Term Paper: Instructional Design Corporate Training for Universities

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Corporate Training

Universities have become more enmeshed in corporate training by providing both undergraduate training and post-graduate training for corporate employees. At the same time, universities have learned from this training as well and have started applying elements of that discipline to managing their own operations as institutions. The technological revolution has added to the need for more intense training for corporate employees so as to keep up with new developments and has also contributed to certain types of training, such as distance education.

Corporate training has become an important element in the university, a way of preparing students for the corporate world and a way to address the needs of business at the same time. The corporate world has cone to recognize the value of such training for its future workforce and is making more and more use of such training programs to cut its own training costs by hiring those who have received this training from the university and by funding much of this training because it is seen as more cost-effective than in-house or on-the-job training. Corporate training at the university level can often include on-the-job training as an element as universities provide educational expertise for executives who work for the corporate world while attending classes as part of additional education programs.

Corporate Training

Direct partnerships between the university and the corporation are identified as cooperative education, with the corporation providing some funding while the university supplies the teaching facility and the expertise in training. Such training has been offered for many specific aspects of the corporate operation, but many such programs have been created I recent years because of the particular training needs brought about by the growth of technology in the workplace. College classes are clearly a way for executives and other employees to learn more about these technologies and how they fit into the corporate operation now and into the future. In cases where employers do not see the need to take over such business training themselves, it has been noted that "corporate spokespersons concerned about skill development have decried the necessity for employers to conduct education in basic academic subjects and have focused attention on improving schools" (Adler, 1992, p. 151).

Adler also states that the basic view has been that school simply precedes work and that the two are essentially separate. This idea is changing so that, ore and more, work and school go together, with many students working part time while they attend college. Some see this as a problem that can limit motivation and performance:

Students who have spent the previous evening at work are sometimes tired in class the next day. Concerns about work may distract attention from school demands. Students who go to work every day do not have to rely on teachers to tell them what the outside world is like, and may therefore be more resistant to teachers' authority. There is evidence that students who work during high school get less postsecondary schooling... although they earn more money after they leave high school... This and other evidence caused Greenberger and Steinberg (1986) to warn that paid employment for students may make them "economically rich, but... psychologically poor" (Adler, 1992, p. 161).

However, Adler sees cooperative education as a solution to this problem, noting that the fact that most students are working can be seen as an opportunity to "situate" more learning in the practical context of students' jobs:

For instance, the vocational academies described previously arrange summer jobs for students that are related to the course content they have been studying. This kind of connection reinforces students' motivation at school, and enriches their experience on the job. If such connections were to occur more often, the fact of students' working could be converted from an educational liability to an asset (Adler, 1992, p. 162).

Many companies have found that some form of continuing education is necessary for employees to keep up on the latest data and the latest methods. Some companies try to provide such training in-house, though this can be costly, and many others have developed cooperative ventures with academicians. Some have called for increased corporate support for education. Two decades ago, some 1,200 cooperative education programs were found to be operating in the United States (Marsh & Roth, 1990, para. 4).

Guglielmino and Murdick (1997) note that the American corporate world spends some $59.8 billion each year to offer formal training and development courses to 49.6 million employees, suggesting the need for a better way to achieve the goal. One way is called self-directed learning (SDL), used more and more by U.S. companies for savings of twenty to fifty percent. SDL is defined as a process in which "individuals take the initiative, with or without the help of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identifying human and material resources for learning, choosing and implementing appropriate learning strategies and evaluating learning outcomes" (Knowles, 1990). Such learning can be more effective than classroom learning because the individual is participating more directly and taking command of his or her learning experience.

However, this approach is not ideal for everyone and might be more effective as a secondary element in learning, one that adds to what the student learns in some form of formalized training setting. Peregoy and Kroder (2000) note the growth of distance learning, meaning learning by means of the Internet or television or some similar technology. One approach is used by the University of Dallas Graduate School of Management, founded in 1966 and with a target market of employed professionals:

Eight percent are full-time workers, while 20% are full-time students, mostly international. During the past 33 years, GSM's educational scope has broadened to serve a wider student clientele with 12 different programs, domestic and international partnerships with corporations and other universities, and larger student and faculty population. GSM is no stranger to distance learning, having started broadcasting courses in the late 1960s (para. 2).

Such a distance learning program serves the needs of corporate training by reaching out to employees in different parts of the country, and the school says that this approach is especially effective for the current generation of workers, people who have grown up with technology and who adapt well to technology like the Internet.

Hood (1996) notes that employees learn new skills and new information every day in both formal courses and on the job: "Motivated by competition and the search for greater value, many businesses try to raise productivity through training programs. In the long run, such efforts pay off in larger profits, better products, and higher wages" (Hood, 1996. para. 3). Corporate training programs can be high-tech training centers or on-the-job instruction in word processing or operating machinery. Hood cites Motorola, often cited as a model for its variety of training programs, as the company gives all employees at least 40 hours of training a year. Much of this training is given at Motorola University, its $120-million, 14-branch teaching center. Other companies take a different approach, such as paying for their workers to attend community colleges or night school.

This fact suggests to universities that they might benefit from more stringent corporate training programs and might attract some of these students to their programs. Many have indeed made partnerships with different corporations for just that purpose and have provided a needed service while benefiting in tuition paid by those corporations for the training of employees in just those skills the corporation needs most.

Many universities and colleges offer adult education that can include workplace training (Gadbow, 2001). A more specific university business education can be analyzed for what it offers in terms of corporate training and for how corporate trainng may provide benefits to the university. Dobni and Dobni (1996) analyze Canadian business education and find first that Canada's business school industry is a microcosm of an increasingly competitive world and that both have become vulnerable to erosion from buyers, sellers, and substitute goods. The authors suggest that they adopt a business approach to competitiveness, seeking out solutions in much the same way that business does, and this would include the use of such competitive tools as niche marketing, new product and market development, strategic alliances, organizational revitalization, total quality management, and a focus on core competencies and value-added processes (Dobni & Dobni, 1996, p. 28). Researchers find that in Canada, like in the United States, small companies are making themselves more competitive by adopting the role of learning organization in some fashion to develop innovations with a clear competitive advantage, and leading in this regard are "sunshine" industries such as those in high technology (Golhar & Deshpande, 1997, p. 30).

This is a form of systems thinking applied to the university, seen in more and more universities and business schools that are applying total quality management (TQM) principles to improve classroom teaching. It seems that few universities have formal plans for applying TQM principles in the classroom, although most instructors do apply them in teaching.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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