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Introducing the training cycle

In this article Dr El Parker introduces the training cycle.
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
In order to achieve effective training, a series of steps might be followed.
In the 1970s, Boydell (1970) introduced ‘systematic training in 10 steps’ this being later adapted into the more commonly known training cycle (Buckley and Caple 1995, 2009).
The training cycle has been described as a systematic approach to training. In the training cycle the emphasis is not purely on a training event itself but also on the planning and review stages. It is systematic, meaning a logical sequence of steps or activities. The diagram below shows the main elements of the training cycle. We will look at each of these in more detail in the forthcoming sections. For now, let’s consider the cycle as a representation of a good practice process.
Cyclical diagram showing how the systematic training cycle starts with investigation of training needs then to design of training then conduct of training then to assessment of training effectiveness before beginning again.
(Buckley and Caple 2009)
Traditionally, the cycle starts with the assessment of training needs, whether training is needed and what needs to be trained in the context under consideration. Once the training needs are identified a suitable method of training can be planned and designed. The third element is the training delivery and finally the effectiveness of the training should be assessed and those findings integrated into an overall evaluation and review process that will allow improvements in training to be made.
Delivering training that is poorly planned or that does not have a clearly identified need will not meet the needs of the individual, the organisation or be an effective use of resources.
Importantly, failing to assess and evaluate the impact of training means the benefits cannot be identified and we cannot know whether the training is having the impact required. Without an evaluation process training quality cannot be assured and appropriate improvements cannot be made to maintain standards.
The cycle appears suited to the development of individual training events or short programs; however it can be applied at a more strategic level and we will look at the assessment of organisational level training needs and the design of training strategy in more detail later.
This model has remained popular since its introduction in the 1960s and forms the basis of many organisations’ approach to training and development. However several authors (Kenney and Reid 1986) have suggested that a more sophisticated model is required in today’s complex organisational environment.

Your task

Consider the training cycle.
In your opinion is training a systematic process?
What might be some of the limitations of the training cycle?


Boydell, T. H. (1970). A Guide to Job Analysis. London: British Association for Commercial and Industrial Education
Buckley, R., & Caple, J. (1995). The Training and Development Audit Evolves: Is Your Training and Development Budget Wasted. Journal of European Industrial Training, 20(5), 68-79.
Buckley, R., & Caple, J. (2009). The Theory and Practice of Training. London: Kogan Page Publishers
Kenney, J., & Reid, M. (1986). Training Interventions. London: Institute of Personnel Management
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
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