Learning and Development Case Study of Motorola



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Motorola is a multinational telecommunications company that operates in over 160 countries. The company has been in operation for more than 90 years and has built a reputation for innovation and quality. Motorola has a strong focus on employee development and has implemented various approaches to learning and development over the years. This essay will critically examine the approaches to learning and development at Motorola and suggest improvements where necessary.

Approaches to Learning and Development 

The systematic approach to L&D (Learning and Development) involves a process that consists of several components, including identifying needs, developing strategies, delivering training, evaluating effectiveness, and adapting the process as needed. The underlying theory of the approach is based on adult learning theory, which suggests that adult learners are self-directed and motivated to learn when the training is relevant and immediately applicable to their jobs (Bratton and Gold 2017). Additionally, the approach is based on the principles of instructional design, which involves the creation of training materials that are effective in promoting learning.

In the case study, Motorola realized the need to update its training program to keep up with changes in technology and competition. The HR department conducted a corporate-wide study and found that many employees lacked basic skills, such as arithmetic calculations and understanding product instructions (Chen and Crossman 2017). As a result, Motorola revamped its training program to include two levels of training: fundamental training to teach basic skills, and development training to introduce new concepts of work, quality, community learning, and leadership. The new approach encouraged workers to think critically, understand their equipment, and troubleshoot problems.

Motorola's approach to learning and development can be identified as a systematic and continuous process that has been ingrained in the company's culture since its inception. The company recognized the importance of training its employees early on, and this focus on employee education and development has been consistently implemented and refined over the years (Dowling, Festing, and Engle 2017). The company's approach has evolved from technical product training to a more comprehensive approach that includes not only technical skills but also soft skills, leadership development, and diversity and inclusion training.

One of the key strengths of Motorola's approach to learning and development is its commitment to continuous improvement. The company's training initiatives are regularly evaluated and updated to ensure that they remain relevant and effective. The establishment of the Motorola Training and Education Center in 1973, later elevated to a university in 1989, is an example of this commitment to continuous improvement (Kramar 2017). The center was designed to provide employees with a wide range of training programs, including technical and managerial courses, and it served as a hub for the development of new training techniques and technologies. Another strength of Motorola's approach is its focus on employee empowerment.

The company recognizes that employees are its greatest asset and that investing in their development not only benefits the individual but also the company (Saks et al. 2018). The learning and development strategy used by Motorola equips staff members with the abilities and information necessary to contribute to the success of the business and grow in their careers (Macey et al. 2017). This focus on employee empowerment has contributed to the establishment of a learning and development culture that is interwoven into the very fabric of the business.

Motorola's approach to learning and development may be enhanced in several areas, though. Although the company's emphasis on continual development is admirable, there is a danger that it may rely too heavily on training to address performance issues. It is crucial to understand that employee performance may be affected by a variety of factors, including organizational culture and management procedures, and that training is only one component of the answer. Additionally, while the company has made strides in diversity and inclusion training, there is always room for improvement in this area.

While there are areas where improvements could be made, Motorola's approach serves as an excellent example for other companies to follow (Noe et al. 2017). To evaluate the effectiveness of the learning and development approaches in Motorola, the following theoretical frameworks and concepts will be used: the Kirkpatrick model of training evaluation, the ADDIE model of instructional design, and the concept of transfer of learning. The Kirkpatrick model is widely used to evaluate the effectiveness of training programs. The model comprises four levels: reaction, learning, behavior, and results (Gupta 2018). Five steps make up the ADDIE model, a methodical approach to instructional design: analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation.

Identification of the needed learning and the targeted learning outcomes are part of the analysis step (Davenport, Harris, and Shapiro 2018). The creation of instructional techniques and material occurs during the design phase. The development phase entails the creation of instructional materials. The training program must be delivered during the implementation phase. Lastly, the success of the training program is evaluated at the assessment step. The idea of learning transfer relates to how much information and abilities are used in the workplace by participants. The resemblance between the training setting and the employment context, the trainee's motivation, and self-efficacy are some of the aspects that affect the transfer of learning.

Critical Analysis 

The case study on Motorola highlights the company's long-standing commitment to training and development, which has been a key factor in the company's success. Motorola's training initiatives began in 1928, with a focus on technical product training, and have evolved over the years to include a wide range of programs that have improved employee productivity and the quality of the company's products. One of the strengths of Motorola's approach to training and development is its focus on practical, job-related skills.

The company has recognized the importance of providing employees with the skills and knowledge they need to perform their jobs effectively and has developed training programs that are tailored to specific job roles and functions. This has allowed Motorola to develop a highly skilled workforce that can adapt to changing technologies and business environments. Another strength of Motorola's approach is its focus on continuous learning and development.

The company has recognized that training is not a one-time event, but rather an ongoing process that requires constant attention and investment. As a result, Motorola has established a range of programs and initiatives aimed at promoting continuous learning and development among its employees, including mentoring programs, on-the-job training, and e-learning opportunities.

Despite these strengths, there are also areas in which Motorola's training and development approach could be improved. One of the key areas for improvement is in the evaluation of training effectiveness. While Motorola has a strong focus on training and development, it is not clear how the company measures the effectiveness of its training programs (Pilbeam and Corbridge 2018).

This makes it difficult to determine whether the company's training initiatives are truly contributing to improved productivity and quality. Another area for improvement is in the alignment of training and development initiatives with the company's overall business strategy.

While Motorola has a long history of providing training to its employees, it is not clear how these initiatives are linked to the company's broader business goals and objectives. Without a clear alignment between training and development initiatives and business strategy, there is a risk that training efforts may not be effectively targeted or may not be delivering the desired results.

Priority Issues 

  • Alignment of L&D with business goals: The L&D program in Motorola needs to be aligned with the organization's strategic goals to ensure that employees are equipped with the knowledge and skills required to achieve these goals.
  • Transfer of learning: Motorola needs to improve the transfer of learning from the training program to the job. This can be achieved by ensuring that the training program is relevant to the job requirements, providing job aids and support, and creating a culture that values and rewards the application of learned knowledge and skills.
  • Evaluation of L&D effectiveness: Motorola needs to improve its evaluation of the effectiveness of the L&D program. This can be achieved by using the Kirkpatrick model to measure the effectiveness of the program at all levels, from reaction to results, and by using the data obtained from the evaluation to improve the program continuously.


Incorporating more interactive and technology-based learning methods

Motorola could introduce more interactive and technology-based learning methods, such as simulations, gamification, and e-learning modules. These methods could help to make training more engaging and interesting for employees, while also providing more flexibility for learning.

Providing more opportunities for on-the-job training

To address the issue of a lack of practical training, Motorola could provide more opportunities for on-the-job training, where employees can apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired in real-life scenarios. This could include job rotations, apprenticeships, or shadowing programs.

Implementing a more comprehensive evaluation system

Motorola could implement a more comprehensive evaluation system to measure the effectiveness of its training programs. This could involve conducting pre-and post-training assessments, collecting feedback from employees and managers, and using data analytics to measure the impact of training on employee performance and business outcomes.


In conclusion, the case study of Motorola highlights the importance of investing in learning and development initiatives for employees. The company's early focus on technical product training and later expansion into broader employee education and development programs have been instrumental in improving employee productivity and product quality. The Motorola Training and Education Center's establishment and eventual elevation to university status further demonstrate the company's commitment to training its employees. However, as discussed in the critical analysis, there are still areas for improvement, such as incorporating more diverse and inclusive training practices, addressing the potential lack of alignment between training and business strategy, and improving the evaluation and measurement of training effectiveness. By implementing these solutions, Motorola can continue to build upon its strong foundation of employee learning and development and remain a leader in the industry.


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Saks, A.M., Haccoun, R.R. and Belcourt, M., 2018. Managing performance through training and development. Nelson Education.