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Doctorate Research- Training Strategies to "Accelerate" Time-to-Proficiency of Technical Professionals in Acquiring Complex Job Skills in Hi-Tech Industry
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Doctorate Research- Training Strategies to "Accelerate" Time-to-Proficiency of Technical Professionals in Acquiring Complex Job Skills in Hi-Tech Industry


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As a hi-tech industry expert, you already may know noticed two drivers: 1) that organizations are striving to squeeze down the time-to-market of new technologies. 2) New technologies, equipment and …

As a hi-tech industry expert, you already may know noticed two drivers: 1) that organizations are striving to squeeze down the time-to-market of new technologies. 2) New technologies, equipment and processes are being invented at fast speed to meet customer demands and needs. 3) Higher customer demands on efficiency and quality are making these technologies and systems highly complex.

These three facts together are driving industry's need to develop top-notch capabilities of its employees in a shorter time. It is general belief that industry is not able to accelerate time-to-proficiency of employees at the same speed as time-to-market. This lag requires a fresh approach to training to find the answer to this pressing business challenge.

Through this doctoral research, I am hoping that we may be able to bring key semiconductor equipment industry thought leaders at same platform to solve this business challenge for a common cause.

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  • Original;
    Training Strategies to “Accelerate” Time-to-Proficiency of Employees in Hi-Tech Industry
    Training Strategies to “Accelerate” Time-to-Proficiency of Employees in Complex Jobs Skills in Hi-Tech Industry
    Research TitleTraining Strategies to “Accelerate” Time-to-Proficiency of Hi-Tech Professionals in Complex Jobs Skills
    Alternative Research TitleTraining Strategies to “Accelerate” Acquisition of Proficiency of Technical Professionals in Complex Jobs Skills in Hi-Tech Industry
  • Research Approach:
    Qualitative Exploratory approach: “Discuss new idea” (Zikmund, 2000). Provides avenues to understand real-world “realities” at deeper level to make meaningful conclusions.
    Describes complex phenomenon of learning in complex organizations (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie , 2004; Marshal and Rossman, 1989).
    Case Study Methodology: because it allows subjects to share their own experiences of real world. Provides interpretation of reality in context of the problem (Yin, 1989).
    Allows dealing each participant as a case study and handful of case studies can generate meaningful qualitative data to draw inferences across the cases.
    Multiple-case studies methodologies will be used
    Unit of analysis: Cases where strategies were successful. One participant may give me more than one case
    Sampling / Target Participants:
    Purposeful sampling: Selecting research participants who give a richness of information that is suitable for detailed research (Morse, 1991; Glaser & Strauss, 1967). May add “referral” part of snow ball sampling.
    Targeted training industry thought leaders: with specific experience in executing TTP and OJT reduction projects. Expected to be handful of training professionals, business leaders, managers, learning designers, strategists, consultants and academicians
    Sampling unit is “training leaders”. Secondary sampling unit is industry and tertiary unit is organization size.
    Participant selection:
    Phase-I: Online expression of interest from prospective participants.
    From mailing list from LinkedIn, journals, industrial magazines, corporate referrals.
    LinkedIn and Research gate research groups
    Survey sampling intl and Harris Interactive database
    Referral and recommendations from university/organizations
    Phase-II: Online survey to capture demographic details
    Phase-III: Select potential participants based on years of experience, competencies, industry, position, organization type and experience in training.
    Data collection method:
    Interviews: will be used to allow deeper level of human interactions. Using online digital consent form. Webex based semi-directive/semi-structured interviews Recorded verbatim using technology.
    Delphi: Considering as alternative. Inferences will be drawn through several rounds of survey with experts and thought leaders until consensus is achieved. Participants stay anonymous to each other. Progressive data collection & analysis will be done. Applicable in the cases where incomplete definition of problem or need to find solutions and need expert inputs.
    Semi-structured (written) Interview + Delphi: present results of semi-structured interview during first round of delphi and start debate
    Data Analysis method
    Unit of analysis: Cases where strategies were successful. One participant may give me more than one case
    Process to be used:
    Continuous data analysis in parallel to data collection will be used (Merriam , 1998; Marshall & Rossman;1989).
    Theory development is based on emergent data.
    Analysis of similarities or patterns through interrelationship among different variables within a case and across the cases (Kohn, 1997).
    Open, axial and selective coding:
    Open coding: Open categories will be developed based on perspectives connected to context, situation, ways of thinking, processes, events, activities, strategies and relationships (Bogdan & Biklen, 2003). Priori coding may be used based on existing taxonomy
    Axial coding: Relationship among different categories will be analyzed. Creating hierarchical relationship of sub-categories and categories.
    Selective coding: Core or central category will be identified to develop the theoretical model to explain patterns.
    Research Validation
    Checking for validity
    Interpretive validity (includes member checking)
    Theory validity (theory triangulation)
    Internal validity (method triangulation and data triangulation),
    General techniques to be used:
    Checking for representativeness,
    researcher effects,
    weighting the evidence,
    meaning of outlier,
    using extreme cases,
    following up surprises,
    looking for negative evidence,
    making if-then tests,
    replicate finding and c
    hecking for rival explanation (Miles & Huberman, 1994).
    Triangulation method used:
    Theory triangulation
    methodological triangulation (interview + delphi)
    Trustworthiness: Maintaining logs, records, inference from real data, checking inferences back with participants
    Credibility- member checking (Delphi may help with this too)
    Dependability: audit trail which involves maintaining and preserving all transcripts, notes, audio / video recordings and other dataset etc
    Confirmability: audit trail to show intepretations are grounded in raw data
    Transferability: What strategies you have used in some other context, settings or job?
  • Transcript

    • 1. Australia Raman K. Attri
    • 2. 2/21/2014Copyrights © Raman K. Attri Technical training expert and a training industry thought leader Supported, worked or consulted in Hi-Tech Industry Experienced in deploying training strategies successfully to accelerate time-to-expertise of employees Hold strong opinions on best practices to orchestrate complex training in complex organizations Interested in participating in a forum of experts to shape industry-wide knowledge base
    • 3. 2/21/2014Copyrights © Raman K. Attri Here is how you can express your experience and opinions to develop a new industry-wide knowledge base. Invitation for Participation in Unique and Innovative Research Study
    • 4. Raman K. Attri Doctoral Research Student Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) Degree Alternative Research Title Training Strategies to “Accelerate” Acquisition of Proficiency of Technical Professionals in Complex Jobs Skills in Hi-Tech Industry
    • 5. Training Strategies   refers to collection of methods, techniques, interventions, mechanisms, processes, philosophies, methodologies, structures & systems and instructional design Acceleration   refers to shortening, compressing, improving or hastening of speed of achievement of goal Proficiency   A stage of consistent superior performance characterized by reliability, repeatability, reproducibility and consistency of skills regardless of the situation, problem and challenge. Time-to-Proficiency   Refers to time taken by an individual or group to reach to desired level of proficiency, expertise or productivity in knowledge/skills required to perform the job efficiently and effectively Complex Job skills   refers to jobs requiring higher order knowledge, critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, cognitive and metacognitive skills, troubleshooting and hands-on skills Hi-Tech industry  Refers to OECD definition of various sectors  driven by technology: Aerospace, Automotive, Artificial Intelligence, Biotechnology, Computer science, Information technology, Nanotechnology, Nuclear Physics, Photonics, Robotics, Semiconductors, Telecommunications  driven by R&D investments: Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals, Aircraft & spacecraft, Medical, precision & optical instruments, Radio, television & communication equipment, Office, accounting & computing machinery, Electrical machinery & apparatus, Motor vehicles, trailers & semi-trailers, Railroad & transport equipment, Chemical & chemical products, Machinery & equipment 2/21/2014Copyrights © Raman K. Attri
    • 6. 2/21/2014Copyrights © Raman K. Attri •Time-to-market of new technologies, services, products and solutions is being squeezed (or accelerated) by organizations to gain competitive edge over others •New business and emerging customer problems constantly requires evolution of highly complex technologies to address these customer needs •Hi-tech industry is at critical point with dire need to build capabilities of their engineers at or more than the speed of time-to-market. •There is a lag observed between speed with which organizations can build capability of employees and the speed of time-to-market of products/services/solutions/technologies •Currently no proven or practical BKMs / Knowledge base available in literature which requires new training approaches to address business challenge of shortening time-to-proficiency of employees. •It is crucial for organizations in particular and for the hi-tech industry in general to develop a knowledge base (academic or practitioner) on successful raining strategies
    • 7. Research Question: What specific training strategies (methods, techniques, mechanisms, systems, processes, instructional design, methodologies, interventions, etc.) have helped leading hi-tech industry organizations to successfully “accelerate” acquisition of complex job skills of its technical professionals? 2/21/2014Copyrights © Raman K. Attri
    • 8. “Our vision is that methods for accelerating the achievement of proficiency, and even extraordinary expertise, might be taken to new levels such that one can accelerate the achievement of proficiency across the journeyman-to-expert span post-hiring.” (Hoffman, Andrews & Feltovich,2012, p. 9) 2/21/2014Copyrights © Raman K. Attri
    • 9. Receive copy of final research report on the rare research findings Insight into proven training strategies that worked across the hi-tech industry sector Creating of forum of like-minded specialists to generate industry-wide BKMs Potential future research & consulting collaborations, joint-authoring or other similar opportunities 2/21/2014Copyrights © Raman K. Attri
    • 10. Select target participants with expertise and experience closely related to goal of the research. 2/21/2014 Copyrights © Raman K. Attri Expression of interest via Questionnaire Express interest, consent & preferred mode Real-time Interview conducted by Researcher Via Phone, Video, Audio, WebEx, Online, Face-to-Face, etc. Self-filled Interview Questionnaire Via Web –based, E-mail or paper-based Follow-up Real-time Interview (Some participants only) Phone, Video, Audio, WebEx, Online, F2F etc. Focus Group of Experts (Optional : Select Industry Experts Only) (Phone, Video, Audio, WebEx, Online, etc.) 60 minutes 30 minutes 30 minutes 60 minutes 10 minutes A or B A B Expected time commitment from each participant is maximum of 2.5 hours spread over 1-2 years time frame Questionnaire: Validate findings Small population of participants Via Web –based, E-mail or paper-based 20 minutes
    • 11. Time Frame step Interaction Expected time Jan’14 – Jun’14 1 • Participant fill expression of interest of participation in the research. • Relevant information like experience, expertise is furnished by the participants. • Preferred mode of participation and interactions with researcher will be recorded. 10 minutes to fill survey Jul’14-Sep’14 2 • Qualified participants will be selected through applying the defined criteria. • Participants who preferred real-time interview will receive an e-mail confirmation regarding proposed time / method of interview. Sample interview questions will also be sent to them. • Participants who preferred self-filled questionnaire interview will receive embedded questionnaire or link to online questionnaire. 5 minutes to read e-mail Oct’14 – Mar’15 3 • Participants who preferred real-time interview, an in- depth interview will be conducted as per confirmed time and as per preferred method. • Participants who preferred to respond via self-filled questionnaire interview will be reminded to fill the same. Some participants may be requested for a follow-on interview if needed. 30 to 60 minutes to fill questionnaire or attend interview Jan’15 – Mar15 4 Participants will receive a link in their e-mail for transcripts of their interview for their review 10 minutes to review at free will Apr’15 – jun’15 5 Same or different set of participants will receive a Validation Questionnaire (developed based on data analysis of interview or self-filled interview questionnaire) to triangulate the findings 20 minutes to fill the survey (same or different set of participants) Jul’15 – Sept’15 6 Few key industry leaders will be invited to form a focus group to review the research findings 60 minutes (optional) Jan’16- Mar’16 7 Participants will receive a thanks e-mail along copy or the link to the final research report. 5 minutes to download report 2/21/2014Copyrights © Raman K. Attri
    • 12. 2/21/2014Copyrights © Raman K. Attri Specific experience or expertise related to accelerating expertise, bringing employees up to speed faster, shortening OJT, squeezing time taken by employees to acquire desired proficiency/productivity/ expertise, etc. Personally led, managed, designed, consulted, implemented or contributed to a project with primary goal or the byproduct as to accelerate proficiency/productivity/expertise etc. Worked, supported, managed or consulted in the Training / Learning function in Hi-Tech industry At least one success story, case study or a project to share with the researcher during the interview Willingness to provide in-depth insights on how organization orchestrated specific training strategy (ies) within the quoted success story to achieve results Industry Specific Expertise Project Experience Success story Willingness Target participants are those who have expertise and experience closely related to goal of the research.
    • 13. •Qualitative Approach: People’s personal experiences of phenomenon •Exploratory Stand: ‘discuss new idea’ (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie , 2004; Marshal and Rossman, 1989) •Constructionism paradigm: Reality produced through interaction of subject with the environment and focus on “how” questions Approach • Case Study Methodology: Real life experience of thought leaders (Yin, 1989) • Two stage sequential qualitative study Methodology •Sampling Method: Purposive sampling (Morse, 1991; Glaser & Strauss, 1967) •Snow ball sampling referrals •Participants: Training industry thought leaders (time-to-proficiency/ expertise development) • Sampling Unit: Case Sampling •Online expression of interest, consent and demographic information •Select participants based on years of experience, competencies, industry, position, organization, experience in training and contribution in research area Participant selection •Stage-I (To understand phenomenon) •In-depth Interviews (Real-time: Phone, Audio, Video, Webex, Skype, Google Hangouts, Face to Face etc) •Self-filled interview questionnaire (Web-based questionnaire, Embedded E-mail Questionnaire or paper-based, etc.) •Stage-II (To triangulate the findings) •Validation Questionnaire developed from data from stage-I to triangulate the findings Data Collection
    • 14. • Case oriented data analysis: Analysis of similarities or within a case and across the cases • Separate analysis of data from interview and questionnaire • Continuous data collection and analysis • Theory development based on emergent data • Open, axial & selective coding for theory development • Data Reduction Techniques (Miles and Huberman, 1994) • Use the result of stage-1 analysis to frame Stage-2 qualitative questions for targeted questions Data Analysis •Credibility and Quality •Theoretical triangulation: interpreting the strategies from several different theories like cognitive, behavioral, instructional and performance theories •Data triangulation: By reviewing ideas, opinions, inferences and statements of experts in their blogs, shared papers, publications and public appearances. (Suter, 2011) •Methodological triangulation: •Stage-II validation questionnaire will be developed from data analysis of Stage-1 data •Stage-II questionnaire will be administered on same or different set of participants to triangulate the findings of Stage-I. •Data from Stage-II will be analyzed to establish credibility of stage-1 •One round of “feed forward” Delphi method will be conducted to validate final research outcomes with select experts (Hartman & Baldwin, 1995). •Dependability: Audit trail •Confirmability: Evidences linked with theory development •Transferability: Interview questions on applicability to other settings Research Validation
    • 15.  Semi-structured interviews  Intended questions will be sent beforehand  Interview centralized on at least one success story  Questions aim to explore participants’ thoughts in-depth on deployment of training strategies in their context  No mention of any proprietary information (like equipment, organization, technology or customer name) during interview  Convenient time zone, mode and technology  Multiple ways for inteviews (like WebEx, GoToMeeting online portal, Audio-video conference, Skype, Google HangOut etc.)  Face-to-face interviews where possible  Link to interview transcripts will be sent for review at your leisure post-training 2/21/2014Copyrights © Raman K. Attri
    • 16.  Ethical measures as per university guidelines  Participant information fully protected, private and confidential.  All identifiable information about participant or his organization will be made non-identifiable  Pseudo-names used for participants for interview transcripts storage and data reporting  Participant information will never be shared with any party  Data correlation to be done in aggregate and reported on group level or category level  Collected data encrypted in a separate password protected hard disk accessible to the researcher only  Collected data solely for aforementioned research only  Collected data will not be used for any commercial or business purposes  Collected data to be kept confidential and retained by university for 7 years. 2/21/2014Copyrights © Raman K. Attri
    • 17. Interested to be part of this research? Click on this link to take a short 10 minutes survey to express your interest and consent to participate in the research: A follow-up communication will be arranged once you log your interest / consent. 2/21/2014Copyrights © Raman K. Attri
    • 18. Researcher: Raman K. Attri Affiliation: KLA-Tencor Corp USA Title: Senior Global Technical Training Manager Affiliation: Doctoral Research Student University: Southern Cross University, Australia Degree: Doctorate of Business Administration Approval Number: ECN-13-261 dated: 16-Oct-2013 E-mail: Time frame for research: 2014-2015 Research Supervisor: Dr. Wing S. Wu ( Research outline link: Research finding: Thesis as per university guideline and interim results in conferences or research journals 2/21/2014Copyrights © Raman K. Attri
    • 19. Raman K. Attri is an organizational learning specialist and training management professional with specialization in complex training design, competitive training strategies, and expertise development in the complex corporate world. He is equipped with over 20 years of technical and training experience. Keenly interested in advanced research, he is currently pursuing is Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) at Southern Cross University, Australia. He is conducting a ground-breaking research in training strategies to accelerate time-to-proficiency of employees performing complex jobs. As Senior Global Technical Training manager for KLA-Tencor Corporation, a $11bn semiconductor equipment manufacturer and Training Magazine’s Top 10 Hall of Fame inductee for training excellence, he manages global training operations for semiconductor equipment service, maintenance and repair training. At KLA-Tencor, he has led several initiatives to restructure training programs to meet changing business needs with complexity of equipments. In addition to this he serves as training and learning consultant to leading professional bodies engaged in creating next generation best practices and to transform research into practical training solutions. His current research is another contribution towards integrating scattered training strategies under a common industry-wide knowledge base. Previously he has served as Sr. Scientist for 10 years in the area of research and development of sophisticated instrumentation and measurement technologies. He has earned a Professional Doctorate in Management, MBA in Operations Management, EMBA in Customer Relationships and a Master’s Degree in Applied Electronics among several other international credentials and certifications. 2/21/2014Copyrights © Raman K. Attri E-mail: | Linkedin: | LinkedIn Group: | Twitter: | SlideShare: | Publications: | Website: | Blogs: | Blogs:
    • 20. THANKS Appreciate your attention, time and interest to be part of this industry-wide initiative to create a new knowledge base for training and learning professionals 2/21/2014Copyrights © Raman K. Attri Researcher will get back to you to take it forward Questions? Contact researcher at or research supervisor at
    • 21. During the research if you have concerns about the ethical conduct of this research or the researchers, write to the following. University assures keeping all information confidential and handled as soon as possible. The Ethics Complaints Officer, Southern Cross University, PO Box 157, Lismore NSW 2480 Australia Email: 2/21/2014Copyrights © Raman K. Attri