Best and Worst Training Experience

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Week 4

Main Topic: Understanding Adult Learning and the Transfer of Training

Subtopics:

  • Adult Learning Theory
  • Social Learning theory
  • Other Learning Theories
  • Transfer of Training

Relevant Course Objective(s): This week’s material addresses Course Objectives 5 and 6.

Week 4 Learning Objectives:

At the end of this week, you should be able to:

  • Apply adult learning theory
  • Apply social learning theory
  • Describe other learning theories
  • Explain how training is transferred from the classroom to the job

Week 5

Main Topic: Training Design, Development, and Facilitation

Subtopics:

  • Learning Objectives
  • The Gagne-Briggs Instructional Design model
  • Training Facilitation

Week 7

Introduction to Traditional Training Methodologies

This week our focus will be on the various training methodologies or modes that trainers use to implement training programs. The training method is driven by several requirements including the type of training, the audience, the budget, content, timeframe, and/or the objectives. For example, onboarding training might be done on-site using lectures and discussions to allow new employees the opportunity to network with people from the other departments, whereas customer service training might be done on-the-job using scenarios, behavior modeling, and role plays that mimic the work environment. While we understand that a lot of training is moving to a blended format, this week we will focus more on traditional training methods. Next week we will focus on e-learning and the use of technology.

Types of Traditional Training

The video for this week classifies traditional training methods into three categories – presentation, hands-on, and group. The presentation method is an instructor-led method where the instructor presents verbal or written information while the trainee listens passively. The hands-on method is more interactive and requires the trainee to be actively involved in the learning. In group training methods, trainers use experiential exercises to help groups improve their processes and effectiveness. Let’s look at some examples of the three classifications of traditional training methods.

Presentation Methods

Lecture: The lecture is the most predominant presentation method. This method involves a trainer presenting information to an audience of trainees. It is an inexpensive way to share information with large groups efficiently. The trainees sit and listen while the instructor speaks. This type of instructor-led presentation sometimes includes an audio-visual component.

Lecture with Discussion: This adaptation of the lecture mode adds a discussion to the lecture. In this mode, the trainer asks a question or seeks input from the trainee about a topic related to the training content. It is a two-way communication mode because the trainee is actively engaged in the content.

Lecture with Demonstration and Discussion: This adaptation of the lecture mode integrates a demonstration into the lecture and discussion. In this mode the trainer (lecturer) shows the trainee how to do something or how something works. The demonstration can be how to do something as in behavior modeling or how something works like using a piece of equipment. The trainee performs the task? after watching the demonstration and is given feedback by the instructor. This approach provides for individual and group discussion along with feedback from the instructor.

Hands-on Methods

On-the-Job (OJT): This method occurs mostly at the job site and focuses on the trainee learning the job. The trainee observes a subject matter expert performing the job and then tries to emulate the expert’s behavior. The trainee is usually given feedback on his or her performance. The OJT method can be used in many situations including newly hired employees, transferred or promoted employees, or cross training employees. There are several types of OJT. They include coaching, mentoring, job rotation, and apprenticeships.

Coaching is usually a one-on-one method where an individual coach works with a trainee to improve a skill, competency, or behavior. Coaches are used in organizations for a variety of situations from helping senior leaders with their management skills to helping individual contributors with presentation skills. Coaches usually go through a certification process that accredits their learning and gives them a professional credential. Mentoring is a form of internal organizational coaching where a more senior employee provides guidance on how the organization operates and career skills to a junior employee.

Job Rotation is a systematic OJT technique where organizations rotate employees through several jobs within the organization as a way to help them learn the knowledge and skills required to perform different jobs in the organization. It enhances the career of the employee and provides the organization with a cadre of multi-skilled employees.

Apprenticeships trace their origins back to the Middle Ages when skilled trades people passed their knowledge on to others over a period of time. Most apprenticeships today occur in skilled trades like cooking, electrical work, or auto repair. Apprentice programs usually require a set number of classroom hours along with OJT experience.

Simulation: The simulation is a training method where trainees are presented with a real-world situation that mimics their work environment. The simulation method could focus on equipment like flight simulators or interpersonal skills like role playing, behavior modeling, case studies, or in-basket exercises. At the conclusion of the simulation the trainees are given feedback on their performance.

Business Games are simulations that attempt to replicate an organization or an industry. For example, many universities use a simulation called ‘The BSG’ or Business Strategy Game (www.bsg-online.com). In The BSG, teams of students manage an international shoe company and make decisions that impact the bottom line. Other types of games, such as Jeopardy or Family Feud, can be used to review information presented in the training.

In the Role Play simulation, an individual or group is given a scenario related to their work and the course content. They act-out the situation and are given feedback by the group or the trainer. This type of simulation allows trainees to practice a skill in a safe environment where they can make mistakes and not suffer consequences.

Behavior Modeling is often associated with simulation and role playing because after the trainee observes a video or demonstration of the model behavior they practice it in a role play.

Group Methods

Team Building Training is a type of group training that focus on individuals who work together as a team. The focus of this type of training is to help the team members become more effective and efficient in their operations. The training includes topics like setting team norms, dealing with conflict in the team, running effective meetings, and problem solving.

Adventure Learning (AL) is a type of group training where trainees engage in activities, games, and/or competitions usually of a physical nature outside the workplace. The purpose of this experiential learning is to help the trainees develop skills in leadership, problem solving, decision-making, team work, and interpersonal communication. Activities like wall climbing, navigating rope courses, drum circles, and cooking competitions are often part of an AL training program.

Action Learning is a type of group training method where a team or work group is given an actu

Week 8

Introduction to E-Learning

E-learning (EL) has evolved as an alternative to face-to-face classroom learning. EL uses the computer to deliver content to trainees at remote locations. It can be delivered thru local area networks (LAN) or the internet/intranet to mobile devices like cell phones, tablets, or laptop computers. EL learning uses many traditional methods like presentations (lecture, discussions), hands-on (simulations, case studies, business games, behavior modeling with skill practice), and team work training. EL learning is not limited by time or location. Trainees can access it at any time or anywhere. Trainers use a variety of concepts and tools from the technology field in the delivery of this training. Here are some of the more popular concepts and tools.

Synchronous, Asynchronous, and Blended Learning

The mode of delivering the training can be synchronous (information relay happens at same time) or asynchronous (information relay has a time lag). Examples of synchronous learning are chat rooms, online conferences or webinars that use Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) like WebEx or SKYPE. Many VOIPs have a recording feature to help trainees review material that they might have missed during the original conference. Examples of asynchronous learning include online discussions and emails. Also, training can be delivered in a ‘blended’ mode which means a portion of the training is delivered via the face-to-face classroom and a portion of the training is delivered virtually using a computer.

LMS (Learning Management System)

The LMS is a software application that trainers use to manage the training process. It is both an administrative and a training development and delivery tool. It helps trainers not only track and report training but also deliver the training virtually. The LMS handles all aspects of the training process. The LMS can help a manager track the development of their employees. It enables trainees to view course catalogues, register for courses, and track their progress in completing development activities. It keeps records of everything from course completions and grades on assignments to course evaluations. Organizations often use the tool for compliance training reporting. Finally, the LMS can be integrated with the other HR systems such as the Performance Management system to link to compensation or succession planning.

Advantages and Disadvantages of EL

Some of the advantages of EL include:

  • Learner can access the training anywhere at any time. To a degree the learner can control the pace. While there may be time limits set on the completion of the training, the trainee is not forced to attend a class to learn the information. The learner can access the class at any time during the day or evening.
  • In geographically dispersed organizations, learners can attend training without the time and expense of travel.
  • The course content is consistent. In compliance type training, it is important that everyone receives the same content.
  • The training is easily tracked for reporting purposes.
  • The course can be updated easily and inexpensively.
  • Everyone has an equal opportunity to participate; in a face-to-face classroom, a few people can dominate a discussion.
  • Learning can be delivered faster to large groups of employees.
  • Content can be linked to current experts in field.

Some of the Disadvantages of EL include:

  • Disruptions in internet access can delay learning.
  • Requires strong diligence by trainer to make sure hyperlinks are active and technology is current.
  • Requires self-discipline of learner because it is largely self-paced instruction.
  • Many organizations merely convert traditional courses to EL without understanding the need to customize and contextualize the learning to a digital environment.
  • Can be ineffective with learners with low computer literacy or computer hardware limitations.

Leveraging Technology

If you review the ATD Competency Model that we have been discussing this semester, you will see that ‘Technology Literacy’ is a Foundational Competency. In addition, it is part of three ‘Areas of Expertise’ — Instructional Design, Training Delivery, and Learning Technology. Integrating effective formal and informal technology into TD is an important skill for training professionals to master.

In your readings for this week, there is an article that focuses on social media and its role in learning. Social media is more than a marketing tool. It can be a powerful tool that many learners, especially millennials, use to learn. There are many examples of how social learning tools enhance learning. People ask for information on blogs. They ‘Google’ information from internet sites. They join sites like LinkedIn to get career information and network. They watch TED Talks (http://www.ted.com/). They take free short courses from the Khan Academy (https://www.khanacademy.org/), and they sign up for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offered by universities (https://www.mooc-list.com/).

Virtual reality (VR) is another technology tool that trainers use to simulate the environment. In the VR simulated environment, the scenario appears real to the trainee’s senses because the devices attached to the computer relay information to the trainee. This allows the trainee a hands on experience in the environment. Examples of this type of technology can be found in flight simulators, video games, ‘Second Life Virtual World,’ robotic surgical training for doctors, and many hazardous waste disposal training programs. Virtual reality allows the trainee a hands-on training experience in a safe environment where they can learn without the consequences of catastrophic mistakes.

Digital Learning and Higher Education

Since we are looking at learning from both a corporate and academic perspective, there is an article by Malcolm Brown, Director of the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, on how digital technology is changing higher education. Brown (2015) writes that digital learning has three characteristics: personalization, modification of learning delivery models to accommodate this personalization, and using data analytics to enhance the learning experience. Technology enables trainers to modularize learning so that it can be customized to the learner. For example, trainers could develop something like an iTunes playlist of modules for each individual learner to fit their needs and learning style. Using hybrid social media delivery models enables trainers to deliver training exactly when the learner needs it. Finally, using data analytics, the instructor or digital tutor can intervene in the learning at exactly the time the learner needs help.

Brown (2015) goes on to describe other technology trends that are impacting the delivery of learning. They include:

  • Mobile computing and the increased use of smart phones and tablet computers to access learning.
  • The shift away from textbooks to open educational resources (OERs) as a way to individualize learning while reducing the cost to the learner.
  • The increased use of the adaptive learning model which combines learning analytics and the lab/tutor concept to individualize the learning.

To summarize, digital learning is disrupting the traditional models of learning where our paradigm of learning is a classroom led by an instructor with a textbook and audio-visual equipment and a group of students facing the instructor.

Reference:
Brown, M. (2015, June 22). Six trajectories for digital technology in higher education. EDUCAUSE Review. Retrieved from
http://er.educause.edu/articles/2015/6/six-trajectories-for-digital-technology-in-higher-education

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