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1 The traditional training-based approach

The traditional way of thinking about learning and development in organisations is by considering training needs in terms of the gap between the organisation’s current capabilities and the desired capabilities for the organisation to develop. Arguably, the most basic of all toolkits for human resource development (HRD) professionals is a step-by-step approach that starts with the training need analysis, or TNA (sometimes called a training needs assessment), followed by the training design and delivery and ending in training evaluation. This process is illustrated in Figure 1.

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Figure 1: A traditional training approach

For decades now, HRD theory has emphasised the value of this sort of systematic approach to training, which seeks to put human development activities into similar sorts of methodological frameworks as those used for business planning or IT systems design. Successful provision of training and development thereby sits alongside other key functions in business planning, and stakeholders are encouraged to focus on the following key issues:

  • the importance of articulating the desired outcomes from the training – that is, how will you know that the training has been a success?
  • the need for congruence between individual and organisational goals
  • the importance of practical issues of scheduling and costing time for participants and facilitators
  • the need for stakeholder engagement, sponsorship and support for the training programme and their understanding of the impact it will have on the organisation, both short- and longer-term.

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