A recent survey found that companies spend around $1000 per employee on training, and that amount keeps going up.
Even when people are hired with good skills and abilities, they often need some sort of training to acclimate them to the new job.
Developing a successful training program takes careful planning and assessment before the actual training.
Needs Assessment: What does someone need to know to do the job?
Preparation: Do the trainees have the necessary background knowledge to learn the material?
If not, what types of remedial steps can be taken?
Motivation: Are the trainees motivated to learn? How can we set up the training program to keep motivation high?
Specific Goals Improve Motivation
Challenging Goals are Better than Easy Goals
The Trainees need to Accept the Goal that is Set for Them
Feedback on how much progress is being made toward the goals should be provided.
Self-efficacy: Trainees must believe that they have the ability to learn the material. Otherwise they will not be motivated to learn.
The training program is going to take place in an environment that is not the same as the one where the work will actually take place. The goal of training is to teach things that will actually be used in the workplace. Transfer Climate means how well is the actual workplace/organization organized in a way to promote the use of the newly learned material.
There are many things that can create a negative transfer climate. For example:
The actual tasks to be done may be different in some ways from the training tasks.
The physical environment may be different.
Supervisors and Co-workers may not respond favorably to the use of new methods.
The consequences of failure may be different.
If an organizational assessment tells you that there is a negative transfer climate, steps should be taken to change it. For example:
Rewards & encouragement for using training on the job.
Availability of training aids at the workplace.
Setting goals for accomplishing a certain level of performance, by a certain time, once back on the job.
‘brush-up’ or refresher courses a few months after training.
A negative training climate can also be attacked in the training program. For example:
Changing to training tasks & training environments that are more similar to the actual workplace.
Teaching resistance to negative responses from co-workers.
Making it clear how the new behaviors will make the trainee’s life better (including improving performance, career advancement, etc).
The Nature of the Actual Training
“The goal in training system design is not perfect physical fidelity…”
That is, the training task doesn’t have to be exactly the same as the actual work task.
“… because the reason most training systems exist is that you cannot train an individual on the exact tasks that constitute the job …”
For example, because it is too dangerous (e.g., fighter pilot) or too costly, etc.
Is this true for every job?
“In almost all situations, the task is some simulation of the actual job … In these situations, the goal is to choose simulated tasks that call for the KSAs that need to be learned. This type of training environment is typically known as one that has psychological fidelity … in the sense that it sets the stage for the behavioral processes or KSAs that need to be learned.”
Some elements of successful training
Practice to the point of overlearning
Present Frequent Feedback
Positive and immediate feedback is better than delayed and negative feedback.
Material should be presented in a structured fashion that increases its meaningfulness.
Part learning versus Whole learning
Whole Learning (Learning the whole task at once) is best for simple tasks
Part Learning (Breaking the task into parts and learning each one separately) is better for complex tasks.
Massed versus Spaced Learning
Massed Learning (Long training sessions, but ‘massed’ into one or a few time periods) can be more efficient cost effective.
Spaced Learning (Shorter individual sessions, but spread out over many time periods) generally is better for long-term retention of the material.
Post Training Assessment
Two Goals: To Evaluate the Trainee & To Evaluate the Training Program
Training-Level Criteria: How well does the trainee do, and how does the trainee react, immediately after the training.
Reactions of the trainees (Reactions Criteria).
How much do the trainees say they liked the training, and how much do they say they learned.
Does this really reflect how good the training is, or how much the trainee’s performance will improve?
Learning of the Material (Learning Criteria)
A test of whether the trainees know what the training was supposed to teach, or can do what the training was supposed to teach.
The test should be explicitly connected to the objectives of the training as it was identified in the needs assessment.
The test should have construct validity.
Performance Level Criteria (Criteria looking at how well the training transfers to the job).
Behavior on the job (Behavior Criteria)
Results for the organization (Results Criteria)
“The achievement of some organizational objective”. Did the training do what the bosses wanted it to do (e.g., reductions in costs, in turnover, increase morale, improve efficiency,…).