Human Resource Development (HRD)

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 seeking to gain full membership of the CIPD upon graduation.

Full module specification

Module title:Human Resource Development (HRD)
Module code:BEMM044
Module level:M
Academic year:2020/1
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Graham Perkins - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 2:


Duration (weeks) - term 3:


Module aims

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 training 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.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Meet the learning outcomes contained in the CIPD's advanced diploma syllabus in the field of learning and development
  • 2. Critically evaluate contemporary theory and practice within HRD

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Critically discuss key theories and published literature related to HRD
  • 4. Examine links between HRD activity and other areas of management practice in organisationsappreciate links between HRD activity and other areas of management practice in organisations

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

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 activities30Lectures, workshops, group activities, analysis of case studies
Preparatory Reading30Reading prior to taught sessions
Reflection and further reading30Guided reading and completion of online exercises
Assignment preparation60Researching and writing your assignment

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
In-class activities13 hours1-6In-class tutor feedback
Multiple choice test1 hour1,2Tutor 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 Assignment1004,000 words1-6Written tutor feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
AssignmentRe-work and re-submit the original assignment1-6July Assessment Period

Syllabus plan

This module makes use of both lecture and workshop sessions, with supporting material provided online alongside guided further reading which will enable you to gain a full understanding of contemporary theory and practice in the field of HRD. Starting with introductory material we will move on to look at 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 of HRD intervention
  • Managing the HRD function in organisations
  • HRD strategy and policy
  • Leadership and management development
  • Organisation design and development
  • Knowledge management
  • Organisational learning
  • Career management
  • Critical perspectives on HRD
  • Ethical and professional debates in the field of HRD


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Suggested Text:

  • McGuire, D. (2014) Human Resource Development.  2nd Edition.  Sage: London.

Further Reading:

  • Beavers, K., Rea, A. & Hayden, D. (2019) Learning and Development Practice in the Workplace.  4th Edition.  CIPD Kogan Page: London.
  • Carbery, R. & Cross, C. (2015) Human Resource Development: A Concise Introduction.  Palgrave: London.
  • Gibb, S. (2011) Human Resource Development: Foundations, Process, Context.  3rd Edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave
  • Gold, J., Holden, R., Iles, P., Stewart, J. & Beardwell, J. (2013) Human Resource Development: Theory and Practice. 2nd Edition.  Basingstoke: Palgrave
  • Hislop, D. Bousa, R. & Helms, R. (2018) Knowledge Management in Organizations: A Critical Introduction. 4th Edition.  Oxford: OUP
  • Holbeche, L. (2015) The Agile Organization: How to Build an Innovative, Sustainable and Resilient Business.  Kogan Page: London.
  • Kirkpatrick, D. & Kirkpatrick, J. (2006) Evaluating Training Programs: The Four Levels. 3rd Edition. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler
  • Megginson, D. & Whitaker, V. (2007) Continuing Professional Development.  2nd Edition.  CIPD: London.
  • Nonaka, I. & Takeuchi, H. (1995) The Knowledge Creating Company.  Oxford University Press.
  • Paine, N. (2019) Workplace Learning.  Kogan Page: London.
  • Stanford, N. (2018) Organization Design: The Practitioners Guide. 3rd Edition.  Routledge: Abingdon.
  • Stewart, J. & Rigg, C. (2011) Learning and Talent Development.  London: CIPD.
  • Stewart, J. & Beaver, G. (2004) Routledge Studies in Human Resource Development: HRD in Small Organisations – Research and Practice.  Routledge: Abingdon.
  • Walton, J. & Valentin. (2013) Human Resource Development: Practices and Orthodoxies.  Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke Werner, J. M. (2014). Human resource development ≠ Human resource management: So what is it?  Human Resource Development Quarterly. 25(2), 127-139.

Module has an active ELE page?


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.  

Origin date


Last revision date