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Training Methods

Training Methods

To excel in something, we need knowledge, skills, and expertise, which are not inherited in our genes. Instead, we must learn through practice, experience, and hard work.

In this explanation, we will define what training methods are, we will discuss the types of training and techniques that are available for employees, and finally, we will give an example and explain how to select the best training method for an organization.

Training Methods Definition

Before going further and discussing all the techniques managers have at their disposal to train their employees, let's start with a definition.

Training methods are techniques used to teach someone the necessary skills and knowledge to perform a task.

Training has been around since time immemorial as it is the process of transferring knowledge and skills to the next generation so that they don't start from scratch. One of the first organizational training methods was through apprenticeship, where an apprentice would assist a master in his day-to-day work by observing, performing, and practicing the same task as the master. Since then, our society has evolved, along with the methods used to train people.

Training Methods: Employee Development

Training is essential to keep employees at a certain level of expertise and keep their skills up-to-date.

Training is also a great way to specialize and perform even more. It was one of Frederic Taylor's core principles in the early 20th century, where he encouraged companies to train and specialize their employees. However, he advocated for only the best employees to be trained, unlike today, where companies must train all their workforce.

Having unskilled employees could be catastrophic for a company. Their employees' work will likely be of lower quality than others and might need to be fixed, wasting even more time and resources. They could also make mistakes that can become costly or even dangerous for other employees' well-being, especially in hazardous professions. Furthermore, the workforce could be stressed, overwhelmed, and dissatisfied with their performance. However, it's not the employee's fault, but the company and organization's responsibility to train them properly.

The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.1

- Henry Ford

Different Training Methods Types

Nowadays, there are multiple ways to train people. Those training methods can be classified into two types:

  • On-the-job training or internal training - In this case, people are trained at their workplace. It's easy and cost-efficient for the company to organize. Furthermore, the company has significant control over what is being taught. This training method can include job rotation, coaching, apprenticeships, temporary promotions, etc.

  • Off-the-job training or external training - In this case, the company uses external resources and people to train its workforce. It has the advantage of being held by professionals and doesn't impact the company's regular operations. This training can be in person, but may also take the form of computer-based training, which offers the advantage of conducting it anywhere in the world. This training method can include lectures, seminars, conferences, business simulations, etc.

Training Methods and Techniques

What training methods and techniques have you encountered in your life at work or during your studies?

Let's have a look at the following seven most common types of training methods and techniques:

  • Technology-based learning

  • On-the-job training

  • Simulators

  • Instructor-led training

  • Role-playing

  • Films and videos

  • Coaching and mentoring

  • Technology-based learning is also known as computer-based training (CBT) or e-learning. While e-learning consists of online training courses and materials, computer-based training consists of training platforms such as software, computer games, or soft material.

  • On-the-job training happens when employees receive firsthand instructions from their co-workers or supervisors, and then they start working immediately with their jobs. Accordingly, while working, employees will also observe others and learn from their tasks' feedback to grow their skills and experiences.

  • Simulators is most commonly used in technical fields such as the medical or aviation industries where HRM practitioners often use simulator training methods. Accordingly, this method includes simulations similar to actual work situations. Thus, trainees are required to solve simulated issues with their skills and techniques.

  • Instructor-led training takes place in a classroom style in which instructors prepare and present training materials with visual components to groups of employees.

  • Role-playing incorporates potential work scenarios by role-playing. This method is standard among industries that require customer-company interaction or strategic advice, such as the consulting industry.

  • Films and Videos has become popular due to its scalability and easy-to-access feature. Thus, companies can provide screen recordings, live-action, and animation videos to train their employees about specific matters.

  • Mentoring/ Coaching allows 1:1 training or private training sessions. Often, companies adopt mentoring or coaching training methods to facilitate their employees' development opportunities or to foster the personal relationship between individuals and their companies.

Training method computer-based training StudySmarterFig. 1 - Computer-based training

Choosing Training Methods Example

There isn't one training method that will be perfect in every situation, they all have advantages and disadvantages, and you must select the one that best suits the situation.

As there isn't a perfect training method, there is not one definitive way to select one specific method of training that will work for everyone. However, there are a couple of steps you can follow that will help you determine the most appropriate method for your situation:

Step 1: Determine the objective.

The first step of any training is to determine your goal. What are the skills or knowledge your employee should acquire? In this step, you need to clearly define your organization's goal and what your training must accomplish.

Step 2: Determine your workforce's needs.

All your employees are different: they don't have the same skills or the same level of expertise. Therefore, the HRM must adapt the training method to the employee's level of knowledge in a way that is easy for them to learn.

For example, teaching your expert-level employee some basic-level training would be a waste of time.

Step 3: Evaluate the company's resources.

Once you know your objective and what your employees need, it's time to look at your company's resources, what it can afford and how it can teach its workforce. For example, does the company have access to a classroom where it can teach several employees at once, or would it need to participate in a seminar outside?

Step 4: Select the best training method.

The HRM must finally select the best training method based on the three steps we have seen earlier. There are many training methods to choose from computer-based training, lectures, seminars, conferences, business simulations, job rotation, coaching, apprenticeship, temporary promotions, etc.

You can use the SMART framework to help create an effective goal. To be SMART, a goal has to have the following characteristics: it has to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

For example, if you would like to teach your employees Excel and you would like to create a SMART goal, you could formulate it in this way: "Our employees should be able to use all the basic Excel functions and create a pivot table within two weeks."

Training Methods Training Classroom StudySmarterFig. 2 - Training in a classroom

Let's take a look at a practical example to determine the best training method for a company:

Step 1: Determine the objective.

You would like for all your employees to be able to use all the essential Excel functions and create a pivot table within two weeks.

Step 2: Determine your workforce's needs.

After assessing your employees, you know that most of them already know essential Excel functions, but some need to learn how to use pivot tables.

Step 3: Evaluate the company's resources.

The company has a conference room and can teach multiple employees. But, unfortunately, you need to find someone available and knowledgeable enough to teach your workforce.

Step 4: Select the best training method.

The company hires a professional Excel teacher to come one day and teach all the employees at once.

Training is essential to keep employees at a certain level of expertise and keep their skills up-to-date. It's the HRM's responsibility to determine the best training method and ensure employees are properly trained.

Training Methods - Key takeaways

  • Training methods are techniques used to teach someone the necessary skills and knowledge to perform a task.

  • HRM can create various types of training for their employees: orientation training, basic skills training, technical skills, problem-solving skills, interpersonal training, civility training, ethics training, and creativity training.

  • There are two training methods: On-the-job or internal training, where people are taught at their company's location, and off-the-job or external training, where people are taught outside their normal working location.

  • You can follow this four steps method to determine the appropriate training method for your employee: Step 1: Determine the objective. Step 2: Determine your workforce's needs. Step 3: Evaluate the company's resources. Step 4: Select the best training method.


References

  1. Ethan Danish Joseph. 25 Quotes for Learning and Development Professionals. 13/06/2022. https://www.apty.io/blog/learning-and-development-quotes#:~:text=%E2%80%9CThe%20only%20thing%20worse%20than,them%20and%20having%20them%20stay.%E2%80%9D&text=%E2%80%9CIf%20learners%20think%20it%20looks,getting%20them%20to%20pay%20attention.%E2%80%9D
  2. Stephen P. Robbins & Timothy A. Judge. Organizational Behavior. 2019

Frequently Asked Questions about Training Methods

Step 1: Determine the objective. The first step is to define your goal clearly using the SMART framework.

An effective training method achieves the company's goal by taking into consideration the employee's needs and wants.

There isn't one training method that will be perfect in every situation. They all have advantages and disadvantages, and you must select the one that best suits the situation.

The different types of training are orientation training, basic skills, technical skills, problem-solving skills, interpersonal skills, civility training, ethics training, and creativity training.

Classroom-style training is the most popular training method.

There are two main training methods:

  • On-the-job training or internal training. Such as mentoring, apprenticeship, etc.
  • Off-the-job training or external training. Such as conferences, seminars, etc.


Final Training Methods Quiz

Question

What are training methods?

Show answer

Answer

Training methods are techniques used to teach someone the necessary skills and knowledge to perform a task.

Show question

Question

What did Taylor advocate at the beginning of the 20th century?

Show answer

Answer

He advocated for only the best employees to be trained and specialized.

Show question

Question

Why could having unskilled employees be catastrophic for a company? 

Show answer

Answer

  • Their employee's work will most likely be of a lower quality that might need to be fixed by others. 
  • They could make mistakes that can become costly or even dangerous for other employees' well-being, especially in hazardous professions. 
  • The workforce could be stressed, overwhelmed, and dissatisfied with their performance.


Show question

Question

A company shouldn't provide basic training skills.

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

Creativity can never be taught.

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

Is there one training method that can be used in every situation?

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Answer

No

Show question

Question

What are the two categories of training methods?

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Answer

On-the-job training or internal training. 

Off-the-job training or external training. 

Show question

Question

What are the four steps to determine a training method?

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Answer

Step 1: Determine the objective. 

Step 2: Determine your workforce's needs.

Step 3: Evaluate the company's resources.   

Step 4: Select the best training method

Show question

Question

How can you create an effective goal?

Show answer

Answer

By using the SMART framework.

Show question

Question

What does SMART stand for?

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Answer

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound

Show question

Question

Can a company teach ethics?

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Answer

Yes

Show question

Question

When determining a training method, do you need to consider the level of expertise of your employees?

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Answer

Yes

Show question

Question

What type of training can be considered an introduction to the company?

Show answer

Answer

Orientation training

Show question

Question

When employees are trained on-the-job, what does that mean? 

Show answer

Answer

That they are trained within the company.

Show question

Question

Why is training essential for employee? 

Show answer

Answer

Keep employees at a certain level of expertise

Show question

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