Job Training Methods

Off-the-Job Training Methods Summary

Lecture Discussion Audio-Visual Case Study Case Incident
Overview Trainer organizes content & presents orally; little listener involvement. The leader facilitates the analysis of a problem or case. Refer to various forms of media (i.e., video, slides) Students discuss, analyze, and solve problems based on real situations.


  • Single problem vs. multiple situations
  • Written, audio-visual, live case/operational consulting
The method in which one part of an organization’s problem is presented for analysis
  • Transfer large amounts of information in a short time. Minimal $$$.
  • Listeners all get the same message.
  • Online platforms
  • Can be organized systematically
  • Special programs may add value to the training.
  • It can be used to illustrate the behavior.
  • Highlight key points (slides)
  • Control pace of training
  • Introduce realism into learning
  • Deal with a variety of problems, goals, facts, conditions, and conflicts
  • Teach how to make decisions
  • Teach creativity, think independently.
  • Useful to stress one topic or concept
  • Short, so can be read during a training session.
  • Reduces the effect of differences in reading times
  • Trainees can draw on their own experiences.
  • Context of a job is missing.
  • Trainees may lack motivation.
  • Not effective in large groups because many remain silent or unable to participate
  • It can take a lot of time.
  • Low productivity
  • Lack of feedback
  • Students/teachers must have qualifications to analyze material.
  • Appropriate time must be provided
  • The atmosphere must be supportive.
  • Lack of background material
  • Problematic for people with limited work experience
  • Set specific objectives
  • Gather/arrange info in a logical order
  • Transcribe notes onto paper, etc.
  • Break into segments (approx. 15m)
  • Vary material/exercises
  • Create participative culture
  • Reflect questions back to the group
  • Draw out reluctant members
  • Keep the focus on the topic.
  • Control dominant members
  • Keep groups small (4-6)
  • Assign well-defined tasks with time frames
  • Discuss learning objectives before showing a video
  • Don’t overwhelm trainees with information.
  • The case should be based on reality.
  • Collaborate in writing cases
  • Include all relevant details
  • Divide learners into groups with a note taker and spokesperson. After group discussion, each spokesperson presents answers.
  • Have trainees read/discuss as one group
Behavioral Modeling Role-Play Games Simulations Action Learning
Overview The model demonstrates key behaviors, trainees observe and attempt to replicate. Trainees practice newly learned skills in a safe environment.
  • The mentor may not be experienced enough.
Use of operating models of physical/social events designed to represent reality Accept the challenge of studying and solving real problems, accept responsibility for solutions.
  • Good for learning skills and behaviors, not for factual info
  • Used often for teaching interpersonal skills
  • Based on four learning principles: Observation, rehearsal, reinforcement, transfer
  • Useful for acquiring skills in human relations and changing attitudes
  • Three phases: development, enactment, debriefing
  • Various forms of role-playing exist.
  • Debriefing should take 2-3X longer than the enactment.
  • Tend to focus on the development of problem-solving, interpersonal skills, and decision-making skills
  • Incorporate learning from experience, active practice, and direct application to real problems
  • Used to recreate situations by simplifying them
  • Used when training in the real world might involve danger or extreme costs
  • Equipment simulators: mechanical devices similar to those on the job
  • Advantages: realistic and sometimes cost-effective
  • Test theories in the real world
  • Involves identifying real problems, developing solutions, testing them, and evaluating consequences
  • Changes trainees from passive information receivers to problem solvers
  • Not easy to measure progress
  • Difficult to ensure effective interpersonal communication
  • Expensiveness
  • Lack of engagement
  • Possibility of learning wrong things, weak relation to training objectives, and emphasis on winning
  • Lack of experience
  • Disadvantage: expensive to develop and stage
  • Lack of trainees’ experience
  • Often too formal
  • Artificial in nature
  • The model should be someone with whom the trainee can identify and perceive as credible.
  • Break down observed behavior into steps, practice one at a time
  • Provide reinforcement and motivation to use training
  • Learning and reinforcement on the job can ensure the transfer of training.
  • Use various methods to overcome possible resistance.
  • Draw out incorrect and correct behaviors during debriefing
  • State learning objectives
  • Define roles
  • Ensure games are realistic
  • Be well prepared
  • Ensure link to objectives
  • Include a debriefing session
  • Physical fidelity: similarity of physical aspects of the simulation to the actual job
  • Psychological fidelity: similarity of psychological conditions of the simulation to the actual work environment
  • Projects must be challenging and involve real organizational concerns.
  • Training in group skills may be necessary.
  • Should have some release from normal work
  • Small groups (4-7)
  • Monitor groups, trainees accountable for proposed solutions

On-the-Job Training Methods Summary

Job Instruction Performance Aids Job Rotation Apprenticeship Mentoring Coaching
Overview Formalized, structured, and systematic approach to OJT.
Four steps:
  • Preparation
  • Instruction
  • Performance
  • Follow up
A device that helps an employee perform his/her job
  • Signs/prompts
  • Troubleshooting aids
  • Special tool or gauge
  • Flashcards
  • Posters or checklists
  • Trainees are exposed to many jobs, functions, and areas within an organization.
  • They are often used as an ongoing career-development program.
  • Objective: to learn a variety of skills required for current and future jobs (cross-training)
Training for skilled trades that combines OJT and classroom instruction
  • The on-the-job component teaches requisite skills.
  • The classroom component teaches theory and design.
The method in which a senior member of an organization takes a personal interest in the career of a junior member The method in which a seasoned employee works closely with another employee to develop insight, motivate, build skills, and provide support through feedback and reinforcement
  • Firsthand knowledge
  • Often informal
  • Freedom from artificial situations
  • Not expensive
  • Reminds participants of the steps in a task and as a form of visual reinforcement
  • Useful when performance is difficult, is executed infrequently, can be done slowly or when consequences are serious
  • Improved knowledge and skills
  • Higher job satisfaction and salary
  • More opportunities for career advancement
  • In Canada, the apprenticeship system covers over 65 regulated occupations in four occupational sectors.
  • It differs from other methods in that it is regulated through a partnership between the government, labor, and industry.
  • More focused than coaching
  • Accelerate career progress of underrepresented groups
  • Transmit culture and values to newer managers
  • Pass on the accumulated wisdom of seasoned leaders
  • Effective in interpersonal training skills, communication skills, leadership skills, and self-management skills
  • Individual: Improves working relationships, job attitudes, increases the rate of advancement and salary increases
  • Organization: Increases in productivity, quality, customer service, retention; decreases in customer complaints, costs.
  • Poor instruction and task demonstration
  • Difficult to provide help to every student within the given timeframe
  • Devices of poor quality may create safety risks.
  • Cannot provide automatic progress tracking
  • The lack of logic
  • Misunderstanding between employees
  • Much of Canada’s apprenticeship system remains out of date.
  • High proficiency is required to practice apprenticeship.
  • Not systematic
  • The mentor may not be experienced enough.
  • No opportunity to learn in the context
  • It does not go in line with modern practices and styles
  • Should not be managed differently from other types of training
  • Should be integrated with other training
  • Ownership must be maintained.
  • Trainers must be properly chosen and trained.
  • Maximize skills of the graphic artists’ craft
    • Ease of reading, color, boldness, etc.
  • Consider how performance aids might save time and money.
  • Maximize use of technology (electronic performance- support systems).
  • A structure so that trainees receive sufficient exposure and experience on each assignment to make it worthwhile
  • Tailor assignments to each individual’s training needs
  • Job rotation should be only one component of a training program and learning process and supplemented with classroom instruction and coaching.
  • Program enhancement/expansion are key elements in meeting the needs of current/future industries.
  • Must address special needs of new labor groups
  • Ensure clarity of roles and expectations
  • Choose mentors carefully
  • Match mentors and protégé(s) with care
  • Train both mentors and protégé(s)
  • Structure the mentoring relationship
  • Ensure support from management
  • Build trust and understanding
  • Ongoing dialogue and feedback
  • The coach must be able to relate to employee
  • Coaching should be part of
  • broader process
  • Effectiveness should be
  • evaluated

Using the Instructional Systems Design (ISD) Model as a systems approach, it is possible to suggest that managers should employ relevant strategies and training methods to successfully implement them in the learning curriculum. The implementation phase of the ISD Model refers to the fact that learners are trained and evaluated according to the planned criteria (Van Merriënboer & Kirschner, 2017).

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In the case of the given company, it seems essential to point out that managers may combine off-the-job and on-the-job training. In particular, in terms of the former, it is important to introduce discussion and audio-visual facilities to help employees realize their ideas and discuss assumptions collectively. Considering such advantages of the mentioned methods as the opportunity to use online platforms for discussion as well as the ability to present behaviors, the value of the off-the-job training method becomes evident.

More to the point, the use of games is likely to promote creative thinking and interpersonal communication between employees, thus contributing to their collaborative efforts and greater productivity. Even though games may distract trainees from the key goal, they help employees to resolve issues and anticipate potential risks.

As for the on-the-job training methods, performance aids and mentoring seem to be the most suitable for the company. In particular, serving as a visual reinforcement, performance aids assist trainees in their learning and practicing (Jacobs & Jaseem Bu-Rahmah, 2012). When it is difficult to perform a certain task, it may be helpful to reconsider some steps and come up with proper solutions.

Mentoring may be used as one of the methods of staff training when a more experienced employee shares his or her knowledge and skills with an inexperienced newcomer for a certain time. Mentoring is necessary in order to support and encourage the training of an employee and transfer the knowledge accumulated in the organization and the standards of conduct adopted by the company. The advantage of mentoring is the possibility of learning directly at the workplace since it combines the aspects of coaching and teaching activities. Feedback is also important here, but a good theoretical basis should be considered as well.

The identified methods were selected as they are likely to ensure the sustainable development of the company by means of effective training of employees. Namely, high quality, teamwork, feedback, visualization, and interpersonal communication compose the company’s success. It should also be noted that it may be suggested to assign a higher priority to the on-the-job training, since every learner has a unique style of working and communicating, especially during training.

Therefore, it is important to initiate face-to-face learning, when all the questions may be asked and answered directly. At the same time, it is critical to apply an individual approach to every trainee and ensure that he or she understands learning purposes, goals, and procedures. For example, at the stage of providing job instructions, the role of the manager is to identify the learning preferences of employees and equip them with relevant learning methods and tools.

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The variety of learning styles is an integral part of any team that should be considered as the opportunity to connect different people and help them to enjoy their job. To sum it up, the company should imply both off-the-job and on-the-job training methods, including performance aids, audio-visual facilities, mentoring, job instructions, and games. The combination of the mentioned methods is likely to benefit the company and its employees by increasing productivity and overall job satisfaction.


Jacobs, R. L., & Jaseem Bu-Rahmah, M. (2012). Developing employee expertise through structured on-the-job training (S-OJT): An introduction to this training approach and the KNPC experience. Industrial and Commercial Training, 44(2), 75-84.

Van Merriënboer, J. J., & Kirschner, P. A. (2017). Ten steps to complex learning: A systematic approach to four-component instructional design (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

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