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Ronald L. Jacobs, Ph.D. wrote the book on “Structured On-the-Job Training” – literally.


SiTUATE is led by Ronald L. Jacobs, Ph.D., who is widely recognized for his scholarly research and development contributions that address a range of topics in human resource development. Ron is particularly known for introducing structured on-the-job training (S-OJT) to the HRD community in 1987.  His book “Structured On-the-Job Training: Unleashing Employee Expertise in the Workplace” has become the standard guide to help organizations and nations implement this training approach.  Ron’s most recent book, “Work Analysis in the Knowledge Economy: Documenting What People Do in the Workplace for Human Resource Development,” is based on over 30 years of research and practice, and has again become the foremost resource on this important topic. He has received many honors and accolades for his work, including being inducted in two professional halls of fame. Now, Ron will now use his recognized expertise in human resource development to introduce SiTUATE to the world.

When Ron first introduced structured on-the-job training in the 1980s. S-OJT featured planned, face-to-face interactions between a trainer and trainee.  Today, the rapidly-changing nature of work and the workplace require a new approach to the most effective training approach ever, all the while maintaining the key elements that has made S-OJT one of the most frequently used training approaches in organizations globally. His book has been translated into Chinese-complex, Chinese-simplified, Korean, and Arabic. 

As a professor of human resource development, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an emeritus professor at the Ohio State University, Ron has been responsible for the graduate training of over 300 HRD professionals around the world. More than 30 of his Ph.D. graduates now teach HRD and HRM-related subjects in universities globally. Ron has also been an invited professor at numerous international universities, including the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands; he was the Shaw Distinguished Professor of Human Resource Management at Nanyang University, Singapore; and, distinguished professor of education at Huazhong University in Wuhan, China.

Ron has extensive consulting experience in global organizations and government agencies, including General Motors, KLM Airlines, Abbott Laboratories, Kenworth Trucks, Seagate, Morton Salt, Rohm and Haas, Kuwait National Petroleum Company, Biomet, Honda, Hyundai Motors, and Huawei Telecommunications, among others.  Ron designed and helped implement an extensive development system featuring the use of S-OJT for new-hire engineers for the Kuwait National Petroleum Company. Ron’s work on S-OJT has influenced national policy makers in Singapore, which in 1997 implemented the OJT 2000 initiative through its Productivity Standards Board and the Institute for Technical Education. Ron’s work has also influenced the policies of the Ministry of Employment and Labor, Republic of South Korea and in the national Doroob initiative in Saudi Arabia. Common across Ron’s consulting projects is developing workplace performance systems that respond to changing demands on employee competence. Ron purposely integrates his projects into his scholarship and teaching through partnership research.

In 1994, Ron received the instructional technology research award from the American Society for Training and Development. In 1995, the Academy of Human Resource Development honored Ron for his scholarly contributions to the human resource development field. From 1998-2001, Ron served as editor of Human Resource Development Quarterly, the major scholarly research journal of the human resource development field and is one of the SSCI listed journals in the HRD field. Ron served on the ASTD (ATD) advisory board of the workplace learning and performance certification institute. Currently, Ron serves as president of the Academy of Human Resource Development. In November 2013, Ron was inducted in the International Adult and Continuing Education (IACE) Hall of Fame for his contributions to workplace learning and performance.

Ron enjoys sailing, golfing, and spending time with his wife, Marsha, at their summer home on Lake Erie and winter home on St. Simons Island in Georgia.

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