The article by Garavan considers the concepts of training, development, education, and learning, and their relationship to the process of human resource management and development, and argues that the first three phenomena should be viewed as a whole that is tied by learning. This paper summarises this argument and provides its critical evaluation.
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To understand the argument, it is paramount to provide the definitions of these notions. It is stated that the concept of education is traditionally utilised to denote systematic activities (aimed at creating knowledge and skills) provided for students by schools, colleges, and universities. Next, the concept of training usually covers the methods which organisations use to help their employees gain the practical skills and knowledge pivotal for the successful execution of their work-related duties.
The notion of development usually denotes the domain of personal interest related to the attainment of further knowledge, skills, cultural competency, etc., which are supposed to help one become more successful in their life. Finally, it is noted that the term “learning” is difficult to define due to its breadth, but it might be employed to refer to the general process of attaining new knowledge and skills.
Garavan argues that today, it might be useful to perceive the processes of education, training, and development not as separate processes, but as parts of an integrated whole tied together by the notion of learning. This should be handy for human resource management/development in particular. The main reason for this is that, whereas in the past educational institutions (such as universities) were able to provide their students with the training that was needed for the successful execution of work-related duties of the future employee, contemporary companies cannot rely on colleges and universities to teach their future employees all the needed skills and knowledge.
This is due to the rapid pace of development of technologies and the emergence of new knowledge. Consequently, in most if not all cases, a thorough training process should be provided for a new employee before they can start working.
Additionally, it is constantly needed to train the existing personnel further. As a result of the complexity of the changes that take place in organisations and of the constantly introduced innovative technologies, workers may need to get a thorough, full-fledged instruction on the use of these. Garavan also notes that when individuals are promoted to higher positions (e.g., higher managerial positions), they often lack the specific knowledge and skills required, which results in the need to provide them with learning opportunities to gain these skills. Therefore, given the volume of instruction needed for the staff, the distinctions between training, development, and education are blurred, and these processes may be bound together by the notion of learning.
The strengths of this argument include the fact that the pace of change and development is indeed very rapid nowadays, and organisations need to devote considerable resources to teach their employees if the latter is to be effectual; this instruction often needs to be systematic and resembling university courses, and it certainly contributes to the general development of an individual. Consequently, the perception of training, development, and education as a whole might be helpful for organisations in their human resource management/development endeavours.
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However, the weaknesses of this argument include the fact that it is probably difficult or impossible for organisations to supply individuals with such comprehensive education as colleges/universities provide. Companies might very well be able to train their employees to do job-related tasks and use innovative technologies and systems, including very complex ones. Still, non-educational companies might never be able to possess the resources needed for providing a comprehensive education for employees, in particular in the spheres of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
Thus, Garavan argues that today, it might be useful to view the processes of training, development and education as a single process tied by the concept of learning. This may help organisations in their human resource management/development activities, but companies may never be able to provide education of the quality equal to that supplied by colleges/universities.