Instructional Design: On-the-Job-Training (OJT)
On-the-Job-Training takes place in a normal work setting. Although OJT can be an excellent training device, some training activities view OJT as a quick and easy way to solve a training problem. They look at the problem for a short period of time and then tell the business unit, “Train them the best you can and if you have any problems come see us.” However, the design, development, and implementation of the OJT learning platform needs the same care and attention as any other training or learning platform.
OJT is normally divided into two types: Structured (formal) and Unstructured (informal) (DeSimone, Werner, 2012). Unstructured OJT programs are of course often thrown together with no thought or planning, such as having a new employee watching an experienced one. These types of programs lead to increased error rates, lower productivity, and decreased training efficiency (Jacobs, Jones, 1995).
Structured OJT programs have been planned and are led by trained coaches, however they are employees who have other primary duties and normally only instruct when they are assigned an employee who needs to be trained in their primary area of expertise.
OJT's main advantage is that it facilitates transfer of learning as the learners have immediate opportunities to practice and perform in the context in which they will be working.
Its main limitations are the job site may have physical constraints and distractions that could inhibit learning and using expensive equipment for training can result in costly damage and disruption of production schedules. In addition, the people selected to train others often have poor instructing skills. For example, they will show the learner how to perform a task, but not let them practice it.
Guidelines for Implementing OJT
- The required task can be self-learned by individual or groups in the workplace
- Task decay rate is very high
- Do not use if:
- sufficient equipment is not available for learners to practice on
- the workplace cannot absorb the learners adequately
- training would be disruptive to normal operations
When preparing for OJT, the supervisors and OJT coaches must know the training material, have easy access to the training material, and know the procedures for providing OJT. You need to provide them with some instruction in learning methods. In some cases, you might want to use instructors in the initial instruction, and then hand the learners over to the OJT coaches (blended solution).
DeSimone, R. L., Werner, J. M. (2012). Human Resource Development. Mason, OH.: South-Western College Pub.
Jacobs, R. L. Jones, M. J. (1995). Structured on-the-job training. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.