On the Job Training Methods
On the job training methods are by far the most commonly used in training for all levels of personnel. The object of on the job training is to bring the employees to at least a minimum acceptable standard of performance in the shortest possible lime. The worker by these methods learns to master the operations involved on the actual job situation under the supervision of his immediate loss who has to carry the primary burden of conducting this training. Various methods of on the job training are as follows:-
(1) On specific Job—The most common or formal on the job training programme is training for specific job. Current practice in job training has been strongly influenced by the war time training within industry which was first designed to improve the job performance through job instruction training. There are following methods of training:
(i) Experience—This is the oldest method of on-the- job training. But as a sole approach, it is wasteful, time consuming and inefficient. It has been observed that it should be followed by other training methods to make it more effective. In a survey, it was found that they kept up to date through a variety of activities which were largely unrelated to formal continuing education courses. On the job, problem-solving and colleague interactions were prompted as being most important for professional growth by 62 per cent respondents.
(ii) Coaching-On-the-job coaching by a superior is an important and potentially effective approach if superior is properly trained and oriented. The technique involves direct personnel instruction and guidance, usually, with extensive demonstration and continuous critical evaluation and correction. The advantage is increased motivation for the trainee and the minimisation of the problem of learning transfer from theory to practice. The danger in this method lies in the possible neglect of coaching by superior.
(iii) Understudy—The understudy method is considered a somewhat different approach from those described above, that a certain person is specifically designated as the heir-apparent. The understudy method makes the trainee an assistant to the current job holder. The trainee learns by experience, observation and imitation. If decisions are discussed with the under study, he can become informed the policies and theories involved. The advantage of this method is that training is conducted in a practical and realistic situation. However disadvantages are many. The method tends to perpetuate mistakes and deficiencies of existing managereial practices. Morever, the understudies are frequently neglected by those they assist.
(2) Position Rotation—The major objective of job rotation training is the broadening of the background of trainee in the organisation. If trainee is rotated periodically from one job to another job, he acquires a general background. The main advantages are: it provides a general background to the trainee, training takes place in actual situation, competition can be stimulated among the rotating trainees, and it stimulates a more co-operative attitude by exposing a man to other fellow's problems and viewpoints. There are certain disadvantages of this method. The productive work can suffer because of the obvious disruption caused by such changes. Rotations become less useful as specialisation proceeds, for few people have the breadth of technical knowledge and skills to move from one functional area to another.
(3) Special Projects—This is a very flexible training device. Such special project assignments grow ordinarily out of an individual analysis of weaknesses. The trainee may be asked to perform special assignment; thereby he learns the work procedure. Sometime a task force is created consisting of a number of trainees representing different functions in the organisation. Trainees not only acquire knowledge about the assigned activities, but also learn how to work with others.
(4) Selective Reading—Individuals in the organisation can gather and advance their knowledge and background through selective reading. The reading may include professional journals and books. Various business organisations maintain libraries for their own executives. Many executives become members of professional associations and they exchange their ideas with others. This is a good method for assimilating knowledge; however, some executives claim that it is very difficult to find time to do much reading other than absolutely required in the performance of their jobs.
(5) Apprenticeship—Apprentice training can be traced back to medieval times when those intended on learning trade skill bound themselves to a master craftsman to learn by doing the work under his guidance. In earlier periods, apprenticeship was not restricted to artisans, but was used in training for the professions, including medicine, law, dentistry, and teaching. Today's industrial organisations require large number of skilled craftsmen who can be trained by this system. Such training is either provided by the organisations or it is also imparted by governmental agencies. Most States now have apprenticeship laws with supervised plans for such training. Arrangements usually provide a mixed programme of classroom and job experience.
(6) Vestibule Schools—Large organisations frequently provided what are described as vestibule schools, a preliminary to actual shop experience. As far as possible, shop conditions are duplicated, but instructive, not output, are major objective, with special instructors provided. Vestibule schools are widely used in training for clerical and office jobs as well as for factory production jobs. Such training is usually shorter and less complex than that adaptable to the apprenticeship system. Vestibule training is relatively expensive, but these costs are justified if the volume of training is large, or if uniform, high-standard results are important.
Off-the-job Training Methods
In these methods, trainees have to leave their workplace and devote their entire time to the development objective. In these methods development of trainees is primary and any usable work produced during training is secondary. Following training techniques are used off-the-job:
1. Special course and lectures—Lecturing is the most traditional form of formal training method. Special courses and lectures can be established by business organisations in numerous ways as a part of their development programmes. First, there are courses which the organisations themselves establish to be taught by members of the organisation. Some organisations have regular instructors assigned to their training and development departments such as Tata and Hindustan Lever in private sector, Life Insurance Corporation, State Bank of India and other nationalised commercial banks, Reserve Bank, Hindustan Steel, Fertilizer Corporation and many others in public sector. A second approach to special courses and lectures is for organisations to work with universities or institutes in establishing a course or series of % courses to be taught by instructors of these institutes. A third approach is for the organisations to send personnel to programmes established by the universities, institutes and other bodies, Such courses are organised for a short period ranging from 2-3 days to a few weeks. The first such programme was the Sloan Fellowship Programme, established in 1931 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, U.S.A. In India, such courses are organised frequently by the Institute of Management, Administrative Staff College of India, National Productivity Council, NITIE, All India Management Association and some other organisations and universities. ,
2. Conferences -This is also an old method, but still a favourite training method. In order to escape the limitations of straight lecturing many organisations have adopted guided-discussion type of conferences in their training programmes In this method, the participants pool their ideas and experience in attempting to arrive at improved methods of dealing with the problems which are common subject of discussion) Conferences may include buzz sessions that divide conferences into small groups of four or five for intensive discussion. These small groups then report back to the whole conference with their conclusions or questions. Conference method allows the trainees to look at the problem from a broader angle. These conferences, however, have certain limitations. Unless the discussion is directed to the fell needs of the participants that may well feel that the whole session is useless.
3. Case Studies - This technique, which has been developed and popularised by the Harvard Business School, U.S.A. is one of the most common form of training. Acase is a written account of a trained reporter or analyst seeking to describe an actual situation. Some cases are merely illustrative, others are detailed and comprehensive demanding extensive and intensive analytical ability. Cases are widely used in a variety of programmes) This method increases the trainee's power of observation, helping him to ask better questions and to look for a broader range of problems. A well chosen case may promote objective discussion, but the lack of emotional involvement may make it difficult to effect any basic change in the behaviour and attitude of trainees.
4. Brainstorming—This is the method of stimulating trainees to creative thinking. This approach developed by Alex Osborn seeks to reduce inhibiting forces by providing for a maximum of group participation and a minimum of criticism, A problem is posed and ideas are invited. Quantity rather than quality is the primary objective; Ideas are encouraged and criticism of any idea is discouraged. Chain reactions from idea to idea often develop. Later, these ideas are critically examined. There is no trainer in brainstorming and it has been found that the introduction of known experts into it will reduce the originality and practicability of the group contributions. Brainstorming frankly favours divergence, and this fact may be sufficient to explain why brainstorming is so little used as yet in developing countries where new solutions ought to carry the highest premium. It is virtually untried even though its immediate use is limited to new ideas only, not change in behaviour.
5. Laboratory Training-Laboratory training adds to conventional training by providing situations in which the trainees themselves experience through their own interaction some of the conditions they are talking about. In this way, they more or less experiment on themselves. Laboratory training is more concerned about changing individual behaviour and attitude. It is generally more successful in changing job performance than conventional training methods. There are two methods of laboratory training—simulation and sensitivity training.
A. Simulation—An increasingly popular technique of management development is simulation of performance. In this method, instead of taking participants into the field can be simulated in the training session itself. Simulation is the presentation of real situation of organisations in the training session. It covers situations of varying complexities and roles for the participants. It creates a whole field organisation, relates participants through key roles in it, and has them deal with specific situations of a kind they encounter in real life. There are two common simulation methods of training: role-playing is one and business game is the other.
(i) Role-Playing—Role-Playing is laboratory method which can be used rather easily as a supplement to conventional training methods. Its purpose is to increase the trainee's skill in dealing with other people. One of its greatest uses is in connection with human relations training but it is also used in sales training as well. It is spontaneous acting of a realistic situation involving two or more persons under class room situations. Dialogue spontaneously grows out of the situation, as it is developed by the trainees assigned to it. Other trainees in the group serve as observers or critics. Since people lake roles every day, they are somewhat experienced in the art, and with a certain amount of imagination they can project themselves into roles other than their own. Since a manager is regularly acting roles in his relationship with others, it is essential for him to have role awareness and to do role thinking so that he can size up each relationship and develop the most effective interaction possible. Role-playing has many advantages. By this method, a trainee can broaden his experience by trying different approaches, while in actual situation; he often has only one chance. In evaluation of role-playing in sue firms, it was found that such sessions resulted in an increase in sensitivity and improved quality of actions of a work sample involving a human relations difficulty. Role-playing also has weaknesses which partly offset its values. It is time consuming and expensive. It requires experienced trainers because it can easily turn sour without effective direction.
(ii) Gaming—Gaming has been devised to simulate the problems of running a company or even a particular department. It has been used for a variety of training objectives, from investment strategy, collective bargaining techniques, to the morale of clerical personnel. It has been used at all levels, from the lop executives to the production supervisors. Gaming is a laboratory method in which role-playing exists but its difference is that it focuses attention on administrative problems, while role-playing tends to emphasise mostly feeling and tone between people in interaction. Gaming involves several teams, each of which is given a firm to operate for a number of periods. Usually the period is a short one, one year or so. In each period, each team makes decisions on various matters such as fixation of price, level of production, inventory level, and so forth'. Since each team is competing with others, each firm's decisions will affect the results of all others. All the firm's decisions are fed into a computer which is programmed to behave somewhat like a real market. The computer provides the results, and the winner is the team which has accumulated largest profit. In the light of such results, strengths and weaknesses of decisions are analysed.
B. Sensitivity Training—Sensitivity training is the most controversial laboratory training method. Many of its advocates have an almost religious zeal in their enhancement with the training group experience. As a result of criticism and experience, a somewhat revised approach, often described as 'team development' training, has appeared.
Sensitivity training is a small-group interaction under stress in an unstructured encounter group which requires people to become sensitive to one another's feelings in order to develop reasonable group activity.T-group has several characteristic features:
(i) the T-group is generally small, from ten to twenty members;
(ii) the group begins its activity with no formal agenda;
(iii) the role of trainer is primarily to call attention from time to time to the on going process within the group;
(iv) the procedure tends to develop interspection and self-examination, with emotional levels of involvement and behaviour and the possibility of colleagues and some breakdown of established insulation and self-defence on the part of individuals. The objectives of such training are increased openness with others, more concern for others, increased tolerance for individual differences, less ethnic prejudice, understanding of a group process, enhanced listening skills, and increased trust and support.