Staff Training Programmmes

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Optimising Staff Training Programmes through Different Learning Methodologies


The training of employees in both its “context” (for demonstration through computing technology) and “design” (for demonstration through instructional design) types has enhanced the variety of training programmes as well as procedures accessible to organisations. Much importance has enclosed the use of methods for example expanse discovering and computer-based training methods. This study directed to discover the mind-set of managers to these “modern” advances and other more “training” methods.


Recent years have seen the range of training methods available to practitioners greatly enhanced through developments in the fields of instructional design and in computing and communications technologies. Many organisations have turned to “modern” methods of delivery which do not rely on conventional face-to-face contact between trainer and trainee. In distance learning, for example, “the learner is: not continuously and immediately supervised by a trainer or a tutor; does benefit from the services of a training/tutorial organisation; utilises [training] materials in a variety of formats” (Stewart and Winter, 1995, p. 202). Computer-based methods allow flexibility of delivery allied to a responsiveness to individual needs (Marchington and Wilkinson, 1996) which opens the way for the development of “intelligent” tutoring systems. However, many of the available modern training methods have been subjected to comparatively little empirical or critical scrutiny. Furthermore, an increasingly important issue in the HRD debate is the relevance of particular training approaches to small and medium sized enterprises. Much of the espoused HRD orthodoxy (which it is argued now includes innovations such as technology-based training and distance learning) has evolved from a large firm perspective of training and development and has its policy roots in the interventions of government through the industrial training boards, Manpower Services Commission (MSC) and Training Agency. Until comparatively recently (with the advent of the Training and Enterprise Councils) such bodies did not perceive the support of small firm training as part of their main role. One challenge for such institutions is reconciling modern methods with the disparate needs of organisations.


Stewart and Winter (1995, pp. 203-4) chart the rise of distance learning from correspondence courses in the early years of this century, through the establishment of the Open University in the 1960s to the adoption of distance learning techniques by industry in the 1980s. They cite three reasons for this growth:

1. (1) concerns about making training more responsive to the needs of business in order to “improve national economic performance”;

2. (2) active promotion by government;

3. (3) developments in information technology.

The changes, especially in data transmission technologies (for example, integrated systems digital network, ISDN) have allowed companies in Europe and the USA to “revise their traditional employee training approaches [and concentrate] on distance learning which allows employees to [learn] tasks through instruction transmitted by computers and other communication systems” (Leonard, 1996, p. 40). The United States Distance Learning Association's definition of distance learning reflects the increasing importance of data transmission technology which may supplant the use of print based packages: “the delivery of education or training through electronically mediated instruction ...
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