The major objective of training is to develop the competence of adults within the organization. When adults are competent at performing their jobs, then production, profits, and job satisfaction will improve. A major function of training is to improve the operations of the organization. Recognizing and understanding this function plays a major role in the success of the organization.

The field of training and development is a growing sector of our lives and has come of age as a profession. As business and industry continue to grow and change at a fast pace, the need for training has rapidly increased. Customer demands, employee turnover, and the economic realities of a highly competitive business world all indicate a strong need for a full-time commitment to developing and maintaining a competent workforce through training. It is not enough to hire experienced personnel. Someone has to train and develop them to ensure consistency and expectations.

One of the most important roles of a trainer is to know and understand how adults learn. Every time a trainer sets out to help an adult learn, they have the opportunity for a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Trainers must be aware that adults have their own unique style of learning. Adults differ as to how they think, process information, and solve problems. The skill of the trainer lies within their ability to match the training to the learning needs of the adults.

The nature of training adults in the workforce consists of the following three aims: 1) to give adults the knowledge and skills to perform their jobs effectively and efficiently, 2) to ensure that adults will continue to grow both as individuals and as workers, and 3) to help adults adjust to change. Within these aims, the specific nature of training and development is to:
- give adults the knowledge they need to effectively perform their jobs.
- help adults see how their job relates to the mission of the organization.
- help adults develop the interpersonal skills needed to successfully work well with others.

If you are considering developing a training program for your staff within your organization, the following 20 basic principles of adult learning will provide you with some insight. Adults learn best when:

1. they are ready to learn.
2. they are motivated and have a reason to learn.
3. they have an opportunity to share their personal experiences, attitudes, beliefs, and values.
4. they have an opportunity to actively participate in the learning process.
5. they perceive that the goals of the learning experience are directly related to their own personal goals.
6. the learning experience is hands-on and practical.
7. they have an opportunity to learn problem-solving activities rather than subject-oriented activities.
8. they are in an informal environment free from intimidation and threat.
9. they have an opportunity to set their own learning pace.
10. they can determine and diagnose their own learning needs.
11. the learning experience is exciting and meaningful.
12. they are given immediate results and feedback of their progress.
13. the learning experience is accomplished "with" the learner and not "for" the learner.
14. the learning experience is highly organized around what they see as relevant to the "real world."
15. learning is directly applied to their current knowledge and past experiences.
16. they enter the training voluntarily as a result of unmet needs and wants.
17. information is delivered intermittently over a period of time rather than continuously.
18. they are provided with self directed, independent learning activities.
19. they are accountable and responsible for what they learn.
20. the learning environment is characterized by physical comfort, mutual trust and respect, mutual helpfulness, freedom of expression, and acceptance of differences.

In today's competitive world, businesses need to stand out to get ahead. An employee who is thoroughly trained will give an organization a competitive advantage.

These are a few principles to help trainers facilitate the training process within their organization. Providing employees with the proper training helps to develop a productive, motivated, committed workforce which translates to increased profits and a solid organization.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Al Infande is President of Infande Associates, Inc., a full service consulting firm providing Human Resources/Training and Development programs for business and industry. Dr. Infande also serves as a University Professor where he teaches courses in Human Resources Management. Dr. Infande has earned several Ph.D.s in the areas of Organizational Psychology, Counseling Psychology, and Human Resources Development. He has developed and delivered an array of seminars and workshops for both academicians and corporate executives. During his career, he has written several publications in the areas of Adult Education, Training and Development, and Stress Management.