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The Trainer's Handbook by Karen Lawson

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Chapter 16Training On the Job

The Need for Structured On-the-Job Training

All of us have experienced on-the-job training in our lives, both as trainer and trainee. Think about how you learned to ride a bike or tie your shoe laces as a child. Then, perhaps as a parent you needed to teach those same skills to your children. If you think about it, the process used to teach or learn life skills is an example of on-the-job training. Then you probably experienced a similar process when you entered the workplace and had to learn a new job. In far too many situations, the training you did receive was either haphazard or, at best, conducted using an unstructured approach such as shadowing, in which a new employee merely follows an experienced employee. On-the-job approaches such as “shadow Sally and Sam” (observation and imitation), “trial-and-error” (performance tryouts), and “20 questions” (verbal instruction) are the most common and least effective ways to learn a job or task.

Without a planned approach, instruction and procedures are not standardized, ...

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