The Differences between the Human Resource Discipline and Instructional Design Discipline that Hiring Managers don’t even understand!

square-peg1In a blog written by Discipline2Develop

The “blogger” takes a closer look at the differences of someone who is employed in the Human Resources field Vs someone who is employed in the Training and Development field in particular Instructional Development. Interestingly enough however a lot of times these positions are “lumped” into the same grouping which according to this “blogger” is a complete disservice to those in the Human Resources field and those that are in the Training and Development field.  Interestingly enough when you go out to look on say Career Builder and search in the three states that were of focus (OK, TX, and KS) there were 13 openings for HR managers, 8 openings for an HR Generalist and one opening for a Training and Development most are for entry-level sales and customer service positions. Most of those positions required no less than a Bachelor’s degree and most required a Master in the field of instructional design, and in some cases an additional degree in HR or Organizational Development.

There are clear-cut differences in Training and Development and HR unfortunately even today employers aren’t certain of this distinction. Training Development professionals focus on improving performance of individuals, and developing a wide range of topics, most importantly technical training, and training on processes, improvement and safety.

T&D professionals study:  Adult Learning Theory, Fundamentals of Training, Knowledge Management; most of these courses are centered more around improving the performance; where Human Resource training focuses more on the hiring process, people as human capital, working conditions etc. Even the courses being offered in these areas of study vary significantly. The bottom line hiring professionals, managers are not nearly as knowledgeable on the benefits and differences of a Training and Developer as they focus solely on the learner and not on the reactionary factor at hand; where the Human Resource professional is concerned about the challenge and how to “fix it” to meet the needs of the Company first and then the employee.

In the second blog by THE JOURNAL entitled Hybrid Classes Outlearn Traditional Classes

The author Dian Schaffhauser, begins looking at the outcomes of students in hybrid classrooms; and what was found by the author was incredibly “shocking” to me. The outcomes of performance by peers in a traditional class in all grades and subjects vs. those peers in a hybrid classroom actually reported higher academic performance on standardized tests within the same school district or state benchmarks.  The institute which is made up of a group of teachers, administrators and subject matter experts assists educators in utilizing personalized learning tools and techniques to improve academic performance. The work started in Pennsylvania and has since expanded into other states, focus is centered around inter-district support infrastructure to help schools plan, launch and deliver hybrid instruction and to continuously make improvements based on data analysis.

The hybrid learning model is interesting in that I notice similarities with a hands on approach or Kinesthetic, visual and auditory all three of the senses are engaged by utilizing the direction of teachers and instruction, group activities and self-instruction through digital content and has six “defining characteristics”

  • Blended classroom settings
  • Rotation of students among different learning stations
  • Instruction delivery within small groups
  • Frequent digital assessments
  • Utilization of students various information to differentiate instruction
  • Personalized learning Bottom Line: “cost effective”

Such learning would be considered modest as learning costs go, in that the average cost spent on average was $220 per student.

The final blog that I want to discuss is one that was posted by Stephanie Taitano eLearning Professional.

Taitano, discusses the idea of supporting Engagement via Social Media Channels; she simply takes the stance that if we are supporting the success of online engagement in a classroom that all faculty should also be in support. Taitano, begins her blog by taking a closer look at Twitter and her vision of how that might work in a classroom or educational scenario, she suggests having a centralized Twitter account managed by the Office of Distance Education where all the online University students in this case from Chester University could potentially connect with one another and where the hashtags could be utilized to focus communication within course groups only.

After reading all three of these blogs, I began thinking about what similarities each of these blogs have in common. It really comes down to the ideas that were expressed in the first blog by Discipline2Develop; it is vitally important for there to be an understanding of the differences in Human Resources or any other Human Relations, Education position compared to Instructional Design; it is important for numerous reasons just as each of these blogs themes addresses.

In the initial blog by Discipline2Develop the comparison of Human Resource professions versus the Instructional Design professions was the main focus the “blogger” looked at the curriculum being offered to college students in each of those disciplines which could not be more different from the other and the importance of employers and the community as a whole understanding the very vital differences in fact the “blogger” compared these differences to fitting a “round peg” into a “square hole” so why is this so important when you are dealing in the area of change? There are certain skills that only someone in the area of instructional design can understand, these individuals are skilled in the areas of improvement and working in a proactive arena where as human resource professionals are focusing on “fixing” the problem and in a much more reactionary mode. Instructional Designers are also more versed and skilled in the area of media relations and technology when it comes to designing curriculum and instruction than human resource professionals.

the second “blogger Dian Schaffhauser from THE JOURNAL entitled Hybrid Classes Outlearn Traditional Classes points out; there are various learning techniques that one must be aware of and understanding the various learning techniques, styles and overall learning methods of each learner.

This is important when looking at a program for learning and the overall success of the programs instruction and the effectiveness of the program for each learner. In the field of Human Resource the various learning styles of each learner and the effectiveness of the program are not as focused as it is more about the information being disseminated than it is about the information being understood and processed, once again it is about reacting to the issue at hand. This is generally done in a much larger forum in one particular style, generally face to face with the utilization of slides or some sort of visual medium and a speaker.

The final blog by Stephanie Taitano eLearning Professional. The focus once again is on a different form of learning medium to include social media and the benefits of such. The resounding theme in each of these blogs comes down to the importance of utilizing various techniques and mediums to get the message across with the main focus on the learner and the style that best suits their learning styles, which brings me back to my original point of the importance of knowing the difference between someone working in the area or hiring in the area of the Human Resources field and the area of Instructional Design; they cannot and should not be lumped into the same category as each other as the skill set for each profession as well as the very task of each profession could not be more different.

As a result of this misunderstanding there is a great disservice to the company and their needs as well as the employees and their needs, you are also placing individuals with minimal skill set in the areas of human resource and instructional design which is no different from the example of placing a retail manager into the role of a medical professional; you have placed an individual with no appropriate training or skills set in the area of either but expect results.  Professionals must understand the very difference in the areas of Human Resource and Instructional Design otherwise the outcome will continue to be the same and the importance of each will be missed with overall disservice to the company and the employees.


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