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University of Exeter Business School

Human Resource Development (HRD)

Module titleHuman Resource Development (HRD)
Module codeBEMM044
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Graham Perkins (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Developing and enhancing skills and knowledge in the workplace, both general and specific, is a central objective of the HR function in organisations. It is also an area of HR work which has significant public policy implications. This module will therefore be of interest to anyone who wishes to build a career in HRM, in HR consultancy, or who aspires to work in publicly-sponsored training bodies. It will also provide you with an introductory platform from which to forge a career as an HRD specialist. Successful completion of the HRD module is essential for individuals studying on the MSc HRM degreeseeking to gain full membership of the CIPD upon graduation. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of this module is to equip you with the knowledge and understanding (both theoretical and practical) to make a substantial contribution to the management of learning in contemporary organisations. On completion you will be able to give appropriate and timely advice on the development of training and learning programmes, and on wider HRD policy matters. Our sessions cover the formation of HRD strategy, policy and learning interventions, with emphasis being on current developments in the field. You will be encouraged to think critically about research into different approaches to learning and development and to engage with key debates in the field about issues such as effective evaluation and ethics. 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Meet the core standards within the CIPD profession Map in the field of learning and development;
  • 2. critically evaluate contemporary theory and practice within HRD.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. critically discuss key theories and published literature related to HRD;
  • 4. identify links between HRD activity and other areas of management practice in organisations.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. develop arguments and justify them effectively within written reports;
  • 6. advise managers and other organisational stakeholders about employee development issues

Syllabus plan

This module makes use of a variety of learning methods, with supporting material provided online enabling you to gain a broad understanding of contemporary theory and practice in the field of HRD. Starting with introductory material we will move on to explore and debate a wide variety of issues. Our taught sessions will cover the following major topic areas: 

  • The changing context for HRD
  • Major learning and development theories
  • Different types and formats of HRD intervention
  • Managing the HRD function in organisations
  • HRD strategy and policy
  • Leadership and management development
  • Knowledge management
  • Organisational learning
  • Career management
  • Critical perspectives on HRD
  • Professional debates in the field of HRD


Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activities20Lectures, workshops, group activities, analysis of case studies, online content, self-check quizzes
Guided Independent Study30Preparatory reading prior to taught sessions
Guided Independent Study30Reflection and further reading following taught content sessions
Guided Independent Study70Assignment preparation: Researching and writing your assignment

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
In-class and online activities10 hours1-6In-class tutor feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written Report904,000 words1-6Written tutor feedback
Project proposal 101 page template (500 words equivalent) 2, 3, 5 Written tutor feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written Report Re-work and re-submit the original report (4000 words,100%)1-6Next re-assessment period
Project proposal Project proposal 2, 3, 5 Next re-assessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Indicative reading list:

  • Beavers, K., Rea, A. & Hayden, D. (2019). Learning and Development Practice in the Workplace. 4th Edition.  CIPD / Kogan Page.
  • Carbery, R. & Cross, C. (2015). Human Resource Development: A Concise Introduction.  Palgrave.
  • Collins, S. (2019). Neuroscience for Learning and Development. Kogan Page.
  • Gold, J., Holden, R., Iles, P., Stewart, J. & Beardwell, J. (2013). Human Resource Development: Theory and Practice. 2nd Edition.  Palgrave.
  • Hislop, D., Bousa, R. & Helms, R. (2018). Knowledge Management in Organizations: A Critical Introduction. 4th Edition.  Oxford University Press.
  • Holbeche, L. (2015). The Agile Organization: How to Build an Innovative, Sustainable and Resilient Business.  Kogan Page.
  • Kirkpatrick, D. & Kirkpatrick, J. (2006). Evaluating Training Programs: The Four Levels. 3rd Edition. Berrett-Koehler.
  • Knowles, M. S., Holton, E. F., Swanson, R. A. & Robinson, P. A. (2020). The Adult Learner: The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development. 9th Edition. Routledge.
  • McGuire, D. (2014). Human Resource Development.  2nd Edition.  Sage.
  • Megginson, D. & Whitaker, V. (2007). Continuing Professional Development.  2nd Edition.  CIPD.
  • Nonaka, I. & Takeuchi, H. (1995). The Knowledge Creating Company.  Oxford University Press.
  • Page-Tickell, R. (2018). Learning and Development: A Practical Introduction.  Kogan Page.
  • Paine, N. (2019). Workplace Learning: How to Build a Culture of Continuous Employee Development.  Kogan Page.
  • Sadler-Smith, E. (2022). Human Resource Development: From Theory into Practice.  Sage.
  • Stanford, N. (2018). Organization Design: The Practitioners Guide. 3rd Edition. Routledge.
  • Stewart, J. & Rogers, P. (2017). Studying Learning and Development: Context, Practice and Measurement.  CIPD.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

You will have access to an online searchable and resources database, with links to several ebooks available through the Exeter Learning Environment (ELE).  Within this environment, you will also be supported through online discussion forums and activities. 

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

As an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development you will also have access to the entirety of the Institute's website, including all published research reports, archived articles from 'People Management', fact sheets, discussion papers and briefings.  

Key words search

training, development, learning, HRD, management development, talent development, skills, knowledge management 

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date