Leaders Can Use These Nine Skills to Become Better Problem-Solvers

Leaders can be thought of as teachers, politicians, warriors, or problem solvers. When we think of leaders as problem solvers, this opens the possibility of honing their problem-solving skills through training. But how can we train leaders to solve problems? Specifically, it is something called “case-based knowledge” that allows leaders to solve complex issues. Case-based knowledge refers to the context of the problem and any previous experience with similar issues, like a mental library of information tailored toward a specific problem.


How to Get the Most out of Leadership Training

There are quite a few skeptics within the HR community who view Learning & Development programs or leadership training as costly and non-essential business expenditures, especially when budgets are tight. In truth, it can be hard to change go-to reactions or ingrained communication styles during a three hour seminar, or even a week-long retreat. Long-term and sustained learning and behavior change takes time and practice, and can be hard to quantify and tie back to business unit performance. However, a new article in Harvard Business Review (Beer, Finnstrom, & Schrader, 2016) makes the case that leadership training can provide a strategic competitive advantage when it is carried out in the right context, and with the right infrastructure in place. […]

Diversity Training

Diversity Training: Are All Methods Equal?

Diversity training has an important purpose. As the workplace becomes increasingly diverse, employees are expected to frequently interact with coworkers, customers, and supervisors who are different from them. The nature of the workforce itself is continually changing, characterized by a higher percentage of female employees, racial or ethnic minority employees, and older employees. As a result, human resource managers have prioritized diversity training programs as a way to respond and adapt to the shifting workforce.



Workforce Diversity: Does Diversity Training Improve Creativity?

Workforce diversity has become a major organizational issue for most companies in the 21st century, and with good reason; we’ve come a long way from the mono-cultural workplaces that dominated the business world just a few short decades ago. Organizations of all sizes tell us in corporate press releases and social media posts that, within their company, “Diversity drives innovation and creativity!” However, research tells us that’s not necessarily a given.



Emotional Intelligence Leads to Good Moods and Creativity in the Workplace

Emotional intelligence is good for influencing many workplace outcomes, but can it really lead to creativity in the workplace? Some past researchers believed that the two had nothing to do with each other. They said that emotional intelligence was about figuring out the single best way to handle an emotional situation and creativity was about brainstorming many different ways of doing things. These almost sound like opposite strategies. But new research (Parke, Seo, Sherf, 2015) has found that skills and strategies associated with emotional intelligence can ultimately lead to more creativity in the workplace.


Cognitive Abilities

Specific Cognitive Abilities Can Benefit Selection Programs

Organizations oftentimes use specific cognitive abilities to help select people for jobs. Selection itself is important because organizations can sometimes waste millions of dollars in training people who don’t have the right aptitude, aren’t motivated, or who don’t fit minimum requirements for the job. When an organization selects employees, it often uses an assessment process to try and find the “right people.” This assessment often involves tests of general cognitive ability, which is basically what we’d consider overall intelligence. What if organizations could fine tune these processes so that they were more successful in identifying those who may succeed in a training context or in a job? Recent research findings offer a possible way to do this.


Reducing Stereotyping

Reducing Stereotyping: What You’re Doing May Not be Working

Stereotypes are quite common, but they are not always bad. Sometimes, we can stereotype someone in a positive way, and sometimes stereotypes are helpful because they reduce the amount of critical thinking a person has to do. The danger is when stereotypes are inaccurate or negative. This can lead to discriminatory behavior in the workplace. Organizations spend large sums of money every year on reducing stereotyping with training that aims to raise awareness and minimize their negative effects. A recent study by Duguid and Thomas-Hunt (2014) investigated whether creating greater awareness of stereotyping and encouraging resistance to them was the best way of curbing their harmful effects.


Organizational Socialization Tactics to Help Newcomers Adjust

Using Organizational Socialization Tactics to Help Newcomers Adjust

The process of socialization within organizations is designed to quickly help newcomers orient and familiarize themselves with company procedures. If you have ever been on the receiving end of an effective initiation program, then you know how helpful it can be in helping with early adjustment. The science shows that effective early socialization can affect long term organizational outcomes. Recent research investigated how organizations can use certain organizational socialization tactics to positively influence such outcomes.


How Organizations Can Fast-Track Transitioning Leaders

New job roles can be a daunting prospect for anyone. There are contrasts with old responsibilities, new expectations, and all sorts of surprises that pop up along the way. Adjusting quickly to the demands of a new position is important for productivity. But how can organizations fast-track transitioning leaders to help them gain the knowledge and skills they need?


Be in Charge of Your Workplace Well-being

As working professionals, the better part of our days are spent at the office. Naturally then, workplace well-being plays an important role in the overall well-being of a working professional. So what does workplace well-being really mean, and what are the factors that influence it?


The Downside to Monitoring Web-based Trainings

There is a real, measurable downside to monitoring web-based trainings. E-learners who are having their performance monitored become goal oriented in a way that affects their level of apprehension. That apprehension, in turn, affects their ability to acquire new skills, according to a study by Watson, Thompson, Rudolph, Whelan, Behrend, and Gissel.


Practice makes perfect: The harder you practice, the better you play

Let’s imagine that you are learning a new skill, and in honor of the end of summer, let’s say that skill is sunbathing. Assuming that you want to be an expert sunbather, your path to greatness will depend on the type of practice that you do. If you spend 15 minutes by the pool with heavy cloud coverage, your practice intensity would not be as high as someone baking for six hours under direct sunlight during a day that is nearly 100 degrees. Which person, the former or the latter, will be Mr. or Mrs. Hawaiian Tropic? If you said the latter, as in the person who puts in six hours of intense and difficult practice, then you’d be correct. This observation – that the intensity and difficulty of practice relate to performance – was empirically supported by a study by researchers from the University of Oklahoma, though their subjects were learning how to play a video game instead of sunbathing.


Middle Skills Gap: Why are employers struggling to fill certain positions?

While Americans are searching high and low for work, knocking on every recruiter’s door, struggling to land a job, there are open positions right under their noses for which employers just can’t find enough qualified candidates. In fact, shortages of qualified applicants for “middle skills jobs” (jobs that require postsecondary technical training and education) are a growing problem the nation. Some companies have even resorted to contracting their work abroad – a solution with many logistical downsides.


When Customers Attack: Verbal Aggression and Employee Performance (IO Psychology)

Topic: Job Performance, Training, Conflict
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (SEPT 2012)
Article: When Customers Exhibit Verbal Aggression, Employees Pay Cognitive Costs
Authors: A. Rafaeli, A. Erez, S. Ravid, R. Derfler-Rozin, D.E. Treister, R. Scheyer
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

What happens when customers get angry? For starters, they may yell, scream, pound their fists, emit a plume of smoke from their ears, and occasionally rip off their t-shirts like Hulk Hogan. But then what happens to the employees? Research by Rafaeli, et al. (2012) examines the negative effect this kind of behavior has on the people working behind the counter.


Are Five Choices Better Than Three? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Selection
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment
Article: The three option format for knowledge and ability multiple-choice tests: A case
for why it should be more commonly used in personnel testing
Authors: Edwards, B. D. Arthur, W. Jr., and Bruce, L. L.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

When it comes to deciding how many response options should be given on a multiple choice test, many might argue that three versus four or five options is splitting hairs. But, Edwards, Arthur, and Bruce would argue this issue is a perfect example of the gap between science and practice in I-O psychology.


Tips for Getting Tips (IO Psychology)

Topic: Job Performance, Personality, Training
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (NOV 2011)
Article: Want a Tip? Service Performance as a Function of Emotion Regulation
and Extraversion
Authors: N. Chi, A.A. Grandey, J.A. Diamond, K.R. Krimmel
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Your restaurant server is quite the professional!  He manages a genuine, warm smile despite his impending apartment eviction, recurring car-transmission problems, and the fact that his favorite football team just lost in the playoffs.  But to pull that off, your server had to perform something called emotional labor, a crucial topic of interest to IO Psychologists.  New research by Chi, Grandey, Diamond, and Krimmel (2011) has found that certain emotional labor strategies are more useful than others, and that sometimes it depends on the type of person using these strategies.


The effectiveness of computer-based simulation games (IO Psychology)

Topic: Training
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SUMMER 2011)
Article: A meta-analytic examination of the instructional effectiveness of computer-based simulation games
Author: Sitzmann, T.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

Computer-based simulation games are increasingly being used in training, but how does their effectiveness compare to that of traditional training methods? And what are the most important features of simulation games? Sitzmann (2011) sought to answer these questions in her recent meta-analysis.


Increasing Training Transfer (I/O Psychology)

Topic: Training, Learning, Motivation
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology EC 2011)
Article: Influencing learning states to enhance trainee motivation and improve training transfer
Authors: Weissbein, D. A., Huang, J. L., Ford, J. K., & Schmidt, A. M.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

How many times have you heard about or participated in a training program but the information or skills learned didn’t get retained or used after the training ended? This transfer of training problem is common and frustrating to those who develop or pay for training programs.

In this paper, Weissbein, Huang, Ford, and Schmidt (2011) conducted a study in which they gave undergraduates a pretraining intervention before the participants received interpersonal negotiation training.


Career success? The differences are Black and White

Topic: Diversity
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior (online pre-publication)
Article: Evaluating career success of African American males: It’s what you know and who you are that matters.
Authors: Johnson, C. D. & Eby, L. T.
Reviewed by: Larry Martinez

Little research has specifically examined what makes African American males successful.  This research has been done with respect to Caucasian workers, but are the things that are related to success for Caucasians also related to success for African Americans?  Are there other things that might be related to success for African Americans in particular that has not been examined with respect to Caucasians?  These questions formed the basis of research by Johnson and Eby (in press).


Learning to learn: aim high and believe in yourself!

Topic: Training, Goals, Learning
Publication: Psychological Bulletin (MAR 2011)
Article: A meta-analysis of self-regulated learning in work-related training and educational attainment: What we know and where we need to go
Authors: T. Sitzmann, K. Ely
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

When people self-regulate, they monitor their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in order to obtain some sort of goal. Self-regulated learning refers to when people attempt to monitor and control their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in order to attain a learning or achievement outcome. The authors of this article reviewed numerous theories of self-regulated learning and conducted a meta-analysis to better understand the extent to which self-regulated learning processes affect learning.


Poker Face in Workplace: The Good, The Bad, and The…

Topic: Job Performance, Training
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAR 2011)
Article: Service Without a Smile: Comparing the Consequences of Neutral and Positive Display Rules
Authors: J.P. Trougakos, C.L. Jackson, D.J. Beal
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Sometimes jobs require employees to convey specific emotions.  For example, a funeral director needs to appear somber, a police officer must appear neutral, and a restaurant server needs to look cheerful.  The guidelines that determine which facial expressions an employee needs to maintain are called display rules. In order to maintain a specific demeanor on a continual basis, employees must engage in emotional labor, unless you are a clown and you have a smile painted on your face.


The Waning Voices of Senior Employees: Does Tenure Reduce Impact Levels?

Topic: Potential, Staffing, Training, Turnover
Publication: Human Resource Management (JAN 2011)
Article: Does voice go flat? How tenure diminishes the impact of voice
Authors: D. Avery, P. McKay, D. Wilson, S. Volpone, and E. Killham
Reviewed By: Allison B. Siminovsky

In this line of research, voice refers to the ability to provide suggestions to the organization and feel that one’s input has some sort of effect.  When little control is perceived, the employee will work hard to gain control and the use of voice is one possible means of achieving this goal.  However, if an employee has been around for many years and feels his sense of control is compromised, to what extent does he continue to use his voice to impact the organization?


Coaching: An Essential Element of Managing Your Employees

Executive coaching has been the subject of much academic research. Employee coaching is distinctly different, as defined and measured by Gregory and Levy. These researchers argue that employee coaching is the coaching of subordinates by their supervisors. You may ask, “Isn’t that just synonymous with managing employees?” No! Coaching is only part of the managing that superiors do. And how well it is done can make all the difference in managing effectively.


Who Reports Transferring Skills that Weren’t Trained?

Topic: Training
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (DEC 2010)
Article: Transferring more than learned in training: Employees’ and managers’ (over)generalization of skills
Authors: D.S. Chiaburu, K.B. Sawyer and C.N. Thoroughgood
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Given the extensive costs associated with training a workforce, assessing the “bang-for-your-buck” is a vital step in the overall training process.  Specifically, it is (as many would argue) essential to evaluate the effectiveness of organizational training courses with measures of learning and transfer. 


How Might Trainers Be Contributing to the Transfer Problem?

Topic: Training
Publication: Human Resource Management (JUL/AUG 2010)
Article: A missing link in the transfer problem? Examining how trainers learn about training transfer
Authors: H.M. Hutchins, L.A. Burke, and A.M. Berthelsen
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

There are many reasons why employees often don’t transfer their training to the job.  At a high level, these reasons can include personal attributes of learners, characteristics of the work environment, and the level of supervisory support.  Hutchins et al. note, however, that trainers themselves play an important role in determining if employees transfer what they learn on the job. 

These authors speculate that the ways trainers learn about transfer may be a possible contributor to the transfer problem. 


Error Management Training: What’s Age Got to Do with It?

Topic: Training
Publication: Personnel Psychology (AUTUMN 2010)
Article: The effectiveness of error management training with working-aged adults
Authors: M. Carter and M.E. Beier
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Two recent trends that have important implications for training and workforce development include: (1) the aging workforce and (2) the increase in learner-led, online training.  One intervention that has shown great potential is Error Management Training (EMT).  EMT is a fairly simple intervention that allows trainees to explore the learning environment and frames errors/mistakes as “good for learning” (during training at least).  In other words, in EMT, errors are not considered things that should be avoided, but rather opportunities to learn. 


Learner Control in E-Learning: To Each, His Own

Topic: Training
Publication: International Journal of Training and Development
Article: The perplexing role of learner control in e-learning: Will learning and transfer benefit or suffer?
Authors: B. P. Granger & E. L. Levine
Publication: International Journal of Training and Development
Reviewed By: Katie Bachman

Score one for the home team! Our very own Ben Granger published an article in the latest issue of the International Journal of Training and Development. Heavy on the theoretical ponderings and empirical research, the article details the pros and cons of giving users control of their training experience in e-learning environments. And honey, he’s got the references to back up his work—90 citations in a little over 15 single-column pages of text!

Learner control refers to a trainee’s ability to manipulate the pace, order, content, and help offered during a training experience. E-learning and learner control are somewhat intertwined because the most lauded aspects of e-learning (e.g., time flexibility, adaptability to individuals, etc.) are often only possible when trainees have control over their own learning. The article details the positive and negative aspects of learner control on the amount of information learned, the satisfaction individuals have with their training experience, transfer of training, and participation in training, just to name a few.


Giving Learners Control over Control

Topic: Training
Publication: International Journal of Training and Development
Article: Trainee reactions to learner control: An important link in the e-learning equation
Authors: S.L. Fisher, M.E. Wasserman, and K.A. Orvis
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger


One of the most unique characteristics of e-learning is that it typically places trainees in the driver’s seat of their own learning by giving them control over important aspects of the training environment (e.g., the pace at which they progress, sequence of course materials).This key characteristic is known as learner control and there is a rich research literature comparing training programs that offer high degrees of learner control with training programs that offer less or no learner control (e.g., instructor-led classroom courses). To date, there is no definitive answer to the question of which approach is best (high learner control v. low learner control).

What is clear, however, is that some trainees benefit from high degrees of control in e-learning and some do not.


Another Shot at the Transfer Problem

Topic: Training
Publication: Journal of Management (JUL 2010)
Article: Transfer of training: A meta-analytic review
Authors: B.D. Blume, J.K. Ford, T.T. Baldwin, and J.L. Huang
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Organizations spend massive amounts of money on employee training and development every year with the expectation that what is learned in training will be transferred to and used on the job.  But there’s a problem: it has been well established that employees often do NOT transfer what they learn to the job.  In the continuing pursuit of solutions to this “transfer problem”, Blume et al. present a meta-analysis that explored predictors of transfer of training.


Want more Bang For Your Training Buck? Then make sure your employees feel supported.

Topic: Training

Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment  (JUN 2010)

Article: Social support in the workplace and training transfer: a longitudinal analysis

Authors: D.S. Chiaburu, K. Van Dam, & H.M. Hutchins

Reviewed By: Jared Ferrell

With the extreme amount of money spent on training each
year, researchers are constantly working to understand how to increase the
transfer of the knowledge and skills learned during training back to the
job.  The authors here suggest that perceived organizational support (POS) and supervisor support will indirectly affect transfer of training through the effects it has on trainee perceived self efficacy, goal orientation, and motivation to transfer. 


Using Simulations to Study, Assess, and Grow Managers

Topic: Assessment, Training
Publication: American Psychologist
Article: Developing Managerial Talent
Through Simulation
Authors: G. C. Thornton, J. N. Cleveland
Reviewed By: Rachel Marsh

Simulations are replications of essential parts of a job and have been utilized by organizations for over 55 years. They are used to study, assess and develop talent, especially managerial talent, and offer more information about assessees than questionnaires. Job simulations can range from being low fidelity and very simple (e.g., asking employees what they would do in certain situations, to very high fidelity and quite complicated (e.g., behavioral simulations that include analyzing many different aspects of company information).


Is What We Think We Know, What We Actually Know?

Topic: Assessment, Training

Publication: Academy of Management Learning & Education (JUN 2010)

Article: Self-assessment of knowledge: A cognitive learning or affective measure?

Authors: T. Sitzmann, K.E. Ely, K.G. Brown and K.N. Bauer

Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger


Evaluating the effectiveness of an organizational
training program is a necessary but expensive process.  Oftentimes, the success of a training program is evaluated by how much trainees learn or how much they know after completing the program. The classic post-training test/exam is a great way to do this.  But, because developing and administering well-constructed learning measures can be costly, one option is to simply ask trainees how much they have learned. 
But how “good” are trainees’ self-assessments of their learning/knowledge? That is, how well do self-assessments really measure actual learning/knowledge gain?


Computer-Based Training Games: What You Need to Know!

Topic: Training
SIOP Presentation: A meta-analytic examination of the instructional effectiveness of computer-based simulation games
Presenters: T. Sitzmann
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

In a SIOP session on “designing quality training games,” Traci Sitzmann presented the results of a recent meta-analysis that explored the effectiveness of simulation-based training games.

Today, many organizations use training games (aka “Serious Games”) to enhance the knowledge and skills of their employees.   The common problem, though, is that the use of this technology in practice has outpaced the research on its effectiveness.  So it is still unclear if (and when) training games work.


A New Flavor in Training: Learner Control over Intelligent Agents

Topic: Training
SIOP Presentation: Trainee-trainer similarity in e-learning: Effects with computerized trainers
Presenters: T.S. Behrend and L.F. Thompson
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Despite its disadvantages, e-learning is becoming more and more popular in organizational and educational settings and thus the task is for researchers to explore ways that can help trainees benefit from all of e-learning’s many advantages.

In a paper presented by Behrend and Thompson, one avenue for helping trainees get the most out of e-learning is the use of intelligent agents which act as virtual tutors to trainees (think of the Microsoft paper clip except human!).  When intelligent agents are created to posses human attributes, they are known as animated pedagogical agents (APAs).


Experiential Learning and Leadership Development

Topic: Leadership, Training and Development
Publication: Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice
Article: Recasting Leadership Development
Authors: M. McCall
Selected commentary authors: P. R. Yost & M. M. Plunkett; , B. E. Baran & M. Adelman; D. Day; D. S. DeRue & S. Ashford
Reviewed By: Samantha Paustian-Underdahl

Despite a large body of research and knowledge showing that experiential-based development can be implemented effectively and strategically, the HR community has been slow to embrace the idea that on-the-job experience should be the driving force in development. McCall (2010) highlights seven conclusions that have been drawn from research over the past few decades about the role of experience in leadership development:


Better Training Outcomes are just a Few Reminders Away

Topic: Training
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JAN 2010)
Article: Sometimes you need a reminder: The effects of prompting self-regulation on regulatory processes, learning and attrition.
Authors: T. Sitzmann and K. Ely
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Have you ever taken a training course and noticed your mind wandering?  Or have you ever found that the decisions you made during training (“I already know this stuff, I think I’ll skip it”) weren’t exactly the best for facilitating your learning?  Don’t feel bad, you’re not alone.  Many adult trainees are guilty of the same bad habits.

To address these problems, several researchers have begun exploring interventions that are expected to help trainees make better decisions during training, especially when given a great deal of control over their learning (characteristic of e-learning courses).


Exploratory Training For Everyone! Yes, Everyone!

Topic: Training
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology: An International Review (JAN 2010)
Article: Active/Exploratory training promotes transfer even in learners with low motivation and cognitive ability
Authors: N. Keith, T. Richter, and J. Naumann
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Exploratory training refers to an instructional strategy that allows trainees to explore their learning environment. For example, in exploratory training trainees are encouraged to use trial and error (or whatever strategies they prefer) to explore the training material. In other words, trainees are in the driver’s seat!


Guiding Trainees through e-Learning the Quick and Easy Way

Topic: Training
Publication: Personnel Psychology (WINTER 2009)
Article: A multilevel analysis of the effect of prompting self-regulation in technology-delivered instruction
Authors: T. Sitzmann, B.S. Bell, K. Kraiger, and A.M. Kanar
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Let’s start with a sobering reality check: Many trainees are ineffective at managing their time and effort in self-paced e-learning environments. This is problematic because organizations are becoming increasingly reliant on e-learning to deliver training to its workforce. And since e-learning is clearly here to stay, the question is: How can we help trainees manage their learning and benefit from e-learning?


Who Sits Through E-Learning Anyway?

Topic: Training
Publication: Learning and Individual Differences (1st QUARTER 2009)
Article: The influence of goal orientation dimensions on time to train in a self-paced training environment
Authors: K. Ely, T. Sitzmann, and C. Falkiewicz
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

E-learning refers to computer-mediated training that grants trainees a great deal of control over the learning (e.g., time spent, pace, training location). These freedoms come along with many potential possibilities and pitfalls. One major disadvantage of self-paced e-learning is that trainees often stop instruction before mastering the training content.  However, from a financial perspective, decreased training time can save big bucks.

Recently, Ely, Sitzmann and Falkiewicz (2009) predicted that trainee goal orientation (GO) would impact training time as well as knowledge gained from training in a “real world” self-paced e-learning course. Specifically, the course was an occupational training course for electrical technicians.


The Muddy Waters of Measuring Executive Coaching

Given the amount of money organizations invest in executive coaching programs, it would be refreshing if someone could come up with a reliable and fool-proof way to measure their effectiveness.

Organizations are complex entities, so developing a measurement tool like this would be a notable challenge.  Levenson (2009) explored a dozen coach-coachee pairs to contribute to this ongoing conversation and shed some light on this measurement puzzle.  Given the constraints of the study, Levenson cautioned that we should interpret his findings lightly.


Great Expectations: Catalyst for Employee Learning and Development

Topic: Job PerformanceLeadership, Training
Publication: Journal of Management (OCT 2009)
Article: Pygmalion and employee learning: The role of leader behaviors
Authors: X.M. Bezuijen, P.T. van den Berg, K. van Dam, and H. Thierry
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Isn’t it fascinating how our expectations of others so frequently come to fruition?  The finding that supervisors’ expectations of their employees’ capabilities accurately reflect their actual performance is well-established. This phenomenon is called the self-fulfilling prophesy (AKA the Pygmalion effect). But, how and why do supervisors’ expectations of employees’ capabilities reflect their performance? Is it magic? Is it a sixth sense? Is it prescience?


Active learning (Is this your first time, Doctor?)

Topic: Training
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (SEP 2009)
Article: Active learning: When is more better? The case of resident physicians’ medical errors.
Authors: T. Katz-Navon, E. Nevah, and Z. Stern
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Active learning refers to a broad spectrum of training strategies in which individual trainees are encouraged to explore the learning environment, experiment with strategies, ask questions, and make many of the administrative decisions usually made by instructors in passive learning approaches (i.e., traditional classroom instruction). Active learning places trainees in the driver’s seat of their own learning.  Sounds great, right? But what if I told you that active learning strategies usually facilitate trainee errors?


Cha Cha Cha Changes…in Selection and Training

Topic: Performance, Selection, Training
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2009)
Article: Effects of selection and training on unit-level performance over time: A latent growth modeling approach  
Authors: C. H. Van Iddekinge, C. H. Ferris, P. L. Perrewe, A. A. Perryman, F. R. Blass, & T. D. Heetderks
Blogger: Benjamin Granger

Recently, Van Iddekinge and colleagues conducted a study of the organizational impact of employee selection and training practices. They collected data from 861 business units of a large fast food organization in the U.S. Data (including profits) were collected on a monthly basis for a full calendar year.


Do happy trainees = learned trainees?

Topic: Training
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2009)
Article: Power to the people: Using learner control to improve trainee reactions and learning in web-based instructional environments  
Authors: K. A. Orvis, S. L. Fisher, & M. E. Wasserman
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Recently, some have argued trainee satisfaction IS important for predicting actual learning in e-learning contexts. Briefly, e-learning refers to training that  utilizes web-based and computer technology. An important characteristic of e-learning is that it often grants trainees with high levels of learner control. This simply means that in e-learning trainees tend to have lots of control over their own learning (can skip training material, learn at their own pace, etc.).

In order to find out if and how trainee satisfaction leads to actual learning in e-learning contexts, Orvis, Fisher, and Wasserman (2009) conducted an experiment that had 274 college students go through a multimedia leadership skills training course.


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.


Faded Feedback – Just a Fad?

Topic: Feedback, Training
Publication: Human Performance
Article: Faded versus increasing feedback, task variability trajectories, and transfer of training.
Author: J.S. Goodman, R.E. Wood
Featured by: Benjamin Granger

In training situations, immediate, specific, and frequent feedback to the learner is often prescribed  by the experts. However, there is evidence that this “high guidance” feedback may ultimately impair long-term transfer (the ability to transfer knowledge gained in training to the  workplace) and individual performance on the job. One solution that has been presented in the literature to address this issue is known as faded  feedback. Faded feedback involves high-level guidance at first, with a gradual reduction in feedback and guidance as trainees move through the training course.


Want to Maximize Transfer of Training? Get Leaders Involved!

Topic: Leadership, Motivation, Training
Publication: International Journal of Training and Development
Article: Leader influences on training effectiveness: Motivation and outcome expectations processes.
Blogger: Benjamin Granger

Delivering employee training is one of the most frequently utilized and important Human Resource functions. Although this is well-known, organizations often overlook the true goal of training.

So what is the TRUE goal of training? Ultimately, organizations expect (and often assume) that employees who engage in training will transfer the trained skills into the actual workplace. If employees don’t transfer the skills taught in training, then what good was the training?


Keeping the Fires Lit

The nagging question for anyone who has ever led a training session has to be: “Did they get it?”  In the quest to make training more meaningful, researchers in Personnel Psychology evaluated how supplemental training materials given out after the usual training session effected progress.  Managers learning interpersonal skills were put into one of four quasi-experimental groups.  While some received no follow-up to the standard training session, others were given upward feedback (i.e. notes from their subordinates on their progress), a workbook of self-coaching follow-up activities, or both.


How to Make an Active Learning Intervention Effective

Topic: Training
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article:  Active learning: Effects of core training design elements on self-regulatory processes, learning, and adaptability.
Blogger: Benjamin Granger

Current thinking about how employees should be trained has changed dramatically.  Instead of trainees being passive recipients of information, organizations are now employing active learning elements into their training programs. In a recent JAP article, Bell and Kozlowski (2008) took a closer look at how several key design characteristics common to active learning relate to learning and training effectiveness.


Job Satisfaction and Voluntary Turnover

Topic: Turnover
Publication: Academy of Management (2008)
Article: Understanding Voluntary Turnover: Path-Specific Job Satisfaction Effects and the Importance of Unsolicited Job Offers’.
Blogger: LitDigger

Do you buy in to the notion that employee turnover is most affected by job satisfaction and current unemployment rates?  If so, you are in good academic company, but it may be time to find a new group of friends.

An article by Lee, Gerhart, Weller, and Trevor (published by Academy of Management in August 2008) suggests that the traditional models explaining WHY employees leave may be missing important pieces to the puzzle.  Which pieces?   1)  The types of turnover you’re dealing with, and 2) Unsolicited job offers (dun –Dun -DUN!  Look out stealthy employers, we’re on to you.)


What’s All the Training FOR (Frame of Reference)?

Topic: Training
Publication: The Journal of Applied Psychology (2008)
Article: Using frame-of-reference training to understand the implications of rater idiosyncrasy for rating accuracy.
Blogger: Rob Stilson

Frame of Reference (FOR) training is intended to get all raters on the same metric to mitigate idiosyncrasies caused by raters whose ideas about what is important when rating performance differ from the organization’s standards.  Someone is high on idiosyncrasies if his/her dimensions for performance (what they consider important to performance) do not match up with the organization’s standards of performance.  An individual is low on idiosyncrasies if his/her dimensions for performance are similar to the organization’s standards of performance.

The authors of this article wanted to determine how FOR training would affect two types of raters, those who were high on idiosyncrasies and those who were low on idiosyncrasies.