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Learning Systems. Dr. Steve Training & Development INP6325. Learning Organizations. Importance of learning to success of organizations Kapp (1999): the only sustainable advantage an organization will have in the future is its ability to learn faster than its competitors

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Learning Systems

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Learning Systems

Dr. Steve

Training & Development


Learning Organizations

Importance of learning to success of organizations

  • Kapp (1999): the only sustainable advantage an organization will have in the future is its ability to learn faster than its competitors

  • Rousseau (1997): To survive and thrive firms will need to learn at an increasingly rapid rate

Learning Environment Survey (Tannenbaum, 1997)

Is your organization a learning organization?

  • My organization typically:

    • Provides people with opportunities to learn new things

    • Assigns people to positions to stretch them

    • Tolerates mistakes when someone is first learning a new task or skill

    • Views new problems and work challenges as opportunities to develop people’s skills

    • Monitors to see that people continue to develop and learn throughout their career

    • Expects everyone, not just mgt, to solve problems and offer solutions

    • Provides paid release time for employee development purposes

    • Rewards employees for using what they have learned in training on their job

Learning Environment Survey (Tannenbaum, 1997)

What is the organizational climate conducive for training

  • In my organization:

    • Supervisors and co-workers help reschedule work so that employees can attend training

    • Supervisors provide constructive feedback when someone tries something new on the job

    • Supervisors offer people opportunities to use new skills they learned in training

    • Training is considered an important part of career development

    • The successful people go to training

    • It is acceptable to question others about why things are done a certain way

Learning Organizations

  • Models for becoming a learning organization

    • Building internal capability

      • Training the trainer

      • Pay for knowledge work system

    • Focus on total quality

      • Providing a vision

      • Decentralized decision making

      • Continuous improvement

    • Corporate universities

      • Train employees consistent with organizational values

      • Train technical and interpersonal skills

Corporate Universities

  • Corporate Universities – promote continuous learning in an organization by:

    • Building competency-based training curriculum

    • Providing employees with shared vision and values of company

    • Extending training to customers and suppliers

    • Serving as a learning laboratory for experimenting with new approaches

  • McDonald’s Hamburger University

  • Oak Brook, Illinois

  • Founded in 1961

  • Avg class of 200

  • 65,000 mgrs graduated

  • 30 professors

Training and Societal Concerns

How training impacts societal problems

  • Increase readiness of individuals entering workforce

    • Ex: training at-risk youth, literacy programs, WAGES

  • Enhance fair employment practices once individuals enter the workforce

    • Ex: training to comply with ADA, provide minority opportunities for advancement

  • Retrain individuals to maintain current employment or prepare them for other jobs

    • Ex: re-train displace factory workers, train computer skills

Workforce Readiness

  • Problem

    • 27 million functionally illiterate Americans

    • 21% of adult population has only rudimentary reading/writing skills

    • Disproportionately large number of minorities are illiterate

    • H.S. dropouts 28% unemployment rate, diploma still not enough

  • Training solutions

    • Programs aimed at developing not only technical job-specific skills, but also basic work skills (e.g., interpersonal skills, reliability, punctuality)

    • Ex: Worker Training and Assistance Program (WTAP):

      • Orientation

      • Workplace skills

      • Transition skills

      • Managerial skills

School-to-Work Transition

Secretary’s (of Labor) Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) identified 5 sets of competencies necessary to keep and hold a job

  • Resources: Identifies, organizes, plans, and allocates resources

  • Interpersonal: Works with others

  • Information: Acquires and uses information

  • Systems: Understands complex interrelationships

  • Technology: Works with a variety of technologies

Training and Equal Opportunity

Relevant Laws

  • Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII – It is illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national original.

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 – It is illegal to discriminate in employment against a qualified individual with a disability. Those with a disability must be provided a reasonable accommodation.

  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) – Protects workers age 40 and over from discrimination in employment.

Training and Equal Opportunity

  • Equal Opportunity Legal Issues for Training

    • Training as a job prerequisite

    • Training performance as criterion for another job

    • Receipt of training as basis for advancement or raise

Training and Equal Opportunity

  • Glass ceiling – invisible barrier preventing women and minorities from ascending to top managerial positions

    • Training must be equally available to women and minorities so that they may succeed and advance

Training and Equal Opportunity

  • Disabled Workers – disabled workers must receive reasonable accommodations, which may include additional training

    • may need to provide training to those who work with the disabled

Training and Equal Opportunity

  • Retraining Older Workers – Older workers may become unemployed due obsolescence of job skills or layoffs.

    • May need additional training to compete with younger individuals who received recently updated training

    • Orgs may provide outplacement services including training, counseling, and other services to aid job search.

Other Societal Issues and Training


  • How will training be used to fight terrorism?

    • Different type of military training

    • Training civilians how to recognize warning signs

    • Training for airline industry (e.g., baggage inspectors to be more vigilant, flight attendants in self-defense)

    • Training cultural diversity and tolerance to prevent backlash of bigotry, harassment, and discrimination

    • Training medical health specialists to identify symptoms related to chemical/biological attacks

    • Emergency crowd egress training

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