Training and development in different types of organizations are important to help employees improve their task comprehension and performance. It is possible to train and educate employees, as well as to develop their skills, with a focus on the active learning approach and human resource development (HRD) strategies oriented to improving the performance of workers. In this case, active learning and HRD strategies are guided by certain learning and motivational theories. In the paper, the focus is on providing the academic argument for referring to social learning theory, goal theories, need theories, and expectancy theory to support active learning and the application of certain HRD strategies for increasing employees’ performance in a large multinational company.
In the context of strategic human resource management, a multinational company interested in developing its employees can apply reinforcement theory based on the idea of providing pleasant and unpleasant outcomes for certain behaviors as positive and negative reinforcers and information-processing theory to explain how employees learn. Still, to increase employees’ comprehension, performance, and productivity, these theories can be viewed as ineffective to support active learning and HRD strategies (Silberman & Biech, 2015).
Thus, HR managers need to apply the principles of social learning theory, goal theories, need theories, and expectancy theory to promote employees’ training in the selected multinational company. In this context, active learning should be viewed as the approach to learning when employees are involved in a process, enthusiastically participate in activities, answer questions, discuss issues, practice, and demonstrate their skills.
Social learning theory explains the idea of active learning, stating that employees can improve their skills and performance while not only observing trainers’ activities but also experiencing certain outcomes associated with changes in their actions and behaviors. Thus, imitating others, employees receive the opportunity to practice and improve their comprehension and performance of tasks (Ismail, Abdul-Majid, & Musibau, 2017).
Goal theories are also efficient to guide active learning and strategies for improving performance because employees need to be motivated to change their behaviors to increase performance (Jalloh & Jalloh, 2016). Therefore, they need to set goals for their learning and training process. As a result, after setting challenging goals, employees will be motivated to participate in active learning, achieve higher results, and improve their performance.
Active learning and human resource development can also be grounded in need theories that explain employees’ motivation for participating in training and development activities. If employees understand that they need to develop certain skills to improve their comprehension and performance, they are more willing to participate in active learning and demonstrate high results (Ismail et al., 2017). Expectancy theory also supports the idea of active learning in an organizational environment because employees are motivated to participate in this learning process when they believe that their efforts will lead to improving their performance and other positive results.
Thus, they are ready to participate actively in the learning process and be oriented to positive outcomes (Ismail et al., 2017). To measure the performance improvement outcomes from active learning and HRD strategies in the discussed company, it is necessary to use pre- and post-assessments for employee performance and benchmarks and refer to key performance indicators while conducting appraisals (Jalloh & Jalloh, 2016). HR managers need to compare appraisal and assessment results before and after training to understand what outcomes have been achieved.
Active learning and HRD strategies are usually applied in organizations for training employees to achieve certain changes in performance. To use these approaches and techniques effectively and develop appropriate training plans, it is reasonable to refer to certain learning and motivational theories, including social learning theory, goal theories, need theories, and expectancy theory. The principles of these theories allow for understanding how to influence employees’ motivation and expect positive outcomes associated with their training and development.
Ismail, A. I., Abdul-Majid, A. H., & Musibau, H. O. (2017). Employee learning theories and their organizational applications. Academic Journal of Economic Studies, 3(4), 96-104.
Jalloh, A., & Jalloh, A. (2016). The effects of motivation on employee performance: A strategic human resource management approach. International Journal of Management Sciences and Business Research, 5(12), 1-16.
Silberman, M. L., & Biech, E. (2015). Active training: A handbook of techniques, designs, case examples, and tips (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.