer of KSAs to the job and resulting job performance).31 Thus, training professionals need to understand the factors affecting motivation to learn and how to address these in the design of training. In this chapter, we focus primarily on understanding the factors and only briefly touch on training design implications. We will cover the design issues more fully in Chapter 5.


FIGURE 3-6 Factors Affecting Motivation to Learn and Transfer of Training

Figure 3-6 shows how various individual and organizational factors affect motivation to learn. The relationships shown in the figure have been supported by numerous research studies. While the relationships among all the variables are much more complex than depicted, we have taken a few liberties in the interest of clarity to show how individual characteristics and the organizational context interact to influence the trainee’s motivation to learn. As Figure 3-632 shows, the trainee’s motivation will be determined by individual factors (self-efficacy, valence, anxiety, and cognitive ability) and environmental factors (climate for learning and transfer and supervisor/peer support). These are the shaded areas in the figure. We will discuss the environmental factors first.

Environmental Factors and Resistance

Resistance to learning occurs when the trainee’s motivation to learn is not high enough to overcome other forces acting on the trainee that discourage learning. Learning, like eating, is one of the most fundamental processes of survival, so why do trainees resist it? Trainers and managers continually complain about trainees who do not pay attention, are disruptive, and demonstrate a general resistance to learning new material. If learning is a basic human process, why are so many complaints of this type made?

Viewing learning as a performance outcome is the first step to understanding resistance to learning. Most learning is not something that happens automatically or unconsciously. It is an activity we decide to do or not do. From the performance model discussed earlier (see Figure 3-1), we know that learning is determined by a person’s motivation, KSAs, and learning environment. If the trainee doesn’t have the prerequisite KSAs or the environment doesn’t allow learning to occur, then resistance occurs. If trainees are not motivated to learn the material, they will also demonstrate various forms of resistance.

There are many organizational-environment factors that influence how employees enter training. We will focus on three key factors: peer support, supervisor support, and the climate for learning and transfer back to the job. These have substantial research support and are factors that can be addressed by the training design.


Peer support is the encouragement and assistance that trainees receive from their coworkers. The effects of group dynamics in the work unit on individual group member behavior and motivation is significant and is one reason trainees might resist new learning. The power and control of the group over its members was first noted in the Hawthorne studies of the 1920s and 1930s.33 Even though members of the group were paid a piece rate, the output from members of the group was always within a certain number of units. Examination of this study revealed that the group set a standard, rewarded those who remained within the standard, and punished those who did much more or much less. Thus, the group norm of a certain number of units was generally followed.

The power of the group comes from rewards the group gives to members who follow group norms or the punishment for those who do not. These rewards or punishments can be as simple as talking to (reward) or shunning (punishment) a group member. Punishment can also be severe, such as slashing tires or physically threatening those who do not comply. Consider the following scenario. Sarah arrives at the training center early, excited to be attending a workshop on how to communicate with customers more effectively. Fellow trainees are talking among themselves, making fun of the training. One of them says, “They are going to tell us how to do our job; I bet the trainer has never even done our job, so how could he know?” Another responds, “Yeah, these workshops are put together by those who never worked in a real job, but at least we can enjoy this as a day off work.” Then one turns to Sarah and says, “Hey, I see you managed to con your boss into sending you here for a rest too—good work.” To be part of the “in group,” Sarah will have to agree and, as a result, will be much less active in the training than she would really like. This will affect the amount she learns.

Let’s say that in spite of her (and everyone else’s) lack of participation in the workshop, Sarah did learn a few skills. Now she goes back to her workplace. There she hears coworkers (peers) comment, “Well, did you enjoy your day off? Wasn’t that training the stupidest stuff you have ever seen?” and “Can you imagine using that ‘active listening’ stuff on a real customer?” With such comments, what is the likelihood that Sarah will want to try some of these new skills? Group dynamics is a powerful force that can drastically inhibit both learning and transfer of skills.34

Group dynamics can also be used to support high performance. The pajama factory experiments of the late 1940s compared employees in two groups where change was necessary in how the jobs were done.35 In one group employees were told about the changes, and in the other the members provided input into the changes. The no-participation group showed a drop in productivity from the baseline, and the participation group showed an increase in productivity from the baseline. The most important factor in the difference was group norms that developed either to restrict output (no-participation group) or increase it (participation group). More recent research indicates that peer support for training is a strong predictor of the likelihood that trainees will transfer what they learned to the job.36 The control the work group exerts over the individual member is a double-edged sword. It is a good thing if the norms are developed in line with the organizational goals, bad if they are not. One way of developing positive norms is to allow input from the work group on decisions that will affect them. The movement toward more teams and teamwork in organizations provides such opportunities, but to ensure that the right norms are developed, these work groups need to be nurtured and made to feel that they are a valuable part of the organization.37


Supervisor support is also a key factor influencing motivation to learn and resistance to training.38 Supervisors are the official source of rewards in most organizations. If your supervisor doesn’t think that training is worthwhile and communicates this to you, what will your reaction be? Probably you will also think that the training is not worthwhile, and your attitude walking into the training will be negative. With this predisposition, you are likely to demonstrate one or more signs of resisting the training. For this reason, we advocate engaging the trainees’ supervisor(s) early in the training design process. This allows the supervisor(s) to have input into the training and to see how the training will be of value to the work unit.


For training to be successful, both learning and the use of that learning back on the job need to be supported. If the employee doesn’t feel that learning the new material is valued by those that matter she will make little or no effort to learn. Evidence that the organization supports learning is shown in the way it creates learning opportunities and the way it rewards learning. This “learning” climate combines with the climate for “transfer” to influence the employee’s motivation to learn and apply that learning to the job. While a positive climate for learning and transfer includes supervisor and peer support, it includes many other things as well. It requires aligning organizational systems and procedures to support the new job behaviors and the training process in addition to removing barriers. What sorts of systems and procedures need to be aligned? We will talk more in depth about this in the next chapter on the needs analysis phase of the training model. For now, it’s sufficient to know that organizational reward systems, job materials and equipment, and job procedures are on the list.

Individual Factors and Resistance

Differences in personality and other individual characteristics are related to trainees’ motivation and ability to learn and thus are also factors in resistance to learning. We have already discussed in some depth how a person’s self-efficacy and the way she values the outcomes of training (“valence” in expectancy theory terms) will influence her motivation. The number of personality traits that influence a person’s motivation to learn is far greater than can be discussed here. For the most part, an understanding of these personality traits provides little practical value for training design and implementation. This is true for several reasons. In most organizations, employee personality traits are not measured, as it is too costly and impractical. Even if these traits were measured, designing a training program that addresses all the individual differences among the trainees would be too complex and costly to be practical. The same is true for developing separate training programs for sets of trainees with unique combinations of traits. However, there are some individual characteristics that are fairly easily observed and which training can be designed to address.


Cognitive ability refers to individual differences in information-processing capacity and the level of cognitive resources that a person can bring to bear on a problem. This is often referred to as general intelligence. It is clear that individual differences in cognitive ability relate to differences in learning.39 Trainees with differences in cognitive ability will respond differently to goals set for training.

Goal Setting

Some interesting findings came from studies regarding the learning process for low- and high-ability individuals.40 Goal setting as a motivational incentive does not always operate with the same magnitude for these two groups. When those with low ability are starting to learn a moderately difficult task, providing goals to them will inhibit, rather than enhance, learning. Although the same is true for high-ability individuals, it is not nearly as severe. High-ability individuals, it seems, have the additional cognitive capacity to focus on goals in addition to the new learning in the early learning stage. This difference disappears as the task is learned, and then goal setting enhances the performance of both low- and high-ability individuals. Even though a difference separates the two groups, results from this research suggest that generally, it is wise to design training so that difficult tasks are broken down into a set of simpler tasks that are more easily mastered. If this is not possible, then it is best not to introduce goal setting as a motivational device early in the training process.

KSA Base

Trainees with higher levels of cognitive ability not only process information more quickly but also typically have a larger store of knowledge. Although we indicate that it is desirable to consider diversity among trainees as an opportunity, this is true only up to a point. Substantial differences in the trainees’ KSAs related to the training can create significant challenges for the design of training. Those with less knowledge will need to have more training material available to them than the others. It is not only differences in KSAs that can create problems in a training group. The speed at which trainees can process the training information can also make a big difference. Those with less cognitive ability might not be able to keep up with the material, or if the material is presented at a slower pace, the more knowledgeable trainees are bored to tears.

The logic of using different approaches for trainees with significant differences in cognitive ability and KSA base makes some sense here. One approach would be to design separate training programs for the two groups. Another approach would be to develop two phases for the training. The first phase would be for those with lower cognitive abilities. This phase would develop the KSA base and other prerequisite knowledge for the second phase. The idea here is to reduce the differences in ability to keep up with the material in the second phase. The second phase would include all trainees. Another approach would be to use electronic, self-paced training methods, allowing each trainee to move through the material at a pace consistent with their cognitive abilities.


If training is perceived as leading to attractive outcomes such as better performance and better pay, there is a higher probability that the learning will take place, and transfer to the job will occur.41 This was demonstrated in a recent study showing that trainees who believed that the training was relevant to their job were more likely to learn and transfer that learning to the job.42

However, it is important to note that even when trainees acknowledge the value of the training, they might believe that the effort required to master the learning is just not worthwhile. In Piaget’s terms, the accommodation process (developing new cognitive categories) is the most difficult, whereas assimilation (adding new things to existing categories) is relatively easy. Accommodation requires a learner to create new categories that then need to be linked to other related categories. The more categories that exist and the more developed they are, the more difficult the learning. When assimilating, the learner simply adds new elements and rearranges associations among elements within a single category. When accommodating, not only must learners create a new category and place elements into that category, but they must also associate this category with other categories. The elements within those categories must be modified to create the network of associations that appropriately incorporates the new information.

This type of situation occurs whenever a company changes the paradigms it uses for conducting its business. For example, think about what supervisors face when companies move from a traditional, centralized, hierarchical, autocratic decision-making system to a flexible, team-based, more consensus-based, employee-involvement system. From their experience and training in the traditional system, the supervisors developed a cognitive structure for getting things done. They learned how to make all the decisions for their subordinates and developed a system for communicating those decisions and ensuring that they were carried out effectively. These strategies were probably reinforced over many years. A new piece of equipment or a change in the work process brings new procedures that are learned and assimilated into the supervisor’s decision-making structure relatively easily. Under the new team-based decision-making structure, however, the whole process of making decisions must be relearned because the underlying organizational assumptions have changed. For the supervisor, the focus is no longer on the quality of decisions but on the supervisor’s ability to facilitate quality decisions by the team. Although some aspects of the supervisor’s old decision-making process might still be useful, his cognitive structure must be changed to incorporate the new concepts, and the useful aspects of the old concepts must be reorganized and integrated with the new. For this reason, learning the new system will be more difficult for supervisors with a lot of experience than for a newly hired supervisor with little experience in the traditional system.


Anxiety is a heightened state of arousal related to feelings of apprehension or fear. High levels of anxiety interfere with other cognitive processes and cause the trainee to withdraw from or actively resist the learning process. Many trainees feel anxious as they enter training. Most trainees arrive at training with an elaborate and highly integrated cognitive structure. They already know a lot about themselves, their work, their company, and many other things.43 

The objective of training is to change some part of that cognitive structure so that the trainee’s performance will be improved. Change creates anxiety, however, for the following reasons:

Fear of the unknown

“Right now I know how things work, but I do not know how this training will affect things.”

Fear of incompetence

“I do not know whether I’ll be able to learn this stuff.”

Fear of losing rewards

“What will happen to my pay, status, and perks, among other things?”

Fear of lost influence

“Will this training make me more or less valuable?”

Fear or lost investments

“I’ve spent a lot of time and energy learning to do it this way. Why change?”

These concerns deal with the trainees’ needs, their current competencies, and how training will change their current outcomes. Pretraining counseling, the setup of the training facility, and the way in which training is introduced can all reduce the level of anxiety trainees feel. Expectancy theory addresses these factors, and the trainees’ motivation to learn will depend on the answers to these questions. To the degree that the answers indicate that learning is worth the effort, the individual will be motivated to learn.

The “fear of incompetence” issue deserves more discussion. In general, the more experienced employee has a more developed, integrated, and complex cognitive structure. A great deal of effort has gone into creating that cognitive structure. Now he is being told that his KSAs are not good enough and he has to go to training. Trainees also might feel that they are being told that the trainer knows more about how to do their job than they do. Both of these situations can contribute to the trainee feeling that his competence is under attack, leading to defensive behaviors. This is especially true if the training is mandatory. These defensive behaviors can take the form of trying to show the trainer, and the other trainees, that the training is inadequate or irrelevant and that their current KSAs are better than what training has to offer. They also might try to show that the trainer is incompetent. By degrading the training or the trainer, the trainee feels that he is protecting himself.

This generalization is not to say that more experienced people always resist learning new things or discarding old beliefs. They frequently do not. As adults mature, they appear to go through periodic episodes of cognitive reorganization in which long standing concepts or principles are reevaluated.44 During these cognitive reorganizations, knowledge that is of little functional value is discarded, and new KSAs are discovered and integrated into their cognitive structure, especially in times of transition such as job or career changes. For adults, the key factor in discarding old learning and acquiring new learning is its practical usefulness. Training that seems abstract, theoretical, or otherwise unrelated to doing the job will likely be ignored or resisted. Training that can demonstrate its value and practical utility will find trainees eager to learn. This needs to be built into the training design.


Goal orientation is a relatively new construct in the adult training literature and is not as well researched as factors contained in Figure 3-6. Nevertheless, it does seem to have a significant impact on motivation to learn.45 Goal orientation is the degree to which an individual is predisposed toward either a “learning orientation” or a “performance orientation.”46 Those with a learning goal orientation focus on the learning process. They seek challenging tasks to increase their competence, see negative feedback as important information to help them master the task, and see failure as a learning experience. One result of this learning goal orientation is persistence when having problems doing a complex task; they are more motivated to continue to try and solve the problem.

Those with a performance goal orientation differ because they focus on the end result. They wish to be seen as competent and therefore desire favorable, not negative, feedback. They prefer easier tasks where they are able to demonstrate their competence rather than learning something new. A result of having this performance goal orientation is avoidance of complex tasks for fear of failure, limited persistence, and a tendency to be easily distracted.47

In an organizational setting, those with a performance goal orientation have a strong desire to impress others and focus on the outcome of their performance. Those with a learning goal orientation focus on mastery of the task to develop their competence, acquire new skills, and learn from their experience.48 The research using goal orientation in an organizational/training setting has only been going on for a few years, but much of it concludes that it is better to have a learning goal orientation than a performance goal orientation in a training setting.49 In other words, the focus should be on the process of learning new things rather than on some end product performance goal. The good news is that although there is evidence that goal orientation is a trait, the trait can be influenced by the situation. In fact, it seems that as long as there are situational cues suggesting a focus on learning rather than performance, the situational cues will override the goal orientation trait.50Furthermore, these findings tend to be supported when the task is complex and requires new knowledge and strategies.51


Learning occurs quite frequently in adults when it appears to offer practical application immediately or in the near future.52 For example, a study showed that IBM sales representatives averaged more than 1,100 hours a year in “new learning episodes.” (A new learning episode was defined as a deliberate attempt to gain and retain some significant knowledge or skill for problem solving or personal change.) Professors, by contrast, averaged slightly more time (1,745 hours) on fewer episodes. Clearly, adults are not resistant to learning, but they are sometimes resistant to training offered by their companies. Why?

Training Relevance, Value, and Readiness to Learn

Some of the most often mentioned reasons for adults engaging in new learning are problems on the job, job/occupational changes, home and personal responsibilities, and competency at some hobby or recreational activity. In the study mentioned previously, about two-thirds of the learning episodes were job-related. The need to know and the readiness to learn are critical aspects in the success of adult learning programs.53 The need to know refers to the value of the knowledge to the learner. Adults most often seek to learn when the learning is life-, task-, or problem-centered.54 Readiness to learn refers to the amount of prerequisite knowledge (KSAs) the trainees possess and the trainees’ belief that they can learn the material. This aspect is consistent with the principles of self-efficacy and expectancy theory. People’s motivation to learn a particular knowledge or skill set is directly influenced by their belief that if they put forth the effort, they will be successful in their learning (Expectancy 1). Beyond this expectation, they must feel that the benefits of learning the KSAs outweigh the benefits of not learning them (Expectancy 2).

The challenge is to provide instruction in a context that overcomes the natural resistance of adult learners to changing their cognitive structures. Making the relevance and value of the learning clear as it relates to the trainee and organizational goals addresses one source of resistance to learning.55 Ensuring that the trainee believes she can successfully master the training content is another important motivator. Over time, adults might develop feelings of low self-efficacy in certain areas and feelings of high self-efficacy in others. For those with a low self-efficacy for learning in general or for the specific content area of the training, the trainer needs to change the self-efficacy beliefs so that trainees are more willing to attempt new learning. Doing so requires a careful match between the trainee’s characteristics (e.g., KSA level, learning-style preferences) and the design of the training. Trainers can overcome a significant type of resistance to learning by demonstrating that learning in the subject area can be as easy as in areas in which trainees have high self-efficacy.

Allowing Trainees Control Over Their Learning

As we pointed out, trainees walk into training with well-developed cognitive maps that reflect their experiences. Since these experiences differ from person to person, any given training group is likely to differ considerably in the KSAs they possess and in their learning strategies. Trainees often view these differences as hindrances to their learning and resist training with others who are dissimilar. However, these differences can be viewed as a learning resource if the trainees are willing to share their experiences and strategies and if the training environment supports such an exchange. In fact, adult learners prefer sharing their learning experiences with others if the environment is supportive. Even though adults prefer to plan their own learning projects and to adopt a self-directed approach to learning, this preference does not imply a desire to learn in isolation. Rather, it reflects a desire to set their own pace, establish their own structure for learning, and employ flexibility in the learning methods. More often than not, adults seek learning assistance from others. In short, they do not mind learning from others but they want to maintain some control over the learning experience. These characteristics suggest that training that incorporates individualized components and also makes use of shared, relevant experiences will be most effective at overcoming resistance to learning.

Although it is true that many adults are able to learn new competencies even when they are not told the significance or usefulness of the training, they are much less likely to be able to apply these new competencies to their job. Research suggests that trainees receiving instruction on how to perform a set of skills show improved performance at the end of training but fail to use the skills on their own or to generalize the skill usage to similar situations.56 Training that provides instruction on the “how to” and includes the “why and when” results in improved performance and continued use of the skill across appropriate situations.57

Involving Trainees in the Process

Training, then, should take into account the motivational and cognitive processes that influence the trainee’s readiness and willingness to learn. Many writers emphasize the importance of participation, choice, personal experiences, critical reflection, and critical thinking as key characteristics of adult learning.58 Involving the trainees in the learning process from needs assessment to design and evaluation addresses many of these issues.

Involvement is a key part of overcoming resistance to change. You might remember from the discussion of OD principles in Chapter 2 that involving those who are affected by change in planning and implementing the change creates a sense of ownership. The result is increased commitment to the change and better implementation of the change. Supervisors and trainees should be involved in determining the training needs because both are affected by the change. Supervisors have a clearer understanding of why new KSAs are necessary, how they fit in with the overall plans for the work unit, and the consequences of their employees learning or not learning the new KSAs. The trainees, in turn, see what KSAs they need to improve and understand why those KSAs will be of value. Involving trainees in needs analysis and other parts of the training process will be discussed in more depth in the relevant chapters.

Training design issues are discussed in more detail in Chapter 5. However, training professionals should consider the following nine principles in developing training programs for their employees:

·         1. Identify, where possible, the trainees’ strengths and challenges relating to motivation to learn and design the training to address as many of these as is practical.

·         2. Align learning objectives to organizational goals and show how learning is important to trainee and organizational success.

·         3. Describe program goals and objectives clearly at the start of training.

·         4. Engage the trainee early, thus maximizing attention, expectations, and memory.

·         5. Use a systematic, logically connected sequencing of learning activities so that trainees master lower levels of learning before moving to higher levels.

·         6. Use a variety of training methods.

·         7. Use realistic job- or life-relevant training material.

·         8. Allow trainees to work together and share experiences.

·         9. Provide constant feedback and reinforcement while encouraging self-assessment.

The trainer can address the diversity of characteristics trainees bring to training within the context of a group-learning environment by applying these principles to training programs.


An employee’s performance is a function of motivation, KSAs, and environment. This is true of performance in training as well as job performance. Learning the content of a training program will depend on the motivation and KSAs the trainee brings to the training program and to the training environment. Examination of theoretical frameworks in the fields of motivation and learning provides us with practical insights for the design of training programs. Theories of motivation fall into two categories: needs theories and process theories. Needs theories, such as ERG, explain what it is that motivates an individual. Process theories, such as expectancy theory, explain how an individual’s needs lead to goal-directed behavior. Self-efficacy, a person’s belief in her performance capabilities, plays a significant factor in motivation.

Two historical approaches to understanding learning are the behaviorist perspective (Skinner) and the cognitive perspective (Piaget). The behavioral approach (reinforcement theory) focuses on the importance of the environment, and the cognitive approach (accommodation/assimilation) emphasizes the processes that lead to learning. Together, the two theoretical perspectives provide a more complete picture of the learning process than either can do alone. Bandura’s social learning theory provides a more integrated approach through which we can more fully understand learning. The process of learning provides the foundation for designing effective training. Gagné and colleagues provide this foundation with their theory of instructional design (nine events of instruction).

A model (Figure 3-6) was presented showing individual and organizational factors influencing motivation to learn and the influence of motivation to learn on training outcomes. The factors influencing motivation to learn (self-efficacy, cognitive ability, anxiety, valence of outcomes, climate for transfer, and supervisor and peer support) were also discussed in terms of their relationship to resistance to learning. A number of reasons explain why trainees are hesitant to learn new material, such as fear of the unknown or of not being successful at learning the new material. The concept of learning goal orientation was introduced, and how it differed from a performance goal orientation was discussed, including the ramifications of each orientation to training.

Training design implications from the Motivation to Learn section were provided. To motivate trainees, the training needs to be relevant and valuable. Trainees need to feel confident of being successful in learning the training content. Goal setting will increase motivation in the later parts of the training program but will interfere with learning in the early stages for those lower in cognitive ability. Finally, trainee involvement with each phase of the training process will facilitate trainee interest and motivation in the training. The design of training will also need to consider differences in trainee traits and other characteristics within the context of what is practical. In some cases, separate training programs will be best; in other cases, counseling or prerequisite KSA training may be desirable.

Key Terms

·          Accommodation

·          Assimilation

·          Attention

·          Behavioral reproduction

·          Classical conditioning

·          Cognition

·          Cognitive organization

·          Cognitive process

·          Cognitive structure

·          Environment

·          ERG theory

·          Existence needs

·          Expectancy theory

·          Extinction

·          Group dynamics

·          Growth needs

·          Law of effect

·          Learning

·          Learning goal orientation

·          Performance goal orientation

·          Micro Theory of Instructional Design

·          Motivation

·          Needs theory

·          Negative reinforcement

·          Observational learning

·          Operant conditioning

·          Performance model

·          Positive reinforcement

·          Process theories

·          Punishment

·          Reinforcement theory

·          Relatedness needs

·          Resistance to learning

·          Retention

·          Self-efficacy

·          Social learning theory

·          Symbolic coding

·          Symbolic rehearsal

·          Theory

·          Valence

Questions for Review


Explain the behavioral and cognitive approaches to learning. Which is most relevant to training? Explain your answer.


You are a trainer explaining expectancy theory to a group of managers so they can better understand and deal with employee motivation problems. One of the managers says, “I do not have time for this theory stuff. I want real-world training that helps me in my job.” How would you respond to the trainee? What is your rationale for your response?


List the nine events of instruction as outlined by Gagné and Briggs and indicate how you would use them in a training situation.


Explain why different people need different training methods.


How does a work group exert control over the performance of a worker? Provide a rationale for why this “power” is a positive or negative thing.


How can training be designed to motivate learning and accommodate trainee differences?



The following steps provide practice in implementing a social learning strategy:

·         a.Consult with a friend, coworker, or fellow student to identify a target behavior that the person does not currently have but would like to have.

·         b.Develop a social learning strategy for the person to acquire that behavior.

·         c.Implement the strategy.

·         d.In small groups or with the whole class, describe what you tried to do and what happened.


In groups of four to six people, discuss the differences among you that would affect the kind of training you would prefer. Use Figure 3-6 on page 77 to start your discussion, but do not limit it to only those characteristics. What accounts for the differences and similarities among your group members?


Observe an introductory course in computer programming. Then observe an introductory course in art or music. Which course uses a more behavioral and which a more cognitive approach to learning? If possible, interview the instructors to find out why that is their approach. Describe the match between the instructional approach and the subject matter.


Use the following to see how expectancy theory explains differences in student motivation.

·         a.In a small group, discuss the most important outcome that you want to achieve in this class (it may or may not be a letter grade). Have each person indicate how valuable that outcome is by using a scale from 1 = “not at all desirable” to 10 = “extremely desirable.”

·         b.Ask a group member to describe the most important outcome; then ask that person to describe how strong that motivation is compared with the other goals for this term (use a scale of 1 = “not at all motivated” to 10 = “extremely motivated”).

·         c.Ask that same person to describe the things that must be done (performance level) to achieve that outcome.

·         d.Ask the person to indicate the Expectancy 1 level (the belief that she will reach the performance level). Then ask the person to describe Expectancy 2 (the likelihood that successful performance will result in the outcome). Use probabilities (e.g., 1 = “very unlikely,” .5 = “50% chance of happening,” and .9 = “very likely”) to reflect expectancies.

·         e.Now examine the expectancy linkages to see how well they conform to the person’s level of motivation. Discuss any discrepancies and why they exist.


This exercise is for those who are working together on a project. Without conversation among members of your group, write a list of the group’s norms for performance on the project. When you are done, indicate whether you follow each of the norms and why. Once everyone has finished the tasks above, collect all the responses and mix them up. Hand them out. Allow each person to read the responses they received and compile the responses on a flip chart. Once all responses have been read, discuss the implications of your group’s perception of performance norms.

Web Research

There are more theories of learning and motivation than have been described in this chapter. Do a search for a learning or a motivation theory that is not in the text. When you find one, write a summary of the theory and suggest how it could be used in training.

Conduct a search for how a business has applied one of the theories in this chapter. Write a summary of how the theory was applied and the results of the application, if this is available.



Rick recently received an MBA. In university, he was known as smart, hardworking, and friendly. His good grades landed him an internship with Peterson Paper Products (PPP) to head their sales department. Near the end of the internship, Val Peterson, the president and founder of the company, asked Rick to meet him after work to discuss the future.


Val Peterson founded PPP 17 years ago. It purchases raw paper of varying grades and produces paper stock for business, personal stationery, and greeting cards. Its annual sales topped $15 million, and it employs 80 to 90 people, depending on demand. Sales gradually declined over the last two years after steady and sometimes spectacular growth during the previous seven years. Competition increased markedly over the last three years, and profit margins dwindled. Although PPP is known for the high quality of its products, consumers are shifting from premium-priced, high-quality products to products with higher overall value. Through all of these changes, PPP maintained a close-knit family culture. At least half of the employees have been with the company since the beginning or are friends or relatives of the Petersons or Mr. Ball, Val’s partner.

Val Peterson, 53, holds the majority of stock in this privately held company that he founded. He began working summers in a paper company during high school. He supervised a shift at a paper plant while he went to college at night. After graduation, he worked at increasingly higher management levels, occasionally switching employers for a promotion. Eighteen years ago, he quit his vice presidency with a major paper product manufacturer to start his own company. Employees see him as charismatic, even-tempered, and reasonable. He spends most of his time and energy on company business, putting in 12-hour days.

Rosie Peterson, 50, is Val’s wife and the controller for the company. She holds 5 percent of the company stock. Rosie never went to college, and her accounting methods are rather primitive (all paper and pencil). Nonetheless, she is always on top of the financial picture and puts in nearly as many hours as Val. She exerts a great deal of influence on the operations and direction of PPP.

Walter Ball, 61, is both Mr. Peterson’s friend and business partner. He owns 25 percent of the stock and has known Val since before the start of PPP. He is VP of operations, which means that he oversees the computer information systems that run the paper production process and handles the technical side of the business. He is not current on the latest computer or manufacturing technology, but he loves the paper business. He says he will probably retire at 65, but most say they will believe it when they see it.

Diane Able, 41, is the customer service manager and is married to Steve Able, the chief engineer. Diane worked her way up in the company over the last 10 years. She is often asked to assist Mr. Peterson with projects because of her common sense, and he trusts her to keep information to herself.

Rick’s Offer

When Rick met Mr. Peterson to “discuss the future,” he was nervous. He knew that Mr. Peterson liked his work so far, but did not know if it was enough to extend his internship another six months. So far, he had worked with Mr. Peterson only on special projects and did not know the rest of the management group well. He was flabbergasted when Mr. Peterson said, “I was thinking that you might like to work here at PPP full-time and help us out with our sales department.”

The two of them discussed the problems in the sales area and talked about what could be done to boost sales. Rick agreed to start the next Monday. During this conversation, Rosie walked in and suggested that they all go out to dinner. At dinner, Rosie emphasized to Rick that PPP was a family operation, down-to-earth and informal. “You probably shouldn’t try to change things too quickly,” she warned. “People need time to get used to you. You have to remember, you’re an outsider here and everyone else is an insider.” Then Val moved the conversation back to what the future could be like at PPP.

Rick’s Awakening

During the first few days at work, Rick spent time getting to know the plant and operations, meeting all the employees, and familiarizing himself with the problems in sales. He met with Val each morning and afternoon. He also met with the key managers, not only to introduce himself but also 

to convey his desire to work collaboratively with them in addressing the problems in sales. He was conscious not to flaunt his university education and to convey that he recognized he was a newcomer and had a lot to learn. In the middle of his second week, Val told him that his reception by the other employees was going very well: “Your enthusiasm and motivation seem to be contagious. Having you join us shows them that things need to change if we’re going to reach our goals.”

Rick noticed, however, that the managers always went out in groups, and he had not been invited along. Also, he was not included in the informal discussion groups that formed periodically during the day. In fact, the conversation usually stopped when he approached. Everyone was friendly, he thought; maybe it would just take a little more time.

By his third week, Rick identified some of the problems in the sales department. Among the four salespeople, morale and productivity were moderate to low. He could not find any sales strategy, mission, or objectives. The records showed that Val was by far the leading salesperson. The others indicated that Mr. Peterson “always works with us very closely to make sure we do things right. If he senses there might be a problem, he steps in right away.” After formulating a plan, Rick discussed it with Mr. Peterson. “First, I would like to institute weekly sales meetings so we keep everyone up to date. I also want to create a centralized sales database,” he told him. Mr. Peterson smiled and agreed. Rick felt he was finally a manager. He did feel that he should have mentioned his idea for creating a sales department mission and strategy, but recalled Rosie’s caution about not moving too fast.

Rick discussed with Mr. Ball the possibility of using the centralized computer system to run word processing and spreadsheet software on terminals. Mr. Ball was concerned that outsiders could access the data in the spreadsheets. Anyway, he did not think the system could handle that task because its primary function was production. Puzzled, Rick asked if a PC could be allocated to him. Mr. Ball said that no one in the company had one.

“Well,” Rick thought, “I’ll just have to bring mine from home.” The next Monday Rick walked through the office carrying his computer. Several of the other managers looked at him quizzically. Making light of it he said, “I’m not smart enough to keep everything in my head and I do not have enough time to write it all down on paper.” As he was setting up the computer, he got a call from Val: “Rick, that computer you brought in has caused a heck of a ruckus. Can you lie low with it until I get back late this afternoon?” Rick thought Val sounded strained but chalked it up to overwork. Rick agreed and left the computer on his desk, partly assembled. Five minutes later, Rosie walked into his office.

“Do you think it’s funny bringing that thing in here? What are you trying to prove—how backward we all are? How much better you are with your big initials behind your name? You’re still an outsider here, buster, and do not forget it.”

Rick tried to explain how much more productive the sales department would be with a computer and that he had tried to use the company’s computer system. However, Rosie was not listening: “Did you think about checking with me before bringing that in? With Val or even Walter? Don’t you think we have a right to know what you’re bringing in here?” Rick knew argument would do no good, so he apologized for not checking with everyone first. He said he had a meeting with Val later to talk about it. Rosie said, “Good, talk to Val, but don’t think he calls all the shots here.”

At the meeting with Val, Val agreed that the computer would certainly help solve the problems in sales: “But, you have to be sensitive to the feelings of Rosie and the other managers. It would be best if you did not use the computer for a while until things calm down.”

The next day Walter walked into Rick’s office. He told Rick that he had moved far too fast with the computer: “That’s not how it’s done here, son. Maybe you’re spending too much time listening to what Val says. He isn’t really the one to talk to about these kinds of issues. Next time you just ask old Uncle Walter.”

Rick spent the next few weeks building the database by hand and conducting sales meetings with his staff. He tried to set up meetings with Mr. Peterson, but Val was usually too busy. One day, Rick asked Diane Able about not being able to see Mr. Peterson and she said, “You know, you monopolized a lot of his time early on. Those of us who worked closely with him before you came were pushed aside so he could spend time with you. Now it’s your turn to wait.”

“Are you the one who’s been spending all the time with him?” Rick asked.