Case Study: Adult Learning

Tell US Your Name and What You Currently Do?

Allan Gardner, MHRM, PHR, HRMP, CAHRI,

HR Expert Trainer, Certification Instructor, Adjunct Professor HR MBA Business Programs for Chifley Business School of Australia and Adjunct MBA Professor of HR business programs.

What Is Your Specialist Skill?

With over 35 years of experience in the Human Resources field, I am a seasoned International Human Resource Professional with a diverse background encompassing the successful management of Human Resource Departments in government, manufacturing, transportation, and service industries.

I hold multiple global HR certifications, as well as a Masters Degree in Human Resource Management.

This wealth of experience affords a unique blend of both academic and practical experience in course training and instruction.

What is The Best Learning and Development Strategy You Have Implemented?

The implementation of basic learning principles and expectations of adult learning which are critical to successful programs.

Additionally, adult learning at the professional level occurs when the presenter is able to integrate a level of academic as well as practical work experience.

This can only occur when the presenter possesses the appropriate credentials to validate both their topical expertise, as well as actual real-world experience from which to define applicable case studies and effective scenarios.

Blended learning techniques are effective development tools I have implemented. Course participants tend to understand course topic concepts when they are presented through a variety of academic principles, actual work examples, and case studies which promote cross-learning by sharing work experiences as part of the training curriculum.

Learning needs to be expanded well beyond memorization by encouraging participants to think, conceptualize and expand on their ideas. True developmental learning should provide fertile ground for creativity, innovation and empowerment.

The strategic goal of implementation was to enable participants to improve their skills, knowledge and abilities, in order to make them more effective not only in today’s job, but also provide them with the necessary functional and visionary skills to meet tomorrow’s needs.

Can You Take Us Step-by-Step Through Why It Was Such A Success?

This was successful because:

Recognition of adult learning needs and effective learning principles significantly increased successful learning and development initiatives. This included the consideration of what adults wanted from their training/development program:

– Concentrate on practical real world issues.

– Provide concepts that are applicable to current jobs and future opportunities.

– Present the training as both learning and problem solving methodologies.

– Promote an environment that encourages debate and the exchange of ideas.

– Maintain a level of respect for all expressed opinions.

– Allow participants to leverage each other as future resources.

– Focus on specific goals and expectations of the program.

How Do You Recommend Our Readers Apply This Strategy Effectively?

I recommend that training and development be viewed through a strategic lens. First of all, identify the need for training and analyze the gaps to be filled.

Understand that training is not the panacea for all organizational ills. Many organizations and managers believe training is the solution to all problems.

Second, establish the objectives of the training and what the deliverables are. Clearly defined goals of the training are critical to establish the specific needs and expected outcomes.

Third, define which training methods will be the most relevant. All training programs must consider the target audience and establish not only the appropriate level of the training, but also what specific training methods will be most effective. This may include classroom training, computer based, web-based, coaching/mentoring, simulator, self-study, etc.

Fourth, once the training program is ready to present, conduct a pilot program prior to rolling out the training initiative to the target audience. Obtain feedback, make adjustments as necessary, and then implement the program.

Fifth, be sure to complete the training process by properly evaluating the effectiveness of the training. All too often, presenters survey the participants and consider this a legitimate evaluation.

Lastly, recognize the distinct differences between training and development and create programs that are aligned with departmental as well as organizational strategic objectives.

Allan Gardner, PHR, HRMP, MHRM has over 35 years of experience in the Human Resources field. Currently, he is an expert Human Resource Trainer throughout the EMEA region and also teaches HR and Strategic Management programs for MBA students at the UAE campuses of Chifley Business School Australia.