On the Job Training
Sometimes the best way to learn a skill is to jump right into it. That is the focus of on the job training. The main objective is to teach learners through a hands-on approach. Learners will execute the desired task or behavior as quickly as possible after learning the necessary information. On the job (OJT) training requires only a skilled employee (to act as a trainer), the equipment or tool to be trained, and the learner. During on the job training, learners shadow a skilled employee then attempt to apply what they have learned. One of the drawbacks of on the job training is that it temporarily hinders the productivity of a skilled employee. However, supplementing the training with e-learning courses can lessen the time commitment of the qualified employee.
Structured OJT versus Unstructured OJT
On the job training happens in two ways: structured and unstructured. Structured on the job training is training that is planned and follows a precise path. Most structured on the job training happens during onboarding.
Unstructured training is the most common form of on the job training. It often has not been planned out but is catalyzed by some need or knowledge gap that has been encountered. For example, an employee is asked to run report XYZ on a system he or she is familiar with but has never run reports on. He or she will need guidance on how to run report XYZ. The employee can learn by watching another employee with this experience. Then he or she can try to run the report on his or her own. The skilled employee should offer minimal coaching throughout the learner’s attempt to promote autonomy.
The purpose of coaching is to improve an employee’s performance on a given task. Once the learner has acquired the necessary skills, the coaching is no longer needed. During on the job training, the skilled employee should use coaching methods to promote retention. Some useful techniques for providing coaching to an employee while he or she is learning a new skill or task are:
- Letting the employee complete a job on his or her own intervening only at critical moments.
- Showing an employee the way to solve a problem, but allowing the employee to proceed even if they do not follow the prescribed course of action. This allows the employee to fail and correct him or herself.
- Asking probing questions while the employee is performing the action or task to ensure that the employee knows the logic behind the actions.
On the job training is inexpensive, effective, and can be supplemented with content hosted on an online learning platform to further enhance learning. For structured training, an online learning platform can host tutorials or refresher courses that can be referenced during or after the on the job training. Additionally, an online learning platform can host assessments related to the task to evaluate and keep a record of what has been learned.
To see how an online learning platform can support on the job training initiatives, request a demonstration of the Mindflash platform. Mindflash is a learning management system that is flexible enough to host your fully online training as well as supplemental materials to support on the job training initiatives.