Employee training and development are highly important for any organization. Overall, employee training is the process of teaching technical and/or operational employees how they could fulfill their work more effectively and the process of passing new skills the these employees in order to help them to move over their career ladder. Personal and organizational growth is impossible without effective employee training programs.
Methods of employee training
There are different methods of employee training, the main of them being on-the-job methods, classroom instruction, e-learning and simulation (Pride & Hughes & Kapoor, 2010). For managers, development programs also include such types of training as role playing, analysis of case studies, seminars and conferences, etc (Pride & Hughes & Kapoor, 2010).
A. On-the-job training
The most popular training method is on-the-job training, which is used, by estimates, for 90% of learning programs (Baker, 2007).
According to this method of training, employees get new experience under standard working conditions, with the help of the trainer or a supervisor. In addition to getting quick practical experience, this method allows to establish good relationships between new employees, the trainer and other personnel. Commonly, on-the-job training includes such steps as preparation, reassuring employees, orienting the employees, letting them to perform the tasks, evaluation of their results, review and reinforcement (Pride & Hughes & Kapoor, 2010).
Modified versions of on-the-job training are apprenticeship and internship training. Apprenticeship training is the combination of instruction and experience for new employees in technology-intensive areas such as machinery, laboratory work etc (Baker, 2007).
Apprentices are commonly paid a lower wage than regular employees, but this amount increases over time. Another form of combining formal classes and practical experience is cooperative training ”“ incorporation of part-time work experience into learning programs at colleges and high school (Baker, 2007). Internship programs also have a similar goal ”“ to prepare students to their working life. Internship programs are managed by joint efforts of educational institutions and companies working in the appropriate industry. Federally sponsored career centers also have a goal of proving employee training. In general, although the method of on-the-job training is the most popular, its implementation is often seriously flawed. Most common flaws are low training skills of managers and/or supervisors, and unstructured learning environment. Employers should realize the importance of planning and designing work environment. For on-the-job training program to be successful, it should have realistic goals, training schedule for each employee, timely evaluations and inspiring learning atmosphere.
B. Classroom instruction
Another popular method of employee training is classroom instruction. This method is cost-effective since it allows to train a large number of employees with minimal number of instructors. Lectures and discussions can be combined with audio and video materials in order to enhance learning. Despite the progress of online teaching methods, traditional instructor-led classrooms account for 65% of knowledge delivery methods in employee training (Bohlander & Snell, 2009).
A form of classroom training is programmed instruction ”“ employees work at their own pace, using instructions. In this case, learning is self-directed and it proved to be more effective than instructor-led approach. The use of audiovisual methods, conferences and community support for classroom training helps to enrich this form of learning with new experiences. Despite the evident advantages of classroom learning, it is not universally effective, and often does not provide enough practical experience compared to other forms of employee training.
Simulation is a highly effective training method for industries where it is not possible to train the employees using actual equipment or real working situations (e.g. in the airline industry, healthcare etc). In such cases, special simulators are created and employees get their experience using these simulators (Bohlander & Snell, 2009). With the development of technology and Internet, most simulators are computer-based and enriched with all available facilities (conferences, learning materials, video and audio materials etc.). Technical progress has added value to this training method, and although simulation is still different from hands-on experience, this method is becoming more effective when new technologies are involved.
Finally, online learning (e-learning) becomes a very popular method of employee training. This method includes a variety of applications such as virtual classrooms, computer-based training, online learning courses and materials, learning management systems etc. E-learning has multiple benefits: it is absolutely customized and it is possible to present multiple forms of learning and practical situations to the trainees. E-learning environment is really engaging because it commonly gives access to audio and video materials, allows the employees to study at their own pace, and can be accessed in convenient time and/or from multiple locations.
E-learning courses are very cost-effective help to save from 30% to 70% on training costs, and encourage the trainees to progress (Baker, 2007). Often, e-learning courses use the just-in-time approach to learning (Bohlander & Snell, 2009), which means that employees can access e-learning environment when it is comfortable for them. This method releases additional training pressure generated by other methods of training. Moreover, the employees can quickly go through the learning materials during working situations, which helps them to gain and strengthen new skills.
In my opinion, traditional classroom training is gradually giving away its positions to more customizable and media-rich methods of training such as simulation or e-learning. Although classroom instruction is still widely used, it will eventually adopt the features of virtual learning environment. The most effective method is evidently e-learning since it offers very encouraging and challenging means of employee training, which is also cost-effective. Moreover, I believe that all the above-mentioned forms of learning will merge into a common learning system where in online environment it will be possible to incorporate elements of classroom instruction, simulation and on-the-job training. It is only a matter of time for the new learning environment to grow and mature.
Baker, H. (2007). Employee training. Global Media.
Bohlander, G. & Snell, S. (2009). Managing human resources. Cengage Learning.
Pride, W.M. & Hughes, R.J. & Kapoor, J.R. (2010). Foundations of business. Cengage Learning.