How to Provide On-the-Job Training to Reinforce Learning

How to Provide On-the-Job Training to Reinforce Learning
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On-the-Job Training to Reinforce Learning
On-the-job training to reinforce learning has significant advantages over the kind of old-school training that occurs in a classroom environment.  But it, too, can be a waste of training time unless it’s done right.

Most training gurus agree that on-the-job training is the most effective way to learn the skills, knowledge, and competencies required for a specific job.  It’s real-time and robust practice and learning as opposed to just hearing about or role playing your way through theoretical workplace situations.

However, like any training, if it is not targeted to specific and relevant skills, measured for effective application, and continually encouraged, it will have little effect on improving overall performance.

Structure Is Needed
Just having a less experienced employee shadow a more experienced employee does not ensure that the best learning is being passed along in the most effective way.  Training or observation “by itself” will not drive tangible change or lasting business results.

In fact, after measuring over 800 training programs, we know that only 1-in-5 people will change their behavior and performance on-the-job from training alone.  For training to work, you need careful planning and structure.

4 Critical Factors of Effective On-the-Job Training

  1. Success
    Identifying what makes someone successful in the role.  Strat by clearly defining what would constitute undeniably high performance and then look carefully at your star performers to define what they do — their responsibilities, their activities, and their results.
  2. Competencies
    Determining the key competencies required to be successful for a specific role. What competencies do your high performers demonstrate that account for their job proficiency and high performance?These, then, are the critical few competencies toward which you need to train, practice, coach, measure, and reinforce.
  3. Opportunities
    Knowing what opportunities are needed for learning those key competencies.It is not enough to simply expose a learner to the job.  You need to thoughtfully create opportunities for hands-on practice, learning, and feedback.  Learners need to experience the actual challenges of the job and absorb how to perform required tasks reliably.

    Provide frequent and relevant opportunities to use real work and to get real work done while learning.

  4. Accountability
    Measuring that the competencies have been learned and successfully applied on-the-job at the required level of proficiency?

    This is where the rubber meets the road in terms of performance and accountability.The only way to ensure that participants learn the skills and knowledge is to require them to demonstrate proficiency when it counts.  Then as the learner demonstrates performance, they can opt out of practice on a specific competency and progress to the next level.

The Bottom Line
We know that training “by itself” will not drive tangible behavior change or lasting business results.  Be sure you plan to train to the right competencies, provide meaningful opportunities for learning, and measure accountability for execution.

To learn more about how to improve your training outcomes, download the Top 10 Training Best Practices from High Performing Learning Organizations

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