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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Introduction - Learning and Ability

Learning refers to a process that enhances the knowledge, skill and attitude (KSA) of individuals, to increase person‟s willingness to adopt those newly acquired KSA and to implement them at the workplace. Such learning should be sustainable and comparatively stable for people and for the institutions that serves people. Learning definitely includes academic studies and occupational training through high school and beyond. But it also encompasses the physical, cognitive, emotional and social development of children in the earliest years of their lives.

Munn N.L – "Learning is the process of having one's behavior modified, more or less permanently, by what he does and the consequences of his action, or by what he observes." (1955)

Learning can be defined as “any relatively permanent change in behavior that occurs as a result of experience” (Robbins, 2003).

Following are the characteristics of learning:

1. First, learning involves change.
2. Second, the change must be relatively permanent.
3. Third, learning is concerned with behavior.
4. Finally, some form of experience is necessary for learning

Ability is an Individual's capacity to perform the various tasks in a job. Ability reflects a persons existing capacity to perform the various tasks needed for a given job and includes both relevant knowledge and skills (Cummings & Schwab, 1973). Aptitude represents a persons capability of learning something. In other words, aptitudes are potential abilities, whereas abilities are the knowledge and skills that an individual currently possesses. Managers need to consider both ability and aptitude while selecting candidates for a job. Various tests used to measure mental aptitudes and abilities. Some of these provide an overall intelligent quotient (IQ) score (e.g., the Stanford – Binet IQ Test). Others provide measures of more specific competencies that are required of people entering various educational programs or career fields. Such tests are designed to facilitate the screening and selection of applicants for educational programs or jobs. In addition to mental aptitudes and abilities, some jobs, such as, firefighters and police, require tests for physical abilities. Muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance are two among the many physical ability dimensions (Hogan, 1991). There must be a fit between specific aptitudes and abilities and job requirements. If you want to be a surgeon, for instance, and cannot demonstrate good hand – eye coordination, there will not be a good ability – job fit. Such a fit is so important that it forms a core concept in managing human resources.

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