situational learning theory & human resource development

Considering the analysis of the situational learning theory presented by the various scholars above, it is apparent that there are certain weaknesses in the situational learning that are brought out by the various scholars in their works. One of the criticisms of the situational learning theories is seen in the works of Noe, Clarke ad Klein. Here, these authors point out to the fact that the current theory of situational learning as it is, lacks theoretical grounding and constructs to describe the various kinds of social learning. Cacciattolo Karen also criticizes the theory in her work. She states that the theory lacks in-depth by failing to take into consideration concepts such as politics, comradeship and the form of a community, all of which greatly impact on the workplace learning. Also, she highlights that the theory fails since it fails to provide attention on the development of knowledge within communities of practice during the times of change in organizations, and also failing to consider all the levels of innovation offered by communities, as well as the structure actions within. Another weakness of the situational learning theory has been that it fails to explain how learning takes place in varying situations, hence leading to more research to try and identify more theories of situational learning. Moreover, some scholars have argued that the theory as it is, fails to take into consideration the power of technology, as an important too, of social learning in the modern workplace.

Enhancing Situational Learning in Organizations

The paper has analyzed the situational learning in organizations and their relationship with the HRD by examining the works of various scholars. From the research work above, it is evident that situational learning is key in organizations today and has the potential to improve the human resource development function. The managers are central in ensuring they promote effective avenues for situational learning to take place. There are various ways to improve situational learning in organizations. To begin with, managers should invest in coaching and mentoring. It is paramount that employee’s feel fully supported, and that they have someone to look up to when they have questions or concerns in the learning process. The managers should provide candid feedback, and be open to hearing any issues or problems the employees might encounter during their training sessions.

Besides, the managers should allow opportunities for collaboration in the workplace, as employees retain information best after reaching it to their colleagues. Regarding this aspect, the managers should create time for the employees to mingle and share, for example, long lunch breaks, as well as tea and coffee breaks. These avenues provide the employees with humble time to discuss the training sessions among themselves, hence cultivating great team spirit. Moreover, the managers should encourage networking in their organizations among different levels of employees. Further, they should adopt cohort-based training, where the employees hold each other accountable and model one another as they implement what they have learned. Additionally, the manager should provide online resources that have been proved effective in building momentum as well as keeping conversations alive in organizations. Finally, organizations should assign accountability partners to help employees nudge each other to apply what they have learned and changed their behaviour.


The paper has brought into perspective the situational learning theory and how it impacts human resource development today. Human Resource Development is a key aim of any organization today since it has a direct influence on the performance of organizations. Employees in organizations are always learning either through formal or informal means, and the situational theory is one of the best theories on how learning occurs in the current workplace. The theory is significant and has overtaken the traditional theories of learning such as the cognitive theories which have been noted to have various limitations. The underlying argument in the situation learning theory is that learning occurs by participating in social groups. As one continues to be part of these groups, they leverage the benefits of the communities of practice formed in these social groups. Among these benefits include learning from one another, consulting form mentors and instructors, learning about the organizational culture, and also being forced to be better to fit in the social group. Although the situational learning theories has many potential benefits in the human resource development function, it also has some weaknesses that need to be addressed as revealed in this paper. To begin with, it has been established the theory is devoid of theoretical grounding and constructs to describe the various kinds of social learning. Besides, the theory lacks in-depth by failing to take into consideration concepts such as politics, comradeship and the form of a community, all of which greatly impact on the workplace learning. Also, it fails since it fails to provide attention on the development of knowledge within communities of practice during the times of change in organizations, and also failing to consider all the levels of innovation offered by communities, as well as the structure actions within. The situational learning theory has great potential to improve the HRD in organizations and should be embraced by every manager. These weaknesses in the theory must be addressed to make it more effective and reliable as a tool of learning in the present workplace environment.


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