Many methods of training are available- each has certain advantages and disadvantages. Here we list the different methods of training…you can comment on the pros and cons and make the examples concrete by imagining how they could be applied in training truck drivers.
Common methods of learning via technology include:
- Basic PC-based programs
- Interactive multimedia – using a PC-based CD-ROM
- Interactive video – using a computer in conjunction with a VCR
- Web-based training programs
The forms of training with technology are almost unlimited. A trainer also gets more of the learner”s involvement than in any other environment and trainees have the benefit of learning at their own pace.
Example: In the trucking industry one can imagine interactive multimedia training on tractor-trailers followed by a proficiency test to see how well the employee knows the truck.
Simulators are used to imitate real work experiences.
Most simulators are very expensive but for certain jobs, like learning to fly a 747, they are indispensable. Astronauts also train extensively using simulators to imitate the challenges and micro-gravity experienced on a space mission. The military also uses video games (similar to the “shoot-em-up” ones your 14-year old plays) to train soldiers.
Example: Truck drivers could use simulators to practice responding to dangerous driving situations.
Jumping right into work from day one can sometimes be the most effective type of training.
Here are a few examples of on-the-job training:
- Read the manual – a rather boring, but thorough way of gaining knowledge of about a task.
- A combination of observation, explanation and practice.
- Trainers go through the job description to explain duties and answer questions.
- Use the intranet so trainees can post questions concerning their jobs and experts within the company can answer them.
On-the-job training gives employees motivation to start the job. Some reports indicate that people learn more efficiently if they learn hands-on, rather than listening to an instructor. However, this method might not be for everyone, as it could be very stressful.
Example: New trucking employees could ride with experienced drivers. They could ask questions about truck weigh stations, proper highway speeds, picking up hitchhikers, or any other issues that may arise.
Coaching/mentoring gives employees a chance to receive training one-on-one from an experienced professional. This usually takes place after another more formal process has taken place to expand on what trainees have already learned.
Here are three examples of coaching/mentoring:
- Hire professional coaches for managers (see our HR.com article on Understanding Executive Coaching)
- Set up a formal mentoring program between senior and junior managers
- Implement less formal coaching/mentoring to encourage the more experienced employees to coach the less experienced.
Coaching/mentoring gives trainees the chance to ask questions and receive thorough and honest answers – something they might not receive in a classroom with a group of people.
Example: Again, truck drivers could gain valuable knowledge from more experienced drivers using this method.
Lectures usually take place in a classroom-format.
It seems the only advantage to a lecture is the ability to get a huge amount of information to a lot of people in a short amount of time. It has been said to be the least effective of all training methods. In many cases, lectures contain no form of interaction from the trainer to the trainee and can be quite boring. Studies show that people only retain 20 percent of what they are taught in a lecture.
Example: Truck drivers could receive lectures on issues such as company policies and safety.
Group Discussions & Tutorials
These most likely take place in a classroom where a group of people discuss issues.
For example, if an unfamiliar program is to be implemented, a group discussion on the new program would allow employees to ask questions and provide ideas on how the program would work best.
A better form of training than lectures, it allows all trainees to discuss issues concerning the new program. It also enables every attendee to voice different ideas and bounce them off one another.
Example: Truck drivers could have group discussions and tutorials on safety issues they face on the road. This is a good way to gain feedback and suggestions from other drivers.
Role playing allows employees to act out issues that could occur in the workplace. Key skills often touched upon are negotiating and teamwork.
A role play could take place between two people simulating an issue that could arise in the workplace. This could occur with a group of people split into pairs, or whereby two people role play in front of the classroom.
Role playing can be effective in connecting theory and practice, but may not be popular with people who don´t feel comfortable performing in front of a group of people.
Example: Truck drivers could role play an issue such as a large line-up of trucks is found at the weighing station and one driver tells another that he might as well go ahead and skip the whole thing. Or role play a driver who gets pulled over by a police officer and doesn´t agree with the speeding charge.
Management games simulate real-life issues faced in the workplace. They attract all types of trainees including active, practical and reflective employees.
Some examples of management games could include:
- Computer simulations of business situations that managers ´play´.
- Board games that simulate a business situation.
- Games surrounding thought and creativity – to help managers find creative ways to solve problems in the workplace, or to implement innovative ideas.
Example: In a trucking business, managers could create games that teach truckers the impact of late deliveries, poor customer service or unsafe driving.
A nice break from regular classroom or computer-based training, the usual purpose of outdoor training is to develop teamwork skills.
Some examples include:
- Wilderness or adventure training – participants live outdoors and engage in activities like whitewater rafting, sailing, and mountain climbing.
- Low-impact programming – equipment can include simple props or a permanently installed “low ropes” course.
- High-impact programming – Could include navigating a 40-foot “high ropes” course, rock climbing, or rappelling.
Outgoing and active participants may get the most out of this form of training. One risk trainers might encounter is distraction, or people who don´t like outdoor activities.
Example: As truck drivers are often on the road alone, they could participate in a nature-training course along with depot personnel to build esprit de corps.
Films & Videos
Films and videos can be used on their own or in conjunction with other training methods.
To be truly effective, training films and videos should be geared towards a specific objective. Only if they are produced effectively, will they keep the trainees attention. They are also effective in stimulating discussion on specific issues after the film or video is finished.
Films and videos are good training tools, but have some of the same disadvantages as a lecture – i.e., no interaction from the trainees.
A few risks to think about – showing a film or video from an outside source may not touch on issues directly affecting a specific company. Trainees may find the information very interesting but irrelevant to their position in the company.
Some trainers like to show videos as a break from another training method, i.e. as a break from a lecture instead of a coffee break.
This is not a good idea for two reasons. One: after a long lecture, trainees will usually want a break from any training material, so a training film wouldn´t be too popular. Two: using films and videos solely for the purpose of a break could get expensive.
Example: Videos for truckers could show the proper way to interact with customers or illustrate preventive maintenance techniques.
Case studies provide trainees with a chance to analyze and discuss real workplace issues. They develop analytical and problem-solving skills, and provide practical illustrations of principle or theory. They can also build a strong sense of teamwork as teams struggle together to make sense of a case.
All types of issues could be covered – i.e. how to handle a new product launch.
Example: Truck drivers could use case studies to learn what issues have been faced in the trucking industry in the past and what they could do if a similar situation were to occur.
Basically planned reading is pre-stage preparation to more formal methods of training. Some trainees need to grasp specific issues before heading into the classroom or the team-building session.
Planned reading will provide employees with a better idea of what the issues are, giving them a chance to think of any questions beforehand.
Example: Here we may be stretching if we think that truckers are going to read through a lot of material the training department sends them.