Recommendations from Ten Years of Research on Training

Topic: Training
Publication: Annual Review of Psychology (JAN 2009)
Article: Benefits of training and development for individuals and teams, organizations and society.
Authors: H. Aquinas, K. Kraiger
Reviewed by: Benjamin Granger

In a recent article published in the Annual Review of Psychology, Aguinis and Kraiger (2009) present a review of research on training and development published from the year 2000 to the present.

In the first section, Aguinis and Kraiger discuss the overall impact of training and development. Very briefly, there is clear evidence that employees who engage in training programs outperform those who do not, training is effective for promoting team performance, and training and development can have beneficial effects on organizational performance as well as society as a whole.

In the second section, Aguinis and Kraiger present several research-based recommendations for how organizations can capitalize on training initiatives. They include:

1.    Pre-training Interventions –  Conduct a needs assessment, reduce employees’ anxiety before training, explain the value of training before hand (justify training), and find out if trainees are motivated to participate in training.

2.    Training Design and Delivery Media – Encourage trainees to make errors during training (Error Management Training – EMT). EMT can pay off by helping trainees gain greater mastery of material. Provide trainees with guidance over the learning options they control, since many trainees fail to effectively utilize them (e.g. control over pacing, sequence, time, etc.).

3. Stakeholder Driven Evaluation of Training – Time should be taken to consult with stakeholders prior to training in order to create meaningful evaluation criteria. Mindlessly measuring outcomes will have little benefit to the organization (and believe it or not, this is very common!).

In conclusion, organizations that utilize these research-based recommendations and invest in employee training and development, can gain a unique competitive advantage.

Aguinis, H. & Kraiger, K. (2009). Benefits of training and development for individuals and 
teams, organizations and society. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 451-474.