Training is a learning process where employees acquire knowledge and skills to improve their competence and to help them achieve organizational goals. Every organization will need to train its employees in order to increase their productivity and to become proficient and competent while carrying out their job duties.
There are two types of training methods: in-service training and pre-service training. Pre-service training is offered by formal institutions where persons attends regular classes in order to attain a formal diploma or degree whereas in-service training is undertaken when an organization offers time to time knowledge or skills upgrade to its staff.
Methods of Training
Training methods are divided into cognitive methods and behavioral methods. Cognitive methods give information either in written form or orally and provides guidelines on how to go about job tasks. They include lectures, discussions, demonstrations, virtual reality, programmed instructions, computer based training and intelligent tutorial systems. On the other hand, behavioral methods enable learners to exercise behavior in real fashion and they help in skill development and attitude change.
Behavioral methods include games and simulations, behavioral modeling, case studies, equipment stimulators, business games, role plays and in-basket techniques. The training method selected should be able to motivate the learners to improve on their performance. In addition, the training should help staff transfer what they have learned in training to job situations and they should be allowed to actively participate during the training or learning period (Bass and Vaughan, 1966).
On The Job Training (OJT)
On job training, also known as hands on training, is the most commonly used training method in small organizations. This form of training always takes place at the actual work place.
The existing experienced and skilled managers and supervisors take the lead in training less experienced and knowledgeable employees who join or are already working in the organization. William and Kazanas (2004) mention that there is no official procedure for undertaking an OJT and point out that that trainers need not to have formal qualifications as long as they are experienced and have knowledge in the field.
The employees are coached, mentored, and instructed by their superiors on how to handle their job duties. This training method helps to identify weaknesses and strengths of the employees. However, the competence of this method cannot be proven because some sloppy work habits can be passed from supervisors to the trainees and this might affect their output.
Besides, finding the right time to implement training schedules can be a challenge because the trainers’ responsibilities might be left unattended to and this might affect the organizations’ performance. In spite of these limitations, this method is one of the most effective training techniques and has been successfully used in many organizations. Alipour, Salehi, and Shahnavaz (2009) avow that OJT results into more creativity, realization of organizational goals, and enhances work quality.
This method is considered the most effective training method because it targets a large number of individuals at a relatively low cost. Lectures can be conducted either in a formal or informal setting.
In an informal lecture, the audience actively participates while in a formal lecture, the subject matter is introduced by the instructor and he presents the main part of the lesson with little involvement of trainees.
This training method is relatively inexpensive as it reaches a large number of people. It can also be effective especially when the learners are involved. The instructor can deliver a lot of information to the learners in a short period of time.
Even though the lecture method has been considered the most appropriate training method, it has some drawbacks such as the inability to identify and correct misunderstandings among learners since he may not have full control of the audience. The effectiveness of this training method has been proven in numerous studies.
For instance, Burke and Day (1986) mention in their study that when interactive approaches such as quizzes, small group discussions, case studies, question cards, demonstrations and role playing, among others are used in lectures, it can be very effective in not only improving knowledge of the learners, but it might also enhance the learners’ interpersonal skills.
This training method has been acknowledged as the most suitable method for developing interpersonal skills. In this training technique, the learners observe what others are doing and learn how to perform similar tasks. For instance, they can watch a videotape and thereafter practice what they observed through role-plays or other types of simulation techniques. The underlying theory behind this training method is that once a person has watched the behavior shown in the video, he is likely to replicate it on job situations.
This method can be used in safety training, interviewee and interviewer training, sales training and interpersonal skills training. It reduces the time, costs of trial and error processes, and provides learners with opportunities to discover learning comfortably through practice (Decker &Nathan, 1985). Through practice by role-plays, the learners also develop interpersonal skills. This method has been found to be effective by in a number of studies according to Mayer & Russell (1987).
Alipour, M, Salehi, M, and Shahnavaz, A. (2009). A Study of on the Job Training Effectiveness: Empirical Evidence of Iran. International Journal of Business and Management, 4(11), 51-75.
Bass, B. M., and Vaughan, J. A. (1966). Training in industry: The management of learning. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing.
Burke, M J, and Day, RR. (1986). A cumulative study of the effectiveness of managerial training. Journal of Applied Psychology, 71(2), 232-245
Decker, P. & Nathan, B. (1985). Behavior Modeling Training: Principles and Applications. New York: Praeger.
Mayer, S.J., and Russell, J.S. (1987). Behavior Modeling Training in Organizations: Concerns and Conclusions. Journal of Management Spring, 13(1), 21-40.
William J. R., and Kazanas, H.C. (2004). Improving On the Job Training, 2nd edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.