Workplace Learning and Development: Delivering Competitive Advantage for Your Organization

Human Resource Management International Digest

ISSN: 0967-0734

Article publication date: 6 June 2008




Clifford, J. (2008), "Workplace Learning and Development: Delivering Competitive Advantage for Your Organization", Human Resource Management International Digest, Vol. 16 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Workplace Learning and Development: Delivering Competitive Advantage for Your Organization

Article Type: Suggested reading From: Human Resource Management International Digest, Volume 16, Issue 4.

Jackie Clifford, Sara Thorpe, Kogan Page, 2007

Keywords: Employee development, Training methods, Adult learning

Workplace Learning and Development: Delivering Competitive Advantage for Your Organization targets busy line managers responsible for development of their staff, and HR specialists who seek an “encyclopaedia” of learning and development methods.

The first three chapters site learning and development in the context of the move from training to learning. They present basic methods of analyzing development needs and commenting on adult learning, and cover Bloom’s taxonomy, Kolb’s learning cycle, Honey and Mumford’s learning styles, sensory learning preferences, the theory of competence, motivating adults to learn and organizational learning.

The next chapter describes 27 learning and development methods, set out in alphabetical order, most of which can be carried out on or through the job. Each delivery method is explained using a formula of:

  • use it because...&

  • making it work; and

  • it is useful for ...

In each section this is followed by an up-to-date list of suggested reading.

The following chapter provides a checklist for selecting the most appropriate learning and development methods in terms of clarifying the required outcomes, identifying who has the development need, time constraints, organizational factors and resource availability.

A well-constructed and thoughtful chapter on development plans presents useful case studies in respect of organizational, departmental/team, and individual development plans.

The chapter on assessing impact covers validation and evaluation. Kirkpatrick’s model forms most of the content of this. The final chapter presents a review checklist.

This is very much a “how to do” book. Many of the learning and development methods are described in bullet-point lists that, after a time, become predictable. The reader may prefer to make a number of separate visits to the text, followed by a period of reflection, in order to cope with the volume of material presented. A summary of the chapters would have been a useful aid.

The title of the book suggests that it contains material on delivering competitive advantage. While the development methods suggested may, indeed, give competitive advantage, competitive advantage per se is not covered.

Reviewed by Alan Cattell.

A longer version of this review was originally published in Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 39 No. 6, 2007.

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