Human Resource Development, Coursework Example

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Coursework

Why is needs assessment information critical to the development and delivery of an effective HRD program?

Needs assessment information is critical to the development and delivery of an effective HRD program because needs assessment tells organizations its HRD needs and rank those HRD needs in terms of strategic importance to the organizations goals. In other words, needs assessment is a way of finding out where the organization stands in terms of its HR and where it should be in order to be able to achieve its organizational objectives. A detailed needs assessment reveals different pieces of important information such as discrepancies between employees’ actual skills and desirable skills required for effective job performance, skills needed by employees in order to remain competitive in the near future, and the conditions under which the HRD activity will occur. Thus, once HRD managers know exactly what HRD programs need to achieve, they can design better HRD programs in order to overcome any shortage in employees’ skills. Because needs assessment will tell organizations exactly what the program should try to achieve, the HRD program will not contain elements that are unnecessary and will just waste organizations’ resources in terms of time and costs. HRD programs In addition, needs assessment will help organizations be better prepared for the future because they will force HRD managers to think forward and plan accordingly.

What is your response to “The attack on ISD” (presented in the boxed insert)?  If you were an HRD professional seeking to conduct a needs assessment, how would you respond to each of these issues?

The attack on ISD has its justifications but the critics often confuse the ISD system itself with the less efficient practices adopted by HRD managers. A better criticism should be channeled towards the HRD managers who fail to understand the real purpose behind ISD. ISD is concerned more with determining the difference between employees’ existing skills and desirable level of skills. The ISD framework was developed to make it easy for HRD managers to follow the principles of ISD but it can be modified in order to make it more efficient. The critics claim that needs assessment takes too long due to bureaucratic system. A simple solution is for the management to get rid of the bureaucratic system and make the organization leaner so that needs assessment can be done in short time durations. The critics also argue that ISD focuses on the process. HRD managers who are smart will realize that certain processes are not necessary which will help them save time. ISD models lists processes that are commonly used. But HRD managers are not obliged to follow all processes. If some HRD managers are following all processes even when they are unnecessary or not feasible due to lack of time, the blame lies with ineffective managers and not the ISD system. The third criticism is that ISD model teaches homogeneous skills. ISD model is supposed to identify skills that the employees lack and teach them those skills. In addition, teaching homogeneous skills doesn’t mean that the employees are not allowed to think creatively where the job demands it. But there are always some homogenous skills that employees needin order to fulfill their certain job responsibilities.

What are the three essential features of an effective HRD or training program objective?  Why is each one so important?  Discuss training or classroom experiences that you have had where objectives either did or did not follow the recommendations made by Robert Mager and others.

The three essential features of an effective HRD or training program objective are performance, conditions, and criteria. Performance means that the participant is able to perform up to a certain standard as targeted by the training program. It is important because it is a useful way of measuring the success of the training program. If the participants are able to achieve the desired level of performance then the HRD or training program has fulfilled one of its goals. Conditions mean that the participants will be able to perform under the certain given conditions. Conditions are important because they set the rules under which the participant are expected to perform to a required level. Criteria means setting the performance target that the participants are to achieve in order to be considered competent. Criteria is important because it establishes the minimum possible acceptable performance targets expected from the participants of the HRD or training program. If a participant or participants fail to meet a certain criteria, it means that they are not yet ready to perform the job to a level of performance required by the organization.

I remember taking a seminar about building teamwork skills in high school. The organizers stated that the participants will have improved their teamwork skills at the end of the three day seminar. But they didn’t state how they will measure whether the participants have truly improved their teamwork skills nor did they mention any performance criteria that the participants could target to determine their own understanding of the lectures.

What are the advantages of designing an HRD program in-house versus purchasing programs from vendors?

The advantages of designing an HRD program in-house versus purchasing programs from vendors are that an in-house HRD programs are better designed because they take into account the unique circumstances of the organization. In addition, an organization understands better what its HRD needs are than an outside vendors. Outside vendors design an HRD programs with needs in mind that are common to most organizations thus, the vendors HRD programs do not have the customization element that an in-house HRD program may have. In addition, an organization will definitely have a better understanding of HRD program that it has designed itself versus a vendor HRD program that may require time to be understood and implemented.

Another advantage of an in-house HRD program is that it will focus on only those skills that the employees need as opposed to vendors programs who may try to cover everything in order to be on the safe side. The vendors training program may also be more expensive because in-house HRD programs will be designed by managers already in employment but vendors may charge more depending upon the reputation of the training giver. In addition, vendors may provide support to participants for only a limited time as opposed to in-house HRD managers who could be approached anytime.

What experiences have you had with online learning or training programs?  How about with technology- enhanced learning, e.g., where a traditional classroom also makes use of online discussions or other web- based applications?  In your view, how can technology best be used to provide effective learning and training opportunities?

The online learning or training programs are convenient because they can be accessed from anywhere but they do not have the same interactive element that in-class training programs have. Technology enhanced learning is a step in the right direction because technology has become a big part of our daily lives and thus, people today are more comfortable with technology use than they used to be. Technology enhances learning in some instances because it makes learning more fun by adding interactive tools that are more informative than simple charts and graphs. But like other training tools, the trainers should attempt to learn about the learning styles of the participants as well as the technology tools they are comfortable with. In addition, the trainers should also determine the technology proficiency of the participants. Just as the most effective training programs take into account the training needs of the participants when designing lessons, effective HRD managers or trainers should also try to find out which technology tools will help the participants maximize their learning in the training program. Technology is also beneficial because it saves time. There is no need to take notes because the notes can be posted on online boards and thus, the participants can focus only onlistening to the lectures as well as asking questions. The technology should also be encouraged because it allows trainers to cover more during a given period of time. In addition, technology also makes learning more flexible since the lectures can be videotaped and accessed by those who may have missed the class sessions.

Rewrite program objectives statement.

Performance: All the employees will be required to read the company’s handbook and be expected to sit for a test at the end of the training.

Conditions: All the employees will not only read the handbook but also go through lectures that will cover all the aspects of the company’s culture including policies on harassment, ethnic and gender diversity, and equal access to individual counseling and promotion opportunities.

Criteria: All the employees will be expected to score at least 90 percent on the written test in order to be considered a training success. Failure to do so will result in re-attendance of the lectures as well as retaking of the written test.

The training program objective statement:

All the employees will read the employee handbook and go through the training program in order to learn about the company’s culture including policies on harassment, ethnic and gender diversity, and equal access to individual counseling and promotion opportunities. The successful graduates of the training program will have scored at least 90 percent on the written test.

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