TRAINING PROCESS

Training is essential for job success. It can lead to higher production, fewer mistakes, greater job satisfaction and lower turnover. These benefits accrue to both the trainee and the organisation, if managers understand the principles behind the training process. To this end, training efforts must invariably follow certain learning-oriented guidelines.
Modelling
Modelling is simply copying someone else’s behaviour. Passive class room learning does not leave any room for modelling. If we want to change people, it would be a good idea to have videotapes of people showing the desired behaviour. The selected model should provide the right kind of behaviour to be copied by others. A great deal of human behaviour is learned by modelling others. Children learn by modelling parents and older children, they are quite comfortable with the process by the time they grow up. As experts put it. “managers tend to manage as they were managed!”
Motivation
For learning to take place, intention to learn is important. When the employee is motivated, he pays attention to what is being said, done and presented. Motivation to learn is influenced by the answers to questions such as: How important is my job to me? How important is the information? Will learning help me progress in the company? etc. People learn more quickly when the material is important and relevant to them. Learning is usually quicker and long-lasting when the learner participates actively. Most people, for example, never forget how to ride a bicycle because they took an active part in the learning process!
Reinforcement
If a behaviour is rewarded, it probably will be repeated. Positive reinforcement consists of rewarding desired behaviours. People avoid certain behaviours that invite criticism and punishment. A bank officer would want to do a post graduate course in finance, if it earns him increments and makes him eligible for further promotions. Both the external rewards (investments, praise) and the internal rewards (a feeling of pride and achievement)
associated with desired behaviours compel subjects to learn properly. To be effective, the trainer must reward desired behaviours only. If he rewards poor performance, the results may be disastrous: good performers may quit in frustration, accidents may go up, productivity may suffer. The reinforcement principle is also based on the premise that punishment is less effective in learning than reward. Punishment is a pointer to undesirable behaviours. When administered, it causes pain to the employee. He may or may not repeat the mistakes. The reactions may be mild or wild. Action taken to repeal a person Orientation & Training from undesirable action is punishment. If administered properly, punishment may force the trainee to modify the undesired or incorrect behaviours.
Feedback
People learn best if reinforcement is given as soon as possible after training. Every employee wants to know what is expected of him and how well he is doing. If he is off the track, somebody must put him back on the rails. The errors in such cases must be rectified immediately. The trainee after learning the right behaviour is motivated to do things in a ‘right’ way and earn the associated rewards. Positive feedback (showing the trainee the right way of doing things) is to be preferred to negative feedback (telling the trainee that he is not correct) when we want to change behaviour.
Spaced Practice
Learning takes place easily if the practice sessions are spread over a period of time. New employees learn better if the orientation programme is spread over a two or three day period, instead of covering it all in one day. For memorising tasks, ‘massed’ practice is usually more effective. Imagine the way schools ask the kids to say the Lord’s prayer aloud. Can you memorise a long poem by learning only one line per day? You tend to forget the beginning of the poem by the time you reach the last stanza. For ‘acquiring’ skills as stated by Mathis and Jackson, spaced practice is usually the best. This incremental approach to skill acquisition minimises the physical fatigue that deters learning.
Whole Learning
The concept of whole learning suggests that employees learn better if the job information is explained as an entire logical process, so that they can see how the various actions fit together into the ‘big picture’. A broad overview of what the trainee would be doing on the job should be given top priority, if learning has to take place quickly. Research studies have also indicated that it is more efficient to practice a whole task all at once rather than trying to master the various components of the task at different intervals.
Active Practice
‘Practice makes a man perfect’: so said Bacon. To be a swimmer, you should plunge into water instead of simply reading about swimming or looking at films of the worlds’ best swimmers. Learning is enhanced when trainees are provided ample opportunities to repeat the task. For maximum benefit, practice sessions should be distributed over time. ‘Practice makes a man perfect’: so said Bacon. To be a swimmer, you should plunge into water instead of simply reading about swimming or looking at films of the worlds’ best swimmers. Learning is enhanced when trainees are provided ample opportunities to repeat the task. For maximum benefit, practice sessions should be distributed over time.
Need Analysis
Training efforts must aim at meeting the requirements of the organisation (long-term) and the individual employees (short-term). This involves finding answers to questions such as: Whether training is needed? If yes, where is it needed? Which training is needed? etc. Once we identify training gaps within the organisation, it becomes easy to design an appropriate training programme. Training needs can be identified through the following types of analysis, as shown in Box 8.2.
1. Organisational analysis: It involves a study of the entire organisation in terms of its objectives, its resources, the utilisation of these resources, in order to achieve stated objectives and its interaction pattern with environment. The important elements that are closely examined in this connection are:
i. Analysis of objectives: This is a study of short term and long term objectives and the strategies followed at various levels to meet these objectives.
ii. Resource utilisation analysis: How the various organisational resources (human, physical and financial) are put to use is the main focus of this study. The contributions of various departments are also examined by establishing efficiency indices for each unit. This is done to find out comparative labour costs, whether a unit is under-manned or over-manned.
iii. Environmental scanning: Here the economic, political, socio-cultural and technological environment of the organisation is examined.

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