Training and development
Training and development involves improving the effectiveness of organizations and the individuals and teams within them. Training may be viewed as related to immediate changes in organizational effectiveness via organized instruction, while development is related to the progress of longer-term organizational and employee goals. While training and development technically have differing definitions, the two are oftentimes used interchangeably and/or together. Training and development has historically been a topic within applied psychology but has within the last two decades become closely associated with human resources management, talent management, human resources development, instructional design, human factors, and knowledge management.
The first training-related article was published in 1918 in the Journal of Applied Psychology. This article explored an undergraduate curriculum designed for applied psychologists. World War II influenced the focus of applied psychology research to be on effectiveness of training programs, particularly in military contexts. By the 1960s and 70s, the field began developing theories and conducting theory-based research because up until that point, the field had been rooted in trial-and-error intervention research. This era also brought along the development of new training methods such as the use of computers, television, case studies, and role playing. The scope of training and development also expanded to include cross-cultural training, focus on the development of the individual employee, and the use of new organization development literature to frame training programs. The 1980s marked a shift to focus on how employees were receiving and implementing training programs, and encouraged the collection of data for evaluation purposes, particularly management training programs. The development piece of training and development became increasingly popular in the 1980s and 90s, with employees more frequently being influenced by the concept of "lifelong learning". It was in this decade that research revealing the impact and importance of fostering a training and development-positive culture (including management and co-worker) was first conducted. The turn of the century brought more research in topics such as team-training, for example cross-training. Cross-training emphasizes training in coworkers' responsibilities.
The "stakeholders" in training and development are categorized into several classes. The sponsors of training and development are senior managers. The clients of training and development are business planners. Line managers are responsible for coaching, resources, and performance. The participants are those who actually undergo the processes. The facilitators are Human Resource Management staff. And the providers are specialists in the field. Each of these groups has its own agenda and motivations, which sometimes conflict with the agendas and motivations of the others.
Especially in the last couple decades, training has become more trainee-focused, which allows those being trained more flexibility and active learning opportunities. For example, these active learning techniques include exploratory/discovery learning, error management training, guided exploration, and mastery training. Typical projects in the field include executive and supervisory/management development, new-employee orientation, professional-skills training, technical/job training, customer-service training, sales-and-marketing training, and health-and-safety training. Training is particularly critical in high-reliability organizations, which rely on high safety standards in order to prevent catastrophic damage to employees, equipment, or the environment (e.g. nuclear power plants, operating rooms).
Training has been used in organizations for the past several decades. Although training and development requires investments of many types, there are cited benefits to integrating training and development into organizations:
- Increased productivity and job performance 
- Skills development 
- Team development 
- Decreasing safety-related accidents 
However, if the training and development is not strategic and pointed at specific goals, it can lead to more harm than good. Needs assessments, especially when the training is being conducted on a large-scale, are frequently conducted in order to gauge what needs to be trained, how it should be trained, and how extensively. Needs assessments in the training and development context often reveal employee and management-specific skills to develop (e.g. for new employees), organizational-wide problems to address (e.g. performance issues), adaptations needed to suit changing environments (e.g. new technology), or employee development needs (e.g. career planning). The degree of effectiveness of training and development programs can be predicted by the needs assessment and how closely the needs were met, the execution of the training (i.e. how effective the trainer was), and trainee characteristics (e.g. motivation, cognitive abilities). Effectiveness of training is typically done on an individual or team-level, with few studies investigating the impacts on organizations.
The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) cites training and development specialists as having a bright outlook, meaning that the occupation will grow rapidly or have several job openings in the next few years. Related professions include training and development managers, (chief) learning officers, industrial-organizational psychologists, and organization development consultants. Training and development specialists are equipped with the tools to conduct needs analyses, build training programs to suit the needs of the organization by using a variety of training techniques, create training materials, and execute and guide training programs.
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