The Science of Workplace Instruction: Learning and Development Applied to Work


Learning is the engagement in mental processes resulting in the acquisition and retention of knowledge, skills, and/or affect over time and applied when needed. Building on this definition, we integrate the science of training and the science of learning to propose a new science of workplace instruction, linking the design of instructional events to instructional outcomes such as transfer and job performance through the mediating effects of learner events and learning outcomes. We propose three foundational elements: The learner, instructional principles, and training delivery (methods and media). Understanding and applying instructional principles are the primary methods for enhancing training effectiveness; thus, we detail 15 empirically supported principles. We then discuss the erroneous pursuit of aptitude-by-Treatment interactions under the guise of learner styles and age-specific instruction. Finally, we offer suggestions for future research that draw on the foundation of instructional principles to optimize self-directed learning and learning in synthetic learning environments.

Publication Title

Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior