Types of learning can be categorized into three groups:
Cognitive learning. This means knowledge learning. It not only includes the knowledge per se, but also what to do with it or how to apply it. Thus the investigative process and the principles of problem solving and decision making are part of this group.
Much learning of this nature is imparted by the lecture method, but can be reinforced by a variety of methods such as private study, process reviews, role plays and case studies.
Psychomotor learning. These are the physical skills that are required in order to complete a task. Examples would be driving a car or giving an oral presentation.
The most effective environment in which to gain these physical skills is in the ‘laboratory’, in which students actually gain hands-on experience. The lecturer only prepares the student by giving him the knowledge before entering the arena to practice. It is only in the arena that the real learning takes place. This experiential approach is used in the training of airline pilots in simulators.
In no area of learning is the old Chinese proverb more appropriate:
I hear, I forget,
I see, I remember,
I do, I understand.
Affective learning. This is related to attitudes, values and interests and is the most difficult training of all, mainly because it is difficult to measure.
Designing a Training Program
1. Area of training content (What type of behavior or material is to be learned?)
a. Cognitive learning
b. Psychomotor learning
c. Affective learning
2. Extent to which the training program incorporates key learning principles
a. Does program provide knowledge of results?
b. Does program reinforce desired behaviors?
c. Does method provide practice opportunities?
d. Does method motivate employee to learn and apply new knowledge and skills to the job ?
e. Does the program facilitate transfer of new behaviors to on-the-job situations ?
3. Trainee characteristics
a. How many employees need training now? In the future ?
b. What level(s) of ability do trainees possess?
c. What individual differences exist in employees who will be receiving training?
4. Cost of the program
a. What is the size of the training and development budget?
b. What does the program cost?