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Introduction

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  • 1. Introduction My masters portfolio represents the finale to over one year of training and developmenteducation where my studies began on January 10, 2011 at the North Carolina State University(NCSU) in Raleigh, NC.The portfolio contains my research, coursework, narratives, future plans,resume, and poster presentation in preparation as I begin acareer in Training andDevelopment(T&D).The Master of Education in Training & Development (M.Ed T&D) programas described by North Carolina State University has a focus that is committed to improvinghuman performance in organizations through graduate study and is structured around a core bodyof knowledge in adult education and the principles and theories of human performanceimprovement (HPI). The description alone was intriguing to me due to the fact that I haveworked in human resources as a recruiter for large corporate organizations for over 12 years, andwas ready to take a step out of my comfort zone into a new focus area within human resourcesdevelopment (HRD). The end result would be two-fold as I viewed this as a way to leverage myprofessional knowledge with this specific facet of HRD and it allowed me the opportunity todevelop the workforce that I have attracted to the company by enhancing their skills and abilitiesfor the success of the organization. I acquired a solid foundation in understanding both the theoryand practicality involved in HPI and gained newfound knowledge which provided the confidenceand enhanced skills needed in my current and future profession as an HRD practitioner. Therefore, this introduction is a prelude to the collective portfolio and provides personalinsight from what I learned from the theoretical frameworks established by exemplars withinT&D and the progressions that were made in both my personal and professional skills whilebeing enrolled in the program. The portfolio will examine what I thought were three mainemerging themes found in the program involving Ethics, Performance, and Task Analysis that
  • 2. had an impact on my educational and professional career. Personal narratives are provided in theform of reflections to illustrate my application of what I have gained from various components ofthe courses. These reflections will show my awareness and the enlightenment that I now possessas an HRD professional after going through the program.Inception Prior to engaging in the program, I had no knowledge of critical training related factorssuch as Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Evaluation and how it could yield more effective trainingand return on investment by evaluating various levels of training, did not realize the importanceof using methods such as the ADDIE Model that serves as a roadmap and can guide traininginitiatives from start to finish, nor had any true knowledge of what was required of a T&Dpractitioner; but what I did know was that I would gain an understanding and enhance my skillsin program design and application of learning theory by incorporating principles, research, andpractice found within the curriculum. I have sat in on numerous trainings throughout my careerand always thought; this could be an interesting career field and would only involve a firmunderstanding in one topic area where the professional would simply share the “ins and outs” ofwhat that topic is about. The field of T&D is more rigorous and complex than this and requires afull understanding ofimportant factors such as adult learning theory, needs assessment,developing learning objectives, effective transfer of learning, evaluating what methods have beenthe most effective where training initiatives are implemented, and even intangibles involvingmoral responsibility. Very early in the program I realized that I would acquire a newfoundunderstanding of how the role of a T&D professional is incorporated into an organization andhow I would be able to implement both theory and practice for future application within mostany organization.
  • 3. During Throughoutthe program I realized that the T&D practitioner, whether a trainer orinstructional designer, the roles hold more weight than simply being a subject matter expert(SME) and should not only be viewed as a strategic partner but be considered as pivotal factorsinvolved in the strategic decisions made by senior management. The different facets of a T&Dprofessional’s role involves increasing the organization’s bottom line, enhancing individuals’lives both professional and private, all while upholding their ethical responsibility withinorganizations. I realized that regardless if it is long or short-term, the role of the T&Dprofessional can be an instrumental component to the overall success and profitability within anyorganization. Throughout the program, three recurring themes were embedded into thecurriculum involving the importance of understanding the ethical ramifications in the field ofT&D, the critical relationship between organizational performance and the T&D practitioner,and understanding what qualities, tasks, and purposes are exhibited in the role of a T&Dprofessional. Oftentimes, I viewed a three-legged stool as an analogy for the role that my newprofession would play, where three components: Ethics, Performance, and Task Analysis areeach a leg that holds up the organization. I constantly considered how the T&D professional is acritical link that can assist in keeping the organization on course by enhancing process andpeople through implementing practices focused on these core areas.Closure Once again, prior to the program, I had limited knowledge around the theory or practicewithin T&D and had never implemented a framework involving how to assess training needs,evaluate training methods, or understand what the roles were within this field. Therefore, I valueand appreciate the program introducing critical models that all T&D professionals should have a
  • 4. basis in when implementing training initiatives such as theADDIE Model and Kirkpatrick’s FourLevels of Evaluation taken from theorists who created frameworks around training anddevelopment.Additionally, every course within the curriculum aided my learning and development as astudent and professional. For instancecore courses such as EAC 559 The Adult Learnerprovidedinsight to the variety of learning styles that adults exhibit, introduced topics around autonomousand self-directed learning, and examined theories such as Transformative Learning that allowedme to examine my own style of learning as a student and the importance of considering thelearning styles of others when establishing training initiatives. Course EAC 586 Methods andTechniques of Training and Development helped me to understand how human resourcefunctions are structured and related within an organization and how I would be able toincorporate other human resource improvement strategies when planning and implementingtraining programsas a training professional. I learned through deeper examinations of adultlearning philosophy involvingSilbermans active training and Gagne and Medskers events ofinstructiontheories the importance of having these paradigms remain intact when integratingmodern technology in training initiatives. Future implications involving technologicaladvancements in T&D require alternate and practical ideas when applying adult learningtechniquesall while satisfying the psychological needs of adults (behaviorism, cognitivism, andconstructivism) in order to have successful learning outcomes during training. Advancedcourses such as EAC 583 Needs Assessment & Task Analysis provided me with a basis tosuccessfully implement a training program for any organization using the ADDIE Model’sframework of assessing and analyzing needs, developing learning objectives, designing anddeveloping the program, implementing the design, and evaluating the performance. EAC 584
  • 5. Evaluating Training Transfer & Effectiveness has given me complete confidence in assessingtraining programs through Kirkpatrick’s Four Level of Evaluations using criteria such as Level I-Reaction, Level II-Learning, Level III-Behavior, and Level IV-Results where all levels ensureoptimal return on investment for the organization based on training outcomes.EAC 585Integrating Technology into Training Design provided the realization that the entrance of newonline learning methods in education is inevitable, therefore changing the way in whichknowledge is obtained and how learning occurs. EAC 555 Ethics in the Workplace & Educationprompted awareness around moral responsibility within organizations as well as the role that theT&D practitioner is expected to uphold; acting in an ethical manner, companies will hire, rewardand retain the best people. This will, in turn, help assure that the company has the best workforce possible to achieve its business goals and by adopting a definition of workplace ethics thatcenters on job performance, HR professionals may be in a better position to persuade others inthe organization to make ethical behavior a priority to produce beneficial results.The entire curriculum has provided me with a solid foundation and confidence to be a well-rounded T&D practitioner. My current experience working as a recruiter and a prior backgroundin human resourcescoupled with the completion of this program will allow me to implementtheory, practice, and established frameworks as I engage in a new career as a change agent whoimproves human performance that leadsto organizational success.