Toward a Model of Workforce Training and Development
Maiju Tuomiranta
, Sanna Varpukari
and Nestori Syynimaa
Sovelto Plc, Helsinki, Finland
Faculty of Information Technology, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
Keywords: Learning Methods, Workforce, Training and Development, Formal Learning.
Abstract: In the modern, ever-changing world, both employers and employees are struggling in keeping their
competitive advantage. Previous studies have recognised that both formal instruction and informal learning
are needed to gain and maintain competence. The famous 70-20-10 model states that only 10 per cent of
learning occurs during the formal instruction. The challenge for the organisations is how the formal instruction
can and should be provided to employees. In this paper, we constructed a model of Workforce Training and
Development (WOTRA), based on the current learning theories, modes, methods, and models. WOTRA can
be used by both employers and employees to choose an adequate mix of learning modes and methods to
achieve their learning goals.
In the modern world, where the speed of change is
higher than ever, employers are struggling in keeping
their employees’ skills current. Similarly, the
employees are concerned about how to gain and
maintain the right competence to remain compelling
in the labour market. The answer to both concerns is
workforce training and development (T&D).
There are three recognised ways to provide T&D:
formal and non-formal instruction, and informal
learning (Commission of the European Communities,
2001). The formal instruction, also known as
traditional instruction, refers to learning typically
occurring during instruction provided by an education
or training institution. Formal instruction is structured
and often aims to certification or a degree. Non-
formal instruction is similar to formal instruction
learning, except that it is not provided by an education
or training institution, and it does not lead to a
certificate or a degree. Learning in both formal and
non-formal instruction is conscious, i.e., intentional.
Informal learning, on the other hand, is not structured:
it means learning from daily life activities related to
work and leisure. As such, it is not instruction per se,
and the learning is not conscious as it “happens”
without intention.
Traditionally, education institutions have
provided education that satisfies the needs of the
labour market. Currently, there is a gap between
formal instruction and the labour market: education
institutions are not able to provide skilled employees
(World Economic Forum, 2017). To narrow this gap,
employers have been forced to rely on non-formal
instruction and informal learning.
Informal learning alone, however, is not sufficient
to develop and maintain competence. Besides the
practical knowledge gain through informal learning,
also the theoretical competence from formal or non-
formal instruction is needed (Svensson, Ellström, and
Åberg, 2004). Theoretical and practical knowledge
together enables learning by reflection which, in turn,
develops the competence as illustrated in Figure 1.
It should be noted that learning at work is not
categorically informal (Billett, 2002). Also formal
and non-formal instruction can be used at work. The
challenge is, how the formal and non-formal
instruction can and should be provided to the
In this paper, we introduce our preliminary model
for workforce training and development (WOTRA).
The model is based on the current learning models,
methods, and modes, as well as on the organisational
learning theories.
Tuomiranta, M., Varpukari, S. and Syynimaa, N.
Toward a Model of Workforce Training and Development.
DOI: 10.5220/0007756104280435
In Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Computer Supported Education (CSEDU 2019), pages 428-435
ISBN: 978-989-758-367-4
2019 by SCITEPRESS Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
Figure 1: Learning by reflection leads to competence
(adapted from Svensson et al., 2004).
In this paper, we follow the Design Science Research
Process (DSRP) approach by Peffers, Tuunanen,
Rothenberger, and Chatterjee (2007) while building
the model. The problem identification and motivation
for the model is to enable formal and non-formal
instruction for the workforce. Our objective is to
allow the workforce to keep their competence current
now and in the future. The results of design and
development are reported in this paper as the
preliminary model. The rest of the phases of the
DSRP approach (i.e. demonstration and evaluation)
are out-of-scope of this paper and are left for future
In the modern information-intensive world, the work
is often performed by self-organised teams (Hoda,
Noble, and Marshall, 2010). In such teams, the
education or title does not define the team members.
Instead, all team members are equal, and their
possible contribution to the team is defined by their
This implies that teams should be formed around
team members’ competences. In order to do this,
employers need to know their employees’
competence. Unfortunately, this is not often the case.
For instance, according to The Global Human Capital
Report (World Economic Forum, 2017), Finland was
number one on the development index in 2017. At the
same time, over 80 per cent of white-collar workers
think that their full capacity is not known by their
superiors (Taloustutkimus, 2017).
While individuals can learn from formal and non-
formal instruction, and by informal learning, the
organisations can only learn from their members (see
Figure 2). The feed-forward learning is a process
where organisation innovates and renews (Crossan et
al., 1999). The feedback learning process is opposite
to this: it reinforces what is already known (ibid.).
Organisational learning is the basis for success
when the knowledge comes more and more important
success factor. Indeed, the knowledge transfer has
been found to be a competitive advantage. However,
the knowledge in databases and information systems
is not enough; it needs to be connected to the right
people for learning to occur (Siemens, 2005). The
functional knowledge transfer is a competitive
advantage only if the knowledge stays inside the
organisation (Argote and Ingram, 2000). The only
situation where knowledge sharing outside the
organisation is regarded as a competitive advantage is
a cluster (regional or industry), where organisations
are learning from each other (Tallman, Jenkins,
Henry, and Pinch, 2004).
As already stated, the knowledge can be a
competitive advantage. But organisational learning is
a sustainable competitive advantage (Hatch and Dyer,
2004). Thus, the focus should be on organisational
learning. Organisations can promote learning by
using appropriate leadership styles. The transactional
leadership style can be used to promote feedback
learning (Vera and Crossan, 2004), which enhances
knowledge transfer and consequently strengthens the
gained competitive advantage. On the other hand, the
transformational leadership style can be used to
promote feed-forward learning (ibid.), which allows
the organisation to learn something new and thus
strengthen the organisation’s sustainable competitive
Resilient organisations are learning organisations
that will maintain the high level of performance even
under external events, pressure, and uncertainties
(Boin and Van Eeten, 2013). The dilemma with
resilient organisations is that in theory, they shouldn’t
work, but in practise they do (LaPorte and Consolini,
Learning by
Formal and
Toward a Model of Workforce Training and Development
Figure 2: Organisational Learning as a Dynamic Process (Crossan, Lane, and White, 1999).
The organisational resiliency is defined as the ability
of the organisation to manifest itself after a surprising
danged, and as the ability of the organisation’s
management to quickly restore the order (Boin and
Van Eeten, 2013).
The building blocks of the resilient organisation
are resilient employees. In psychology, resilience
refers to “effective coping and adaptation although
faced with loss, hardship, or adversity” (Tugade and
Fredrickson, 2004, p. 320). In the work context, the
characteristics of the resilient employee are présence
d`esprit (calm, innovative, non-dogmatic thinking),
decisive action, tenacity, interpersonal
connectedness, honesty, self-control, and optimism
and positive perspective on life (Everly, McCormack,
and Strouse, 2012). All these characteristics are
learnable, so employees should thrive to learn these
to become and remain resilient.
4 70-20-10 MODEL
During the last decade, the 70-20-10 model has
received a lot of attention in organisations. It refers to
the division of where and how employees learn
(Kajewski and Madsen, 2012):
70% informal, on the job, experience-based,
stretch projects and practice.
20% coaching, mentoring, developing through
10% formal learning interventions and
structured courses.
The model originates from a survey by Lombardo
and Eichinger (1996), where they studied
organisations’ top-management learning habits. The
model as such is not scientifically proven, but it is
arguably the most used model to explain how
employees learn in practice. The model combines
formal and non-formal instruction together with
informal learning. Thus, from theoretical point-of-
view, it can be used to develop employees’
Individual Group Organisational
Feed forward
CSEDU 2019 - 11th International Conference on Computer Supported Education
In the context of work life, lifelong learning means
that learning continues throughout employees career.
In this section, we will introduce some key concepts
related to lifelong learning.
Meta-skills are high-order skills required by other
skills. Ability to learn is the most important meta-
skill. The current leading learning theories, namely
behaviourism, cognitivism, and constructivism, are
interested in the learning process. However, these
theories are not interested in whether the learning is
valuable (Siemens, 2005). It has been argued, that
connectivism would be more suitable for explaining
the modern way of learning (Siemens, 2005).
Connectivism has been criticised in that it is not a
learning theory, but a pedagogical view (Duke,
Harper, and Johnston, 2013). Still, it is recognised
that understanding what is valuable to learn is
important (ibid.).
According to The Global Human Capital Report
(World Economic Forum, 2017), regardless of the
job, industry, education background or country, there
are two skills that are needed in the workplaces.
These skills are interpersonal skills and basic
technological skills.
6.1 Authentic Learning
Authentic learning refers to learning occurring during
formal and non-formal education, where the learning
setting is as authentic as possible. It covers things like
authentic real-world tasks and problems, and
simulations closely related to the studied field
(Nicaise, Gibney, and Crane, 2000). As such,
authentic learning provides elements from informal
learning to formal and non-formal instruction.
6.2 Problem-based Learning
Problem-based learning is similar to authentic
learning, as students are provided with an opportunity
to solve problems similar to what can be found in real-
life (Gallagher, Stepien, and Rosenthal, 1992). The
difference is that learning occurs by solving the
problems which are typically ill-structured. This
means that one or more problem elements are
unknown, they have unclear goals and unstated
constraints, possess multiple solutions, solution
paths, or no solutions at all, offer no general rules or
principles for describing or predicting most of the
cases and, require learners to make judgments about
the problem and defend them (Jonassen, 1997).
6.3 Flipped Learning
Flipped learning originates from flipped classroom,
where asynchronous videos and practice homework
were used together with active group-based solving in
the classroom (Bishop and Verleger, 2013).
Currently, flipped learning is seen as a learning-
centred approach where the teacher or educator
constantly evaluates the best way to use the class time
(Nederveld and Berge, 2015). As such, the very basic
and background information is provided outside the
class room using videos and other similar material.
All students are involved in the learning process, so
passive learning doesn’t exist in flipped learning
6.4 Accelerated Learning
Accelerated learning programs are structured so that
students take less time to complete them than the
conventional training (Wlodkowski, 2003). It can be
defined as a total system for speeding and enhancing
both the design process and the learning processes
(The Center For Accelerated Learning, 2019).
Accelerated learning is ideal to the situations where
employees need to develop a totally new competence
in a relatively short period of time (weeks or months)
if compared to traditional vocational and university-
level education (years). However, if compared to
courses provided by commercial training
organisations (1-5 days), accelerated learning
requires much more time and commitment.
6.5 Micro-learning
Micro-learning (ML) combines micro-content
delivery with a sequence of micro-interactions which
enable users to learn without information overload
(Bruck, Motiwalla, and Foerster, 2012). Typically,
micro-learning takes only a couple of minutes at a
time. Micro-learning has found to be suitable for
professional development (Buchem and Hamelmann,
2010). Thus, it can be regarded as a pragmatic
solution for lifelong learning at work.
Toward a Model of Workforce Training and Development
7.1 Instructor-led Training
Instructor-led training (ILT) is known as a
“traditional” mode of formal and non-formal
instruction, where the instructor has prepared a
structured learning experience. ILT is best suited to a
situation, where there is a need to study a totally new
If an instruction takes place face-to-face in
classrooms or at the workplace, instructors are able to
assess the learning constantly and change learning
methods as needed. The downside of face-to-face ILT
is that it requires a great amount of time from both
instructors and students.
7.2 Self-study
Self-study is a learning mode where students learn on
their own phase, without an instructor. The learning
material can be digital, such as videos and personal
learning environments, or more traditional, such as
books or practical work. Self-study can be structural,
with defined learning objectives, or free-form, where
students study without specific learning objectives.
Self-study is ideal for the situations where
learning is not time-bound, such as keeping the skills
7.3 Blended Learning
Blended learning is a formal or non-formal
instruction mode which combines instructional
delivery media, instructional methods, and combines
online and face-to-face training (Graham, 2006). As
such, it can be a combination of ILT and self-study.
Blended-learning is ideal for the situation where
some degree of ILT is required. It is less time-
consuming than pure ILT but more time-bound than
pure self-study.
8.1 Preliminary Model
In this paper, we have introduced multiple learning
modes and methods. Each model and method is
suitable only for a limited number of learning
settings. Therefore, we propose the following model,
illustrated in Figure 3.
First, the learning goals should be defined. That
is, why and what to learn. Second, after defining the
learning goals, the suitable learning mode can be
chosen. Third, after the learning mode is chosen, the
suitable learning method or methods can be chosen.
As a result, the combination of learning goals, modes,
and methods together forms the best way to learn.
Figure 3: Model of Workforce Training and Development
8.2 Learning Goals
We have defined learning goals for the three
identified situations where employees require T&D.
The first situation is where an employee needs to keep
their professional skills current. The second one is
where the employee needs to keep their modern
workplace skills current. The third one is where the
employee needs to develop a totally new competence.
In the next sub-sections, we assess how different
learning methods and modes fit each of these learning
8.3 Keeping Professional Skills
The fit of learning methods and modes for keeping
professional skills current are assessed in Table 1. As
the professional skills are likely to be relatively
complex to learn, the ILT and blended-learning
modes have the highest fit. In some cases, self-study
is justified but is assessed here as medium. This is
because without an instructor, assessing the learning
can be very difficult, if not impossible.
1: Learning
2: Learning
Best way
to learn
3: Learning
CSEDU 2019 - 11th International Conference on Computer Supported Education
Table 1: Fit of learning methods and modes for keeping
professional skills current.
Instructor-led training
Authentic learning
Problem-based learning
Flipped learning
Accelerated learning
From the learning methods, authentic, problem-
based, and flipped learning was assessed as the
highest fit. This because, as already mentioned,
professional skills can be complex and should be
learned in as authentic setting as possible. Flipped
learning helps to focus the face-to-face instruction to
the most challenging subjects.
Accelerated learning is too time-consuming for
just keeping the skills current. Micro-learning might
be too “light” way to keep the skills current but is
justifiable in learning simple skills.
8.4 Keeping Modern Workplace Skills
The fit of learning methods and modes for keeping
modern workplace skills current are assessed in Table
2. The modern workplace skills are not as complex as
professional skills. Therefore, self-study and
blended-learning modes were assessed as the highest
fit. ILT is too time-consuming but is justified in some
Table 2: Fit of learning methods and modes for keeping
modern workplace skills current.
Instructor-led training
Authentic learning
Problem-based learning
Flipped learning
Accelerated learning
From learning methods, flipped and micro-
learning was assessed as highest fit. This is because
modern workplace skills are simpler than
professional skills, so these “lighter” methods are the
most adequate.
8.5 Developing a New Competence
The fit of learning methods and modes for developing
a new competence are assessed in Table 3. As
developing a new competence is the most complex
type of learning, ILT mode was assessed as the
highest fit. Self-study is too “light” mode to this, but
blended-learning might work in some settings.
Table 3: Fit of learning methods and modes for developing
a new competence.
Instructor-led training
Authentic learning
Problem-based learning
Flipped learning
Accelerated learning
From the learning methods, only the accelerated
learning was assessed as high fit. Authentic and
problem-based learning may be suitable for some
settings but are less intensive methods.
In this paper, we introduced a preliminary model of
Workforce Training and Development (WOTRA).
The model is based on the literature of current
learning theories, modes, methods, and models.
9.1 Limitations
According to the DSRP approach, all resulting
artefacts, such as WOTRA model, should be
accordingly validated. During the course of writing
this paper, this was not possible due to the tight
9.2 Contributions to Practice
The WOTRA model helps both employers and
employees to choose the adequate mix of learning
modes and methods.
Toward a Model of Workforce Training and Development
9.3 Contributions to Science
Our preliminary WOTRA model is the first step
toward creating a model for workplace training and
development. As such, it is a starting point to foster
the scientific discussion related to this important area.
9.4 Directions for Future Research
The WOTRA model should next to be validated by
carefully studying organisations of different sizes and
Argote, L., and Ingram, P. (2000). Knowledge transfer: A
basis for competitive advantage in firms.
Organizational behavior and human decision
processes, 82(1), 150-169.
Billett, S. (2002). Critiquing workplace learning discourses:
Participation and continuity at work. Studies in the
Education of Adults, 34(1), 56-67.
Bishop, J. L., and Verleger, M. A. (2013). The flipped
classroom: A survey of the research. Paper presented at
the ASEE national conference proceedings, Atlanta,
Boin, A., and Van Eeten, M. J. (2013). The resilient
organization. Public Management Review, 15(3), 429-
Bruck, P. A., Motiwalla, L., and Foerster, F. (2012). Mobile
Learning with Micro-content: A Framework and
Evaluation. Bled eConference, 25.
Buchem, I., and Hamelmann, H. (2010). Microlearning: a
strategy for ongoing professional development.
eLearning Papers, 21(7), 1-15.
Commission of the European Communities. (2001).
Making a European area of lifelong learning a reality.
Communication from the Commission. COM (2001)
678 final, 21 November 2001.
Crossan, M. M., Lane, H. W., and White, R. E. (1999). An
organizational learning framework: from intuition to
institution. Academy of Management Review, 522-537.
Duke, B., Harper, G., and Johnston, M. (2013).
Connectivism as a Digital Age Learning Theory. In K.
Petrova, S. Lorraine, S. Tegginmath, and B. Todhunter
(Eds.), The International HETL Review. Special Issue.
(pp. 4-13). New York: The International HETL
Everly, G., McCormack, D., and Strouse, D. (2012). Seven
Characteristics of Highly Resilient People: Insights
from Navy SEALs to the 'Greatest Generation'.
International Journal of Emergency Mental Health,
14(2), 137-143.
Gallagher, S. A., Stepien, W. J., and Rosenthal, H. (1992).
The effects of problem-based learning on problem
solving. Gifted Child Quarterly, 36(4), 195-200.
Graham, C. R. (2006). Blended learning systems. In C. J.
Bonk and C. R. Graham (Eds.), The handbook of
blended learning (pp. 3-21): John Wiley & Sons.
Hatch, N. W., and Dyer, J. H. (2004). Human capital and
learning as a source of sustainable competitive
advantage. Strategic Management Journal, 25(12),
Hoda, R., Noble, J., and Marshall, S. (2010, 2-8 May 2010).
Organizing self-organizing teams. Paper presented at
the 2010 ACM/IEEE 32nd International Conference on
Software Engineering.
Jonassen, D. H. (1997). Instructional design models for
well-structured and III-structured problem-solving
learning outcomes. Educational technology research
and development, 45(1), 65-94.
Kajewski, K., and Madsen, V. (2012). Demystifying
70:20:10 White Paper. Melbourne: DeakinPrime.
LaPorte, T. R., and Consolini, P. M. (1991). Working in
Practice but Not in Theory: Theoretical Challenges of
"High-Reliability Organizations". Journal of Public
Administration Research and Theory: J-PART, 1(1),
Lombardo, M. M., and Eichinger, R. W. (1996). The Career
Architect Development Planner. Minneapolis:
Nederveld, A., and Berge, Z. L. (2015). Flipped learning in
the workplace. Journal of Workplace Learning, 27(2),
Nicaise, M., Gibney, T., and Crane, M. (2000). Toward an
Understanding of Authentic Learning: Student
Perceptions of an Authentic Classroom. Journal of
Science Education and Technology, 9(1), 79-94.
Peffers, K., Tuunanen, T., Rothenberger, M. A., and
Chatterjee, S. (2007). A Design Science Research
Methodology for Information Systems Research.
Journal of management information systems, 45-77.
Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for
the digital age. International journal of Instructional
Technology & Distance Learning, 2(1).
Svensson, L., Ellström, P. E., and Åberg, C. (2004).
Integrating formal and informal learning at work.
Journal of Workplace Learning, 16(8), 479-491.
Tallman, S., Jenkins, M., Henry, N., and Pinch, S. (2004).
Knowledge, clusters, and competitive advantage.
Academy of Management Review, 29(2), 258-271.
Taloustutkimus. (2017). Made By Finland campaign -
Final report Retrieved from
The Center For Accelerated Learning. (2019). What is
accelerated learning? Retrieved from
Tugade, M. M., and Fredrickson, B. L. (2004). Resilient
individuals use positive emotions to bounce back from
negative emotional experiences. Journal of personality
and social psychology, 86(2), 320.
CSEDU 2019 - 11th International Conference on Computer Supported Education
Vera, D., and Crossan, M. (2004). Strategic Leadership and
Organizational Learning. The Academy of Management
Review, 29(2), 222-240. doi:10.2307/20159030
Wlodkowski, R. J. (2003). Accelerated learning in colleges
and universities. New Directions for Adult and
Continuing Education, 2003(97), 5-16.
World Economic Forum. (2017). The Global Human
Capital Report 2017. Retrieved from
Toward a Model of Workforce Training and Development