Conference Paper

Conceptual Model of Workplace Training and Learning Strategies to Shorten Time-to-Proficiency in Complex Skills: Preliminary findings

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  • Speed To Proficiency: S2Pro© Research
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Abstract

The race among global firms to launch its respective products and services into the market sooner than the competitors puts pressure to equip its employees with job related skills at the pace of business. Today’s global and dynamic business requires employees to develop highly complex cognitive skills such as decision-making, problem-solving, troubleshooting to perform their jobs proficiently. Traditional training models used by some organizations lead to a very slow speed at which employees gain an acceptable level of proficiency in the targeted job skills. Also, these models have long and regimented instructional development cycle. Thus, traditional models are inherently counter-productive to the business and do not enable employees and organizations for today’s business needs. Therefore, business organizations need to explore new training models and strategies that could reduce the time an employee takes to reach target proficiency in complex skills without compromising the effectiveness or outcome. A comprehensive review of the literature shows a very limited amount of academic or practitioner research on this topic. This doctorate research study aims to find various training strategies that have proven successful in organizations for accelerating proficiency of employees in complex job skills. The researcher collected data primarily through 74 in-depth interviews with 86 training experts with known work experience of reducing time-to-proficiency in various settings. A total of 105 project cases is collected across 42 industries to date. A grounded theory approach with constant comparison method is used to guide the theoretical saturation, analyze the data and to develop a theoretical model of training strategies. This paper presents the preliminary findings and the conceptual model of major training and learning strategies discovered in this study that leverages workplace to shorten time-to-proficiency of employees. This paper will also discuss the implications for practitioners and academicians. The preliminary findings of this study confirmed that boundaries between work and learning are getting diffused. It is further noticed that organizations are now more inclined to leverage workplace learning and training strategies as the primary mode to accelerate skill proficiency as opposed to lengthy traditional or formal training methods. Research findings suggest a pattern of three workplace training and learning strategies that are more successful in reducing time-to-proficiency - 1) manufacturing and structuring on-the-job experiences; 2) sequencing activities in a lean learning path; 3) providing performance support systems and resources. This paper will also discuss the implications for practitioners and academicians.

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... As per Bachlechner, et al., (2010, p. 378) 'Time-to-proficiency (TTP) is defined as the amount of time an individual spends in a new job environment before they are able to fulfill most tasks without help from colleagues or supervisors'. Attri & Wu (2015, p. 2) noted that time-toproficiency involves onboarding, formal and informal training, on-the-job learning and other allied activities (Attri & Wu, 2015)and is usually measured from the date of hiring or when someone takes up new role or the first day of the training he or she attends. The deliberate and conscious effort of shortening time-to-proficiency is called 'accelerated proficiency' in academic language . ...
Conference Paper
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The high pace business environment poses great competition among firms. The key to an organisation's survival is its workforce. Time taken by the workforce to reach to full proficiency in their job role takes very long in certain job roles. Thus, shortening time-to-proficiency of employees is a critical business problem for today's organisations. This qualitative research study explored the proven practices and strategies that have successfully reduced time-to-proficiency of the workforce in various settings. A total of 93 participants from seven countries participated in the research study. Bounded project case (with a defined start and defined end) was used as a sampling unit and unit of analysis in this study. This study collected 67 successful project cases with the evidence of significant reduction in time-to-proficiency of the workforce in their settings. These project cases are spanned across nine economic sectors, 20 business sectors and 28 industrial groups. This study revealed that project leaders across the board used six practices to successfully reduce the time-to-proficiency. The purpose of this paper is to present the model of accelerated proficiency in the work place developed in this study.
... As per Bachlechner, et al., (2010, p. 378) 'Time-to-proficiency (TTP) is defined as the amount of time an individual spends in a new job environment before they are able to fulfill most tasks without help from colleagues or supervisors'. Attri & Wu (2015, p. 2) noted that time-toproficiency involves onboarding, formal and informal training, on-the-job learning and other allied activities (Attri & Wu, 2015)and is usually measured from the date of hiring or when Page2 someone takes up new role or the first day of the training he or she attends. The deliberate and conscious effort of shortening time-to-proficiency is called 'accelerated proficiency' in academic language . ...
... The time an individual takes to acquire the skills necessary to reach to that level is called time-toproficiency (Pinder and Schroeder, 1987). With faster pace of business demanding shorter time-to-market of the products and the services, most of the organizations are highly pressed to reduce time-to-proficiency of employees (Attri, 2014;Attri and Wu, 2015b). This deliberate effort of reducing 'time-to-proficiency' is referred to as 'accelerated proficiency' or 'speed to proficiency' in this paper. ...
Conference Paper
The complexity of business and complexity of skills slow down the speed with which employees comes up to desired proficiency in the skills required to do their job. However, the pace of the business and the cut-throat competition does not allow organizations enough time waiting employees to acquire proficiency in required job skills Time-to-proficiency is now becoming a crucial survival metrics for the business to accelerate customer satisfaction and profits. This business challenge requires organizations to rethink the training and learning strategies to bring employees up to speed. It appears that traditional training and learning interventions do not address the need for speed to proficiency. Extensive literature review indicates a lack of systematic research in this business-critical topic, especially on availability of any proven framework or model to design and deliver training interventions to accelerate speed to proficiency. To address this gap, as part of the doctorate research, the author has explored the training and learning strategies that have been implemented successfully by leading organizations to shorten the time-to-proficiency and accelerate speed to proficiency at the workplace. Author conducted a qualitative research across 42 industries through in-depth interviews with over 86 leading experts from renowned organizations who are known to have reduced the time-to-proficiency of employees. Using thematic analysis, a conceptual model is developed for various training and learning strategies to accelerate speed to proficiency. Preliminary data analysis revealed several workplace training, classroom training and e-learning strategies to reduce time-to-proficiency. However, the intent of this paper is to present a subset of the overall preliminary findings of this large research study. The focus of this paper is to report only the e-learning strategies found in the main study that hold strong potential to reduce time-to-proficiency.
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We wish to pose accelerated learning as a challenge for intelligent systems technology. Research on intelligent tutoring systems has proved that accelerated learning is possible. The Sherlock tutor for electronics troubleshooting, for example, condensed four years of on-the-job training to approximately 25 hours, compressing the duration of the experience-feedback-learning cycle. But accelerated learning should refer to more than the hastening of basic proficiency. It reaches across the proficiency scale to the question of how to accelerate the achievement of expertise, and whether that is even possible. Paralleling this question are practical issues, including the military's need to conduct training at a rapid pace, and the issues of workforce and loss of expertise. Many organizations such as the US Department of Defense, NASA, and the electric utilities are at risk because of the imminent retirement of domain practitioners who handle the most difficult and mission-critical challenges. To accelerate proficiency, we must facilitate the acquisition of extensive, highly organized knowledge. We must also accelerate the acquisition of expert-level reasoning skills and strategies. But that's just the beginning of the challenge.