Off-the-Job Training

Off-the-job training is sometimes necessary to get people away from the work environment to a place where the frustrations and bustle of work are eliminated. This enables the trainee to study theoretical information or be exposed to new and innovative ideas. The problem arises when those ideas or learning experiences do not appear
to relate to the work situation. Off-the-job training covers a number of techniques i.e. classroom lectures, films demonstrations, case studies, and other simulation exercise and programmed instruction. The facilities needed for each technique vary from a small, makeshift classroom to an elaborate development centre with large lecture halls, supplemented by small conference rooms with sophisticated instructional technology equipment. Because of its growing popularity in today’s technology oriented organizations. However, programmed instruction warrants a closer look.

The programmed instruction technique can be in the form of programmed tests and manuals, video displays, or some type of computer-based training. All programmed instruction approaches have common characteristics. They condense the material to be learned into highly organized, logical sequences that require the trainee to respond. The ideal format provides for nearly instantaneous feedback that informs the trainee if his or her response is correct. For example, popular today with the purchase of computer software is an accompanying tutorial program. This tutorial walks the user through the software application; give the individual opportunities to experiment with the program. These tutorials then form one basis of programmed instruction.

The methods used for off-the-job training are
  1. Classroom lectures: Lectures designed to communicate specific interpersonal or problem-solving skills. 
  2. Videos and films: Using various media productions to demonstrate specialized skills that are presented by other training method.
  3. Simulation exercise: Training that occurs by actually performing the work. This may include case analysis, exercise, role playing or group decision making.
  4. Computer-based training: Simulating the work environment by programming a computer to imitate some of the realities of the job.
  5. Vestibule training: Training on actual equipment used on the job, but conducted away from the actual work setting- a simulated workstation.
  6. Programmed instruction: Condensing training materials into highly organized logical sequences may include computer tutorials, interactive videodisks, or virtual reality simulations.
Before discussing the evaluation of training programs let us discuss the characteristics of effective training practice. One survey of corporate training and development practices found that four characteristics seemed to distinguish companies with the most effective training practices.
  • Top management is committed to training and development, training is part of the corporate culture. Thus Xerox Corporation invests about $300 million annually or about 2.5% of revenue on training.
  • Training is tied to business strategy and objectives and is linked to bottom-line results.
  • A comprehensive and systematic approach to training exists; training and retraining are done at all levels on a continuous, ongoing basis.
  • There is a commitment to invest the necessary resources, to provide sufficient necessary resources, to provide sufficient time and money for training.

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