Key Professional Appointments

Professor Workforce Development and Education, College of Education, the Ohio State University, 1997 - 2011

Associate Professor Adult and Vocational Education, College of Education, the Ohio State University, 1992 - 1997

Assistant Professor Adult and Vocational Education, College of Education, the Ohio State University, 1985 - 1992

Visiting Assistant Professor Curriculum and Instruction, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 1980 - 1985


Ph.D., Instructional Systems Technology, Indiana University, 1980

M.S., Educational Technology, University of Toledo, 1975

B.F.A., Film Studies and English Literature, Ohio University, 1973

Awards, Honors, Associations

Distinguished Expert Foreign Professor State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA), China, 2015 - 2015

Awardee, Hall of Fame International Adult and Continuing Education, 2013 - 2013

Professor Emeritus The Ohio State University, 2011 - present

Research & Service

Ronald L. Jacobs is professor of human resource development in the College of Education. Ron’s current research topics of interest include formal learning in the work setting, employee competence, and adapting HRD practices to the societal level. Ron has written over 100 journal articles and book chapters, and has authored or edited six books that address a broad range of topics in the human resource development field. His current work investigates how to address the development issues of knowledge workers.

Ron is particularly known for his research and development work on structured on-the-job training (S-OJT), a training approach that he first introduced to the HRD literature in 1987. He is the author of the book, Structured On-the-Job Training: Unleashing Employee Expertise in the Workplace (Berrett-Koehler, 2nd edition), which has become the standard guide to help managers and national policy officials to implement this training approach. There are now Chinese-Complex, Chinese-Simplified, Korean, and Arabic language editions of the book. Much of his research on this topic has been on determining the financial benefits of using S-OJT, information that has been critical for making more informed training decisions.

Ron is also known for his writing and perspectives on the HRD research process, system theory applied to HRD, performance consulting, and introducing the ISO 10015 training guideline to the field.

Since 1980, Ron has been responsible for the graduate training of over 300 HRD professionals. More than 30 of his Ph.D. graduates now teach HRD and HRM-related subjects in universities globally. Ron has been an invited professor at numerous international universities, including the University of Utrecht, National Taiwan Normal University, and he was the Shaw Distinguished Professor of Human Resource Management at Nanyang University, Singapore. He currently holds an adjunct professorship in human resource development at East China Normal University, Shanghai. He is professor emeritus of workforce development and education at the Ohio State University.

Ron has extensive consulting experience in global organizations including General Motors, KLM Airlines, Abbott Laboratories, Seagate, Morton Salt, Rohm and Haas, Kuwait National Petroleum Company, Biomet, ARAMCO, Hyundai Motors, among others. Common across all projects is the goal to help develop and improve workplace performance systems that respond to changing demands on employee competence. Dr. Jacobs actively integrates information from these various projects into his scholarship through partnership research projects and to his university instruction.

Ron enjoys sailing, golfing, and spending time at his summer home on Lake Erie.


Chang, J., & Jacobs, R. (2012) The Relationships Among Participants’ Characteristics, Perceptions, Nature of Involvement, and Outcomes in Strategic Community of Practice Programs in a Large Electric Utility Company Human Resource Development Quarterly 23 (3), 341-362

Choi, W., & Jacobs, R. (2011) Influences of formal learning, personal learning orientation, and supportive learning environment on informal learning Human Resource Development Quarterly 22 (3), 235-257

Jacobs, R. (2011) Developing a Research Problem and Purpose Statement. Demystifying the writing and publishing process: A guide for emerging scholars Sage: San Francisco

Jacobs, R. (2011) Editorial: HRD and management Human Resource Development Quarterly 21 (1)

Park, Y., & Jacobs, R. (2011) The relationships among investment in workplace learning, organizational perspective on human resource development, organizational outcomes of workplace learning, and organizational performance in Kor Human Resource Development Quarterly 22 (4), 437-458

Jacobs, R., & Park, Y. (2010) A Proposed Conceptual Framework of Workplace Learning: Implications for Theory Development and Research in Human Resource Development Human Resource Development Review 8 (2), 133-150

Jacobs, R. (2009) Training and learning in the workplace. International Encyclopedia of Education, 3rd ed Elsevier: Oxford, England

Huang, W., & Jacobs, R.. A comparison of the influences of different training approaches on trainees’ perceptions of self-efficacy to achieve training outcomes Human Resource Development International

Jacobs, R., & Munn, S.. Developing a dissertation research problem: A guide for doctoral students in human resource development and adult education New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development

Jacobs, R.. Perspectives on adult education, human resource development, and the emergence of workforce development New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development 26 (1)

Jacobs, R.. System theory and human resource development. Handbook of Human Resource Development Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, US


Professional Networking through AHRD: Leading the Field through Research (2013). Academy of Human Resource Development: Taipei, Taiwan.

Implementing a Structured on-the-job Training System for New-Hire Engineers (2012).: Dallas, TX.

Ministry of Employment and Labor, Republic of South Korea, to assist in planning and data collection of the 2011 National S-OJT Pilot Project. (2012).

Performance Consulting at Hyundai-Kia Motors: Linking the Corporate HRD Center with Business Results (2011).: Orlando, FL.

A Comparison of the Practices Used by Human Resource Development Professionals to Evaluate Web-Based and Classroom-Based Training Programs among Korean Companies. In K. Dirani (ed.), Proceedings of th (2011).: St. Paul, MN.

The Relationships Among Participants‘ Characteristics, Perceptions, Nature of Involvement, and Outcomes in Strategic Community of Practice Programs in a Large Electric Utility Company. In K. Dirani (e (2011).: AHRD.

Using System Theory to Evaluate Organizational Change in a Furniture Retailer in the United States: A Case Study. In A. Osman-Gani (ed.), Proceedings of the Academy of Human Resource Development – Asi (2011).: Kuala Lampur, Malaysia.

An exploration of the relationships among organizational size, flexible work practices, and training. In C. Graham (ed.), Proceedings of the annual conference of the Academy of Human Resource Developm (2010).: St. Paul, MN.


President Academy of Human Resource Development, 2012 - 2016

Editorial Board Member Human Resource Development Quarterly, 2011 - 2013

President-Elect Academy of Human Resource Development, 2011 - 2013

Issue Editor, 22(2) Human Resource Development Quarterly, 2011 - 2011

Ron Jacobs

Professor, Education Policy, Organization and Leadership



358 Education Building
1310 S. Sixth St.
Champaign, IL 61820

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