In fact, the quality of employees and the continual improvement of their skills and productivity through training, are now widely recognized as vital factors in ensuring the long-term success and profitability of small businesses.
encyclopedia of terminology for educational communications and technology Manual
If you don't actively stride against the momentum of skills deficiency, you lose ground. If your workers stand still, your firm will lose the competency race. For the most part, the terms "training" and "development" are used together to describe the overall improvement and education of an organization's employees. However, while closely related, there are important differences between the terms that center around the scope of the application.
TRAINING IN SMALL BUSINESSES
In general, training programs have very specific and quantifiable goals, like operating a particular piece of machinery, understanding a specific process, or performing certain procedures with great precision. Developmental programs, on the other hand, concentrate on broader skills that are applicable to a wider variety of situations, such as decision making, leadership skills, and goal setting. Implementation of formal training and development programs offers several potential advantages to small businesses. For example, training helps companies create pools of qualified replacements for employees who may leave or be promoted to positions of greater responsibility.
It also helps ensure that companies will have the human resources needed to support business growth and expansion.
Furthermore, training can enable a small business to make use of advanced technology and to adapt to a rapidly changing competitive environment. Finally, training can improve employees' efficiency and motivation, leading to gains in both productivity and job satisfaction.
According to the U. Small Business Administration SBA , small businesses stand to receive a variety of benefits from effective training and development of employees, including reduced turnover, a decreased need for supervision, increased efficiency, and improved employee morale.
All of these benefits are likely to contribute directly to a small business's fundamental financial health and vitality. Effective training and development begins with the overall strategy and objectives of the small business. The entire training process should be planned in advance with specific company goals in mind.
In developing a training strategy, it may be helpful to assess the company's customers and competitors, strengths and weaknesses, and any relevant industry or societal trends. The next step is to use this information to identify where training is needed by the organization as a whole or by individual employees. It may also be helpful to conduct an internal audit to find general areas that might benefit from training, or to complete a skills inventory to determine the types of skills employees possess and the types they may need in the future.
Each different job within the company should be broken down on a task-by-task basis in order to help determine the content of the training program. The training program should relate not only to the specific needs identified through the company and individual assessments, but also to the overall goals of the company. The objectives of the training should be clearly outlined, specifying what behaviors or skills will be affected and how they relate to the strategic mission of the company. In addition, the objectives should include several intermediate steps or milestones in order to motivate the trainees and allow the company to evaluate their progress.
Since training employees is expensive, a small business needs to give careful consideration to the question of which employees to train. This decision should be based on the ability of the employee to learn the material and the likelihood that they will be motivated by the training experience. If the chosen employees fail to benefit from the training program or leave the company soon after receiving training, the small business has wasted its limited training funds.
The design of training programs is the core activity of the training and development function. In recent years, the development of training programs has evolved into a profession that utilizes systematic models, methods, and processes of instructional systems design ISD. ISD describes the systematic design and development of instructional methods and materials to facilitate the process of training and development and ensure that training programs are necessary, valid, and effective.
The instructional design process includes the collection of data on the tasks or skills to be learned or improved, the analysis of these skills and tasks, the development of methods and materials, delivery of the program, and finally the evaluation of the training's effectiveness. Small businesses tend to use two general types of training methods, on-the-job techniques and off-the-job techniques. On-the-job training describes a variety of methods that are applied while employees are actually performing their jobs. These methods might include orientations, coaching, apprenticeships, internships, job instruction training, and job rotation.
The main advantages of on-the-job techniques is that they are highly practical, and employees do not lose working time while they are learning.
5 Education Technology Terminology Dictionaries/References
Off-the-job training, on the other hand, describes a number of training methods that are delivered to employees outside of the regular work environment, though often during working hours. These techniques might include lectures, conferences, case studies, role playing, simulations, film or television presentations, programmed instruction, or special study. On-the-job training tends to be the responsibility of supervisors, human resources professionals, or more experienced co-workers.
Consequently, it is important for small businesses to educate their seasoned employees in training techniques. In contrast, off-the-job tends to be handled by outside instructors or sources, such as consultants, chambers of commerce, technical and vocational schools, or continuing education programs.
Although outside sources are usually better informed as to effective training techniques than company supervisors, they may have a limited knowledge of the company's products and competitive situation. Another drawback to off-the-job training programs is their cost. These programs can run into the multi thousand dollar per participant level, a cost that may make them prohibitive for many small businesses. Actual administration of the training program involves choosing an appropriate location, providing necessary equipment, and arranging a convenient time.
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Such operational details, while seemingly minor components of an overall training effort, can have a significant effect on the success of a program. In addition, the training program should be evaluated at regular intervals while it is going on. Employees' skills should be compared to the predetermined goals or milestones of the training program, and any necessary adjustments should be made immediately. This ongoing evaluation process will help ensure that the training program successfully meets its expectations.
The 's led to two major still popular designs. Skinners work led to "programmed instruction" focusing on the formulation of behavioral objectives, breaking instructional content into small units and rewarding correct responses early and often. Advocating a mastery approach to learning based on his taxonomy of intellectual behaviors, Bloom endorsed instructional techniques that varied both instruction and time according to learner requirements.
Models based on these designs were usually referred to as computer-based training " CBT , Computer-aided instruction or computer-assisted instruction CAI in the 's through the 's. In a more simplified form they correspond to today's "e-contents" that often form the core of "e-learning" set-ups, sometimes also referred to as web-based training WBT or e-instruction. The course designer divides learning contents into smaller chunks of text augmented with graphics and multimedia presentation.
Frequent Multiple Choice questions with immediate feedback are added for self-assessment and guidance. The 's and 's produced a variety of schools that can be put under the umbrella of the label Computer-based learning CBL. Frequently based on constructivist and cognitivist learning theories, these environments focused on teaching both abstract and domain-specific problem solving.
Preferred technologies were micro-worlds computer environments were learners could explore and build , simulations computer environments where learner can play with parameters of dynamic systems and hypertext. Digitized communication and networking in education started in the mid 80s and became popular by the mid's, in particular through the World-Wide Web WWW , eMail and Forums. There is a difference between two major forms of online learning.
The earlier type, based on either Computer Based Training CBT or Computer-based learning CBL , focused on the interaction between the student and computer drills plus tutorials on one hand or micro-worlds and simulations on the other.
Both can be delivered today over the WWW. Today, the prevailing paradigm in the regular school system is Computer-mediated communication CMC , where the primary form of interaction is between students and instructors, mediated by the computer. In addition, modern ICT provides education with tools for sustaining learning communities and associated knowledge management tasks.
It also provides tools for student and curriculum management. In addition to classroom enhancement, learning technologies also play a major role in full-time distance teaching. Courses addressed to smaller groups frequently use blended or hybrid designs that mix presence courses usually in the beginning and at the end of a module with distance activities and use various pedagogical styles e. The 's emergence of multiple mobile and ubiquitous technologies gave a new impulse to situated learning theories favoring learning-in-context scenarios. Some literature uses the concept of integrated learning to describe blended learning scenarios that integrate both school and authentic e.
Web services, both educational and non-educational gain popularity. The 's include MOOCs , a consolidation of rapid elearning in business, a return of a type of simulations through serious gaming and a technical trend towards delivery with HTML5 as opposed to proprietary solutions. Non-educational on-line applications are main-stream now, e.
In addition, there is a lot of noise about learning analytics and statistical AI to analyze the data. Other topics like PLE or educational badges don't have much success. Simple content delivery and simple student management and assessment tools are still king as demonstrated by the UK-based Association for Learning Technology Annual Surveys.
See also the very complete until the early s History of virtual learning environments on Wikipedia or the more recent the 25 Years of Ed Tech blog posts by Martin Weller. Summary This collection of explanations of terms across the field of educational communications and technology offers scholars and practitioners a comprehensive and coherent overview of the domain.
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