Employee Training & Development in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

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  • 0:03 I/O Psychology
  • 1:09 Elements of Workplace Learning
  • 2:42 Types of Workplace Learning
  • 4:34 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

A major part of organizational development depends on the growth of the organization's employees. In this lesson, we'll examine the major elements and types of employee training and development.

I/O Psychology

Zaf is a business owner who wants his employees to learn new skills so that they can be more efficient. He's heard that industrial/organization, or I/O, psychology can help, but he's not sure what it is or how it works.

Industrial-organizational psychology, also called I/O psychology or workplace psychology, focuses on human capital in the workplace. Essentially, I/O psychology looks at how the principles of psychology help businesses grow and develop their employees.

One aspect of this is workplace development, or workplace learning, which involves helping employees develop skills and knowledge necessary for current and/or future jobs that they might need to do in the company. Whether Zaf wants to train his employees on new equipment, teach them about workforce safety, or develop leaders from his current crop of workers, workplace learning can help him develop the talent he already has in his company. To help Zaf understand how to develop his staff better, let's look at the elements and common types of workplace learning.

Elements of Workplace Learning

Let's say that Zaf wants to introduce a new technology to his company. This new technology will make his workers' jobs easier and make them more productive. But first, Zaf has to make sure that his employees know how to use it. There are three major elements of workplace learning: assessment, planning, and implementation.


Assessment asks the questions: What do employees need to know, and what do employees already know? For example, maybe Zaf's workforce already knows one technology system, but not others. Maybe they know how to turn on a computer, but not how to use new software. The assessment phase of development is all about figuring out what employees know and what they still need to learn.


Once it's clear what Zaf's employees know and need to know, it's time to move to planning, which answers the question, What is the best way to teach the employees new skills? This is the time to decide how to teach Zaf's employees. Will they learn online or in person? Will the lessons be self-guided, in one-on-one tutoring, or in a large group? During the planning phase, every part of the learning process should be mapped out.


Finally, it's time for implementation. This is about getting the learning done, and answers the question, What is necessary to put the plan in action? If Zaf's employees will be learning in a seminar setting, the implementation will involve conducting the seminar. If they'll be learning online, it will involve setting up the online learning system and getting employees to log in.

Types of Workplace Learning

Zaf's mind is reeling a little bit. The elements of workforce learning seem pretty straightforward, but there seem to be a lot of different types of learning that can be done. What's the difference in all of them?


Coaching involves helping individuals (usually executives) to reach their fullest potential. This often occurs one-on-one as a consulting job and focuses on the career goals of the individual. This is probably not right for Zaf's plan to educate his employees on how to use the new technology, but it might be helpful for his future career as an entrepreneur.

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