Everything you need to know about – Off the Job Training Methods. In off the job training method, trainee is separated from the job situation and his attention is focused upon learning the material related to his future job performance.
Since the trainee is not distracted by job requirements, he can place his entire concentration on learning the job rather than spending his time in performing it.
There is an opportunity for freedom of expression for the trainees.
“Off- the-job training” simply means that training is not a part of everyday job activity. The actual location may be in the company classroom or in places which are owned by the company or in universities or associations which have no connections with the company.
These include classroom activities like lectures, special study, films, case studies, role-playing, programmed instructions, laboratory training, etc.
The various off the job training methods are:-
1. Lecture (Classroom Instruction) 2. Audio-Visual Techniques 3. Conference (Discussion) 4. Role Playing 5. Case Study 6. Simulation 7. Programmed Instruction 8. Computer Assisted Instruction 9. Syndicate Methods 10. Behaviour Modelling
11. Sensitivity Training 12. Fish Bowl Exercise 13 .Seminar or Team Discussion 14. Laboratory Training 15. Tele-Training and 16. Experimental Exercises.
Off the Job Training Methods: Lecture Method, Conference Method, Role Playing, Simulation, Behaviour Modelling and Others
Off the Job Training Methods – Top 11 Methods: Lecture Method, Audio-Visual Techniques, Conference Method, Role Playing, Case Study, Simulation and a Few Others
Off-the-Job methods are those training and development programmes that take place away from the daily pressures of the job and are conducted by highly competent outside resource people who often serve as trainers, which is one of the main advantages of this method. Such people include technicians, consultants, and University Faculty.
Its major drawback is the transfer problem. Too often trainees learn new facts and principles at lectures, workshops and conferences but have no idea how to apply what they have learned, once they are back in their jobs.
The different off the job training methods are:
The lecture method is a popular form of instruction in educational institution. Even though the effectiveness of the lecture method is often questioned, many instructors find themselves 30% to 50% of their time lecturing. It is also used in industry. Lectures consist of meetings in which one or a small number of those present actually play an active part.
The lecturer may be a member of the company or a guest speaker. However, the learner only listens. In this the lecturer is active, and learner is passive.
Before preparing the lecture, four important points should be considered:
(i) Who is your audience?
(ii) What is your audience?
(iii) What is the time available?
(iv) What is the subject matter?
It should be brief and to the point, presenting the theme of the subject in a manner that arouses the interest of the audience from the start. The speaker should be poised, courteous and sincere. An actions and gestures should be spontaneous.
Affectations are extremely distracting and annoying. It is best to use simple language that has less chance of being misunderstood. A lecturer’s role is to make difficult things simple, not the reverse.
With the lecture method, large numbers of people can be trained / taught at the same time. However, the more diversified the audience, the more general the content usually becomes. This method is quite cost-efficient and can be effective. Lecture method has been found to be effective for the acquisition of knowledge and has more participant acceptability than training directions believe.
Formal lecturing is useful when basic theoretical knowledge has to be built up before practice or participate training is of any use. When the gist of some research work is to be communicated, the lecture method is convenient. With a more homogenous audience, a trainer can direct the lecture to specific topics and techniques, which is often more beneficial than using some broad-based material.
Lecture method is not free from its limitations. It gives very little opportunity for active practice, development, over learning, knowledge of results or transfer of learning. It produces staleness and monotony resulting in less absorption of knowledge by students. Trainees themselves have to understand and personalize the content of the lecture.
There is little chance for dialogue, questions, or discussions of individual problems and special interests. The spirit of inquiry, which is the basis of all learning, is curbed. It is not suitable for courses where people with work experience are participating. This method involves one way communication, that is, no interaction among the group members is encouraged.
The lecturers are not aware of the thought processes of the audience. This method cannot readily adopt itself to individual differences which may arise among the trainees in their personality characteristics, motivation etc. The lecture method is farthest from reality. This method is weak in such classic training principles as practice, feedback, and transfer while popular it is not the best method to use for skill acquisition.
Audio-visual techniques covers an array of training techniques, such as – films, slides, and videotapes. It allows participants to see while listening and is usually quite good at capturing their interests. These methods allow a trainer’s message to be uniformly given to numerous organizational locations at one time and to be reused as often as required.
(i) Blackboard – It is inexpensive and generally available in all lecture halls. Use of a blackboard requires no prior preparation. It is very useful for demonstrating calculations and formulations. One of the major disadvantages in the use of a blackboard is that the speaker requires to turn away from the audience. This causes the instructor very often to talk to the board and not to the group.
(ii) Flip Chart – It can replace the blackboard with the advantage that no erasing is needed. It is specially useful for single presentations which may not justify the designing and preparation of costly visuals. Limitations of the space is the major disadvantage. Drawings have to be stored flat to avoid damage.
(iii) Magnetic Board – It can be used for showing prepared visuals. It can also be used as a blackboard. Magnets may be used as drawing pins for its usage as pin-up boards. It is very heavy and portability creates problem.
(iv) Flannel Board – Flannel board visual consists of a paper surface seen by the audience and the flocked material on the side away from the audience that holds the visual in place. This cannot be used to explain some new points which may arise.
(v) Overhead Projector – It projects large-size transport images onto a screen under normal daylight conditions.
Audio-visual is particularly useful in training people in a work process or sequence. People can more readily trace the pattern of work flow when it is laid out graphically. The trainer can always face his audience retaining eye contact with participants and making his talk more effective.
Moreover, transparencies can be used without darkening the lecture hall completely enabling students to take notes. Konz and Duckey (1969) demonstrated that a slide presentation was superior to verbal and printed instruction in training employees to complete various work assembly operations.
Videotape is particularly useful in recording employees’ job behaviours. Their performance can be taped and then observed and evaluated for effective and ineffective behaviours. The method is excellent for providing feedback.
A disadvantage is that the trainer cannot modify formal visuals in response to new situations and in answering questions. It is difficult to modify these training methods. If the training content changes, a whole new film has to be made. The production cost of training films can be quite substantial. However, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
Audio-visual techniques save time as the copies of the same TV tapes or films can be mailed to all the plants at one time. Trainees can also be provided with immediate visual feedback of their behaviours when necessary (as in the case of sales presentation or electrical assembly procedures).
The growth of video presentations has been encouraged by the use of satellite communications to bring courses into the worksite, particularly in engineering and other technical fields.
This method encourages the participation of all members of the group in an exchange of opinions, ideas, and criticisms. It is a small group discussion in which the leader plays a neutral role providing guidances and feedback. Inspite of the intention to encourage general participation, the conferences are frequently dominated by a few, with the majority no more active than they would be at a lecture.
This is particularly effective if the ratio of trainees to trainers is not very large. This method is useful when the material needs clarification and elaboration or where a lively discussion would facilitate understanding.
The main objectives of the conference method are – (i) developing the decision making and problem solving skills of personnel, (ii) presenting new and sometimes complicated material, (iii) changing or modifying attitudes. Conference method is more effective than the lecture in changing adult behaviour and also modifying attitudes.
Sometimes the lecture method can be followed up with a conference, giving the participants a chance to share opinions about the material. An effective trainer can get all the participants involved, even the less vocal ones. The success of this method depends heavily on the skills, personality and education of the discussion leader.
The conference method can draw on the learning principles of motivation and feedback. Stimulated participants readily join in the discussion and then receive feedback on their ideas from others in the group. This method is used to enhance knowledge or attitudinal development.
Perhaps because this method does not usually involve any tangible assets other than people, the attitudes, enthusiasm and verbal communication skills of the participants affect the outcome more than for any other training method. This method is only restricted to small groups and, therefore, it proves to be costly.
Learning is facilitated by active participation rather than passive reception. Role-playing believes in active participation. This is a training method often aimed at enhancing either human relations skills or sales techniques. Role playing can be defined as an educational or therapeutic technique in which some problems involving human interaction, real or imaginary is presented and then spontaneously acted out.
Participants suggest how the problem could be handled more effectively in the future. This “acting out” is followed by discussion and analysis to determine what happened and why and, if necessary, how the problem could be better handled in future. Role-playing is less tightly structured than acting, where performers have to say set lines on cue.
Participants are assigned roles in the scenario to be enacted, so, in this way, it is a device that forces trainees to assume different identities. Usually participants exaggerate each other’s behaviour. Ideally, they get to see themselves as others see them.
The experience may create greater empathy and tolerance of individual differences and is, therefore, well suited to diversity training, which aims to create a work environment conducive to a diverse workforce.
The unique values of role playing include the following:
i. It requires the person to carry out a thought or decision he may have reached. Role playing experience demonstrates the gap between thinking and doing.
ii. It permits the practice of carrying out an action and makes it clear that good human relations require skill.
iii. Attitudinal changes are effectively accomplished by placing persons in specified roles.
iv. It trains a person to be aware of, and sensitive to the feelings of others. This information serves as a feedback of the effect his behaviour has on other people.
v. A fuller appreciation of the important part played by feelings in determining behaviour in social situations is developed.
vi. Each person is able to discover his own personal faults.
vii. It permits training in the control of feelings and emotions.
The two most important types of Role-play method are – structured role play and spontaneous role play. Structured role play is characterized by the use of written cases selected from text or written to meet organizational training objectives. It can be further subdivided into three types – Single Role Play, Multiple Role Play and Role Rotation.
Single Role Play consists of two or three playing out roles in front of a class. The basic advantage of this method is that it allows the entire class to examine in depth all the dynamics and complexities involved when individuals attempt to solve a problem and/or understand one another.
Three basic disadvantages are – (a) some players tend to feel embarrassed performing in front of the entire class, (b) If players do badly, it may be difficult for the trainer to handle the negative comments about them that are likely to emerge in the discussion that follows role-play, (c) regardless of the number of roles in any written role play, burden is placed on only one of the players.
In the Multiple Role Play, all trainees are players. Each player is given a written role, or an assignment as an observer and then the entire class, role plays at the same time. It causes almost no embarrassment to the players and sharply reduces the problems related to negative comments about ineffective role playing behaviour. The problem with this type is that very little time can be allowed for the discussion of process experiences of each individual group.
Role rotation consists typically of having one person play a role, usually that of an individual who has a problem and having several class members attempt to use their skills to handle the situation. Participants tend to feel less embarrassed and more willing.
Spontaneous Role Play is used to help the participant acquire an insight into his own problem and not on skill development. The trainer elicits some problem from the group itself and does not use written material. It tends to develop more deeply into the motivations and assumptions that influence a role player’s behaviour.
The major problem is that it requires extremely high skill on the part of the trainer and only few persons get an opportunity to actively participate.
a. The Warm Up – The objective of the warm-up is to get the trainees participate in a constructive manner with minimum anxiety and maximum motivation. The trainer’s introduction to the session should be such that it would arouse interest of trainees.
b. The Enactment – Before conducting the role-paly-enactment, the trainer should carry out the following – (a) Read aloud general information, (b) those who have volunteered to role play are given briefing sheets and sent out of the room with the instruction not to communicate amongst themselves, (c) the instructor should clarify all the doubts that role player might have, (d) Role players take their positions facing the class, (e) to begin the role play, the trainer sets the scene by restating the identity of the roles being enacted and making a brief statement about what has just happened when the action began.
c. Post – Enactment Discussion – In conducting post enactment discussion, reaction to role play should be obtained from the people who have acted a role play.
Role playing has been shown to be effective – (i) in studying small group leadership skills, (ii) increasing sensitivity to the motivation of others, (iii) improving interviewing skills, (iv) enhancing ability to develop innovative solutions to human relation problems, and (v) modifying attitudes. However, managerial personnel have indicated only fair acceptance of this method of training.
The advantage of Role play include the fact that participants are highly active. By “putting their feet in the other person’s shoe”, participants gain some understanding of what it is like to experience interpersonal conflict from someone else’s position. Despite legitimate criticism that some people put more emphasis on acting than on problem solving, the method has been quite useful.
Method # 5. Case Study:
By studying a case situation, trainees learn about real or hypothetical circumstances and the actions others take under those circumstances. Besides learning from the content of the case, a person can develop decision-making skills. Case method is an excellent medium for developing analytical skills.
According to K.R. Andrews (1961), “Business case is a written description of an actual situation in business which provokes in the reader the need to decide what is going on, what the situation really is or what the problem are and what can and should be done”.
Cases are usually organized around one or more problems or issues that are confronted by an organization. Cases are designed primarily to illustrate problem issues, rather than to portray “success stories”. Cases can range in length from one page to over fifty pages.
Feedback and repetition are usually lacking. One inherent difficulty is personal bias. This method calls for skills with language. But many people are sent to case-study courses primarily because they lack communication skills. According to Castore (1951) trainees may grow tired of case study after being exposed to it for a while and find other methods more involving and interesting.
When cases are meaningful and similar to work-related situations, there is some transference. There also is the advantage of participation through discussion of the case. It improves participants’ skills in problem analysis, communication and particularly brings home to the participant that nothing is absolutely “right or wrong” in the field of human behaviour. Survey results indicate that the case method is considered by training directors to be the best method of developing problem-solving skills.
Simulation is an approach that replicates certain essential characteristics of the real world organization so that the trainees can react to it as if it were the real thing and then consequently transfer what has been learned to their job. As the name implies, simulation training is based on a reproduction of some aspect of job reality.
Coppard (1976) defines simulation as – “a representation of a real life situation which attempts to duplicate selected components of the situation along with their inter-relationships in such a way that it can be manipulated by the user”. Simulation usually enhance cognitive skills, particularly decision-making.
A very popular training technique for higher-level jobs in which the employee must process large amounts of information.
The simulated environment should possess two important characteristics. Firstly, physical fidelity i.e., the extent to which to the training conditions (task, equipment, surroundings etc.,) are similar to the work environment land, secondly, psychological fidelity.
Simulations have many forms – some use expensive, technical equipment, while others are far less costly. Some simulations need only one participant, others may involve as many as 15-20 people working together as a team. Simulations are a broad-based training techniques that can be adapted to suit a company’s need.
By using the equipment simulators, workers can practise new behaviours and operate certain complex equipment free of danger to themselves. Equipment simulators can range from simple mock-ups to computer based simulations of complete environments. Some of them are utilized to train a single individual and the others are used for team training.
The in-basket simulates how managers make decisions allocated their time. The name is derived from the famous IN and Out trays found on the table of an executive. These trays are more prominent in the case of government officials and public sector managers.
The manager proceeds through the line-basket and makes decision about the matters that need attention. Usually there are 12-15 items in the in-basket; the entire exercise may take two to three hours to complete. The items or problems are presented to the manager in the form of letters, memos and memoranda, all put in the IN-Tray of the participant.
The problems could be in any field of management. One item in the in-basket may be a request for information about the cost of a product. Another item may inform the manager of the possibility of having to discipline employees. The manager responds to these items in the same way he or she would on the job.
Judges unobtrusively observe and evaluate the manager’s performance along certain dimensions, such as the quantity and quality of the work accomplished.
The in-basket exercise may reveal deficiencies in the manager’s work style. The manager gets feedback from the panel with which to enhance his or her performance on the job. The biggest advantage of this method is that it is rooted in the real life situation of the corporate world.
It effectively enhances skills in decision making and problem solving. This can be designed to focus on the activities that are part of all managerial positions. It can also be designed to emphasize certain specific aspects of performance. This method has been found particularly advantageous in assessing specific dimensions like Written Communication Skills, Sensitivity.
Risk Taking, Initiative, planning and Organization, Management Control, Use of Delegation, Problem Analysis and Decision Making.
In disadvantages, the in-basket games are expensive to construct as also to administer. This method is essentially individual and non-interactive. Thus it provides little opportunity for team- management “abilities”.
A business game has been described as a dynamic training exercise utilising a model of a business situation. This train employees in certain skills within the rules of the game, participants try to meet the stated objectives of the exercise. In these games, participants are divided into various teams which are placed in competition with each other in resolving some problem information which is supplied to all teams.
The game illustrates the value of analytic techniques such as the use of mathematical models to arrive at optimum solutions.
Business games have been developed to simulate interpersonal relations problems, financial budgeting issues, and resource allocation decisions. It is a simulation which consists of a sequential decision-making exercise structured around a hypothetical model of an organization’s operations in which participants assume roles in managing the simulated operations.
It attempts to reproduce the social-psychological and economic dynamics or organizational behaviour in an artificial setting. Participants are told the objective of the game. They are then evaluated as to whether they have met the objectives.
The main advantages of business games are that they save time, thereby providing the trainees, with many years of management experience in a few days. They are able to demonstrate some very broad but vital facets of organizational life. It helps in changing attitudes. And this is the critical change that can occur in a manager in today’s environment.
It provides experience in the application of statistical and analytical methods. Games are quite absorbing, provoking interest in participants. These games also give the opportunity to the trainees to learn from experience without actually suffering the real-life consequences of poor or bad decisions.
However, the method is not free from some limitations. It is too costly, in cases where computers are needed, the cost goes still higher. It may become a game to be won only. In this situation the learning will diminish. Some games may be too simplified models of reality to be effective for real learning of actual business situations. Many games involve only quantitative variables ignoring human elements of organization almost completely.
Business game is an important and powerful tool in the hands of a trainer. Like any powerful tool, it can produce disaster if it is not properly used. Business games are good in emphasizing the importance of long range planning. It also emphasizes that business should be run on the basis of well-established policies rather than short range opportunistic one.
It is difficult to judge the utility of simulations because they cover such a broad range of training exercises. As a rule, the closer the simulation comes to modeling the job in all respects, the better the simulation will be as a training technique. Not all simulations have involved games; some have been built to model a work process.
Simulations that do not replicate crucial aspects of the job will not be very successful. The simulations are “best” because they provide for a high degree of transfer of training to the actual job.
Needless to say, some simulations are easier than others to construct so as to maximize the transfer. When the simulators are designed one must ensure that the simulator and the actual work situation has a close correspondence. Simulators must represent the essential physical components of the job and also the behavioural processes necessary to do the job.
Programmed instruction is a training approach which makes the advantages of private tutoring available to large groups of students being trained in new skills. Programmed instruction is one of the innovations in teaching technology developed in recent years, but its origin goes back to the research of learning theorist, B.F. Skinner.
The method involves an actual piece of equipment, usually called Teaching machine, or a specially constructed paper booklet.
In either case, the method has two main characteristics:
i. The participants are active in the training process. In fact they determine their own learning pace.
ii. What is to be learned involves many discrete pieces of material, and the participants get immediate feedback on whether they have learned each piece?
The material to be learned is prepared in such a way that it can be presented to the learner in a series of sequential steps. These steps progress from simple to more complex levels of instruction. The information to be taught is presented in a form known as a PROGRAMME.
The person who writes the programme is called the PROGRAMMER and the people for whom the programme is written are referred to as the TARGET POPULATION. The trainee is asked to give a response at the end of each step which assesses his/her knowledge of the material in that step. The trainee is kept informed of how he is progressing at every step of the course.
In case the response made by the trainee is correct, he may then proceed to the next step but if it is incorrect, the trainee’s progress is held until the correct response is given.
(a) Linear Programming – In this method, which was developed by B.F. Skinner, the student works through all the sequences of a book in a straight path from the first page to the last. He is given feedback at every step.
(b) Intrinsic or Branding Programming – This form developed by Dr. Crowder makes the student work through the programme by one of several “paths” or “branches” according to the responses he chooses.
(c) Adaptive Programming – Developed by Gordon Pask, these programmes can only be presented in machines which “adapt” to the trainees. This form makes allowance for more variations in student ability.
The major advantage of programmed instruction is that it reduces the training time. The learning takes place at the student’s own pace. Participants get immediate feedback. Because the material is presented in a precise and systematic manner, there are no gaps in the presentation, the participants are active learners, and there is constant exchange of information between themselves and the programme.
When participants make mistakes, they suffer no embarrassment because they are the only one who knows there is a mistake. Fast learners do not have to wait for slow ones to catch up. Administrative simplicity and increased productivity in training result in lower training cost per student. An individual may receive instruction at any time.
Programmed instruction can be used to provide pre-requisites for a later classroom opportunity. Programmed instruction is an efficient way to train people on material that is structured.
The biggest disadvantage of this method is the absence of a teacher. The book becomes the teacher. Hence, it is absolutely essential that the trainee is highly motivated to continue learning. Developing Programmed Instruction programme is time-consuming.
The material has to be broken down into a logical sequence, since there may be several correct ways to perform the task. This method does not appear to improve training performance in terms of immediate learning or retention over a time compared with conventional methods.
In a country which is geographically very vast and where educational infrastructure leaves a vast majority from its reach, this system needs more and more encouragement.
It is one of the newest developments in instructional methodology. It is a logical extension of Programmed instruction and shares many of its benefits. C. A. I. has the advantage of individual pace instruction and a considerably wider range of application. It requires less time to teach the same amount of information than any conventional method. Trainees also react favourably to this method.
The computer is capable of assessing the progress of the trainee and can also adapt to his/her need by virtue of its storage and memory capacities. As Mallory (1981) explained that this method offers advantages of standard presentation of materials to all trainees, standard, structured practices, and instant, specific feedback.
The major drawback to C.A.I, for most organizations probably is the initial expense.
Working in small group to achieve a particular purpose is described as a syndicate method. The essence of this method is that participants learn from each other and contribute their own experience to the fullest.
The syndicate method is designed to provide the participant an environment that would help him to reflect critically on his own work and experience; to update his knowledge of new concepts and techniques with the help of other co-participants; to develop sound judgement through greater insight into human behaviour.
This method is suitable for training and development of executives with considerable experience. It is not so useful in the case of management students, without any experience.
The participants are divided into groups consisting of about eight to ten participants. These groups are called “syndicates”. Each syndicate functions as a team that can represent various functional as well as interest areas. The syndicates are given assignments which have to be finished and a report submitted by a specified date and time.
By rotation each member of the syndicate becomes the leader for completing a specific task. Each assignment to a syndicate is given in the form of a “Brief “. This is a carefully prepared document by the faculty. Generally, each syndicate is required to submit a report which is circulated to other syndicates for critical evaluation.
The advantages of this method is that it secures a very high level of involvement from the participants. For the practising managers, their own experience is the starting point in this method. It is a process of self-education and development for participants. This method also gives the participant a practice in communicating with his colleagues and understanding them.
It provides an environment far away from his daily working situation and thus free from the pressures and biases. It involves interaction over an extended period of time and living together with a large cross section of people from different types of organizations with varied functional interests.
Among disadvantages, if the syndicate is not structured properly, it could lead to a lot of wastage of time and cause frustration. In the absence of proper pressure on the participants by trainers or participants themselves, some participants might start dragging their feet. Differences of opinion or viewpoint may be ignored to avoid action.
According to social learning theory, most human behaviour is learned observationally through modeling. When social learning theory is applied in industrial training programmes, it is commonly referred to as – “behaviour modeling”. Latham and Saari (1979) used behaviour modeling to improve the interpersonal and communication skills of supervisors in dealing with their employees.
They had nine training sessions and each training session followed the same format. The topic was first introduced by the trainers after which a film was shown to the trainees which depicted a supervisor model effectively handling a situation, followed by a set of three to six learning parts that were shown in the film immediately before and after the model was presented.
A group discussion is then held in which the effectiveness of the method is discussed. After this, the practice session starts in which one of the trainee assumes the role of an employee. And then, feedback from the training class is given on the effectiveness of each trainee in demonstrating the desired behaviour.
At the end of each training session, the trainees are given copies of the learning points and are asked to try and apply them to their jobs during the following week. It has been found that this programme has had desirable effects on learning, behaviour and performance criteria.
Employees may learn a new behaviour through modeling by observing a new behaviour and then imitating it. The re-creation of the behaviour may be videotaped so that the trainer and the trainee can review and critique it. When watching the ideal behaviour, the trainee also gets to see the negative consequences that befall someone who does not use it as recommended.
By observing the positive and negative consequences, the employee receives vicarious reinforcement that encourages the correct behaviour. An area where this approach has been used successfully is in teaching supervisors how to discipline employees, and it is particularly common in athletics.
It provides participants an opportunity to actually experience some concepts of management just as a manager would experience them in his organizational situation. Sensitivity training purports to develop awareness and sentiments to one’s own and others’ behavioural patterns.
It is a group training method that uses intensive participation and immediate feedback for self-analysis and change, the method provides face to face learning of on-going behaviour within a small group and lacks structure. In this, participants remain involved and enthusiastic. These attempts to develop the diagnostic ability of participants – the ability to perceive reality – The individual is made more aware of himself and his impact on others.
At a group level, one learns about normative structures and authority relationships leading to better team work. It increases sensitivity and awareness towards others and their styles. It helps in understanding how conflicts arise and are resolved.
Obviously, the learning is on an emotional level rather than on an intellectual level. Being an emotional experience the degree of change depends upon the level of emotional involvement. A predominant problem with the effectiveness of sensitivity training is the transfer problem, that is, the inability of the participant to apply concepts and awareness gained in the laboratory or group to his job.
The trainer acts as a moderator to facilitate the feedback process and check severe psychological damage to participants. He/She is responsible for creating an environment with time and space barriers, wherein learning can take place. He/She should focus the discussion and group learning for constructive purposes. Allows the participants to form their own conclusion based on the “HERE and NOW”, that is, learning from the interactions of the group.
According to DUPRE (1976), the goals of sensitivity training are as follows:
i. Introspectiveness or awareness, the ability to reflect on feelings and ideas within oneself.
ii. Awareness of feelings – developing a high regard for the significance of feelings in working and living situations.
iii. Recognition of and concern about feelings, behaviour discrepancies – developing an ability to diagnose the relationship between how we feel and how we behave and to move towards greater congruence between the two.
iv. Flexibility – developing skill in behaving in new and different ways.
As can be seen by these goals, sensitivity training is aimed at the development of the entire person, not just one particular skill. The method is likely to increase managerial sensitivity and trust and enhance respect for the contributions of others. However, the method has not received proper recognition in the business world.
One of the significant and off repeated methods of sensitivity training is the T-group. T-groups lead to understanding of the self and contribute towards organizational change and development through training in attitudinal changes in the participants and creating better team-work.
The main goals of the T-group training have been summarized by Campbell, Dunnette, Lawler, and Weick (1970) as follows:
a. To give the trainee an understanding of how and why he acts towards other people as he does and of the way in which he affects them,
b. To provide some insights into why other people act the way they do,
c. To teach the participants how to listen, that is, actually hear what other people are saying rather than concentrating on a replay,
d. To provide insights concerning how groups operate and what sorts of processes groups go through under certain conditions,
e. To foster an increased tolerance and understanding of the behaviour of others,
f. To provide a setting in which an individual can try new ways of interacting with people and receive feedback as to how these new ways affect them.
T-groups are classified into:
a. Stranger Groups – Participants in this group have no prior knowledge of one another. The advantage of such a group is that members can express and involve themselves without fear or retaliation.
b. Family Groups – Participants in this group belong to the same department or hierarchical level and have prior knowledge of one another. The disadvantage is that members may shy away from giving feedback, may dilute it or may not disclose themselves in fear of its being used against them,
c. Cousin Groups – Persons of this group are from the same organization or institution but not in the same department or hierarchical level. They are quite independent of each other.
T-group may consist of eight to fifteen participants. The trainer after setting forth the objectives of the T-Group recedes into the background creating a vaccum which impels participants to develop structure and meaning themselves. Data developed by the group behaviour is used to understand the ‘here and now’.
T-group processes concentrate on the present to the total exclusion of the past, and participants are in the act of observing while participating. Analysis is direct and immediate to see through and decipher reality from appearance and perceptions.
A certain degree of trust must develop among participants to enable them express thoughts and feelings openly, and exchange feedback with a degree of maturity. The psychological health of participants is essential for the success of a T-group.
While imparting feedback in T-group sessions the following points must be kept in mind:
a. It should be honest.
b. State it in behavioural terms. Do not pass value judgments and conclusions, that is, it should be descriptive, not evaluative.
c. Keep it timely, immediate and direct.
d. Feed, back should be based on the behaviour exhibited within the group, not on assumptions and past knowledge.
e. It should be constructive, not with the sole intention to criticise or ridicule. It must be given with empathy.
House, 21967; Odiorne, 1963 and others have criticised the T-group training and have made the following comments:
a. There are no selection standards for admission. Anyone who has paid a registration fee can attend.
b. Reports have shown that the individuals who have participated in T-groups have serious emotional breakdown and need psychiatric care.
c. The trainers in most of the labs are not professionally qualified to deal with the emotional training sessions that may induce anxiety etc.
d. The objectives of the T-group training are often stated in a vague terminology. Little behaviour terminology is used to describe what the trainees will do, do differently, or stop doing as a result of training.
e. It is an invasion of personal privacy and not rightfully within the domain of organizations, consulting firms, and business schools.
Argyris (1963) has provided with the following facts about T-group training, in defense of laboratory education:
a. Psychotic breakdowns at National Test Laboratory is no more frequent than in the population at large. Out of over 10,000 cases, there have been only four trainees who have had nervous breakdown, and all of these people had previous psychiatric histories.
b. A National Test Laboratory trainer must have completed an approved graduate training programme. The individual is then given a 3-month training programmes and is supposed to conduct Labs under the supervision of a senior faculty member.
c. Lab training at National Test Laboratory does have objectives.
(ii) Transactional Analysis:
Another important method of sensitivity training is through Transactional Analysis. The basic philosophy and approach to T.A. was developed by Dr. Eric Berne, a psychologist searching for alternatives to Freudian therapeutic procedures. He realised that all of us have one of three operating ego states, Parent, Adult and Child at any time. Based on this simple principle he developed T.A. to attempt to understand people.
T.A. can help us to eradicate or minimize the dysfunctional aspect of our personality. The dysfunctional aspects of one’s personality develop from our cultural assumptions assimilated during childhood, the ways in which we are supposed to control and nurture others and the way in which we have learnt to deal with our feelings.
The T.A. programme can vary from a one day capsule to a five day programme. It involves sharing of concepts and knowledge of T.A; playing structured exercises and games, leading participants examine the ‘here and now’ data to assess their personalities, how they related to self and others and in understanding preconceived notions.
This enables participants to develop interpersonal competence, that is, how to improve relationships towards achieving a specific purpose on the job and beyond.
It is essentially used in providing skills in understanding human behaviour. It effectively uses group interaction to develop in the participants a degree of self-awareness. The primary objectives of this method is to inculcate in the participants the discipline of observing others and on the basis of this, provide objective and constructive feedback; and to learn about oneself, one’s behaviour and personality as seen through the eyes of others and consequently to overcome weaknesses and improve upon strengths.
The aspects to which the fish bowl exercise can be put to effective use are; individual and group behaviour, content of communication, roles individuals play in groups, intergroup conflicts, and level of participation, dynamics of group problem solving and decision making and, inter-personal relations.
The exercise can involve up to 25 participants seated in two concentric circles (one inner, the outer). The inner circle is the target group; members of this group will either discuss a preselected topic or move towards completion of a group task. After the discussion by the members of the inner group, the outer group is asked to comment on the content and more importantly the dynamics and group process of the inner group members.
Feedback may be provided using either of the two basic techniques mentioned below:
i. Each member of the outer group observes one member of the inner group on all aspects of group dynamics.
ii. Each member of the outer group observes all members of the inner group on a specific dimension of group process.
Participants must learn to provide feedback with clarity and precision. Feedback must never be critical or it loses its constructive nature. After one cycle of the exercise is completed the outer group will change places with the inner group and become the target group, inner group members become observers and the exercise is repeated.
In addition to the above group methods, there are several non-group methods involving an assessment of each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.
These methods are as follows:
i. Counselling – It helps the trainees to observe their weaknesses and involves measures to overcome them. It is related to periodic appraisals or ratings. Specifically counselling purports to help the subordinates to do a better job, provides a clear picture of how they are doing, build strong personal relationships and eliminate, or at least minimize anxiety.
ii. Understudies System – In this, the trainees work directly with individuals whom they are likely to replace. However, it is disappointing as a training method because of a likelihood of an imitation of weak as well as strong points of the seniors.
iii. Special Project Arrangements – These are likely to be highly effective training systems. In these systems, a task force is built representing varied functions in the company. The special projects enable the trainees to achieve knowledge of the subject assigned as well as to learn how to deal with others having varied viewpoints.
The training methods we have discussed are used for different purposes. No one method is best. What is important is not the method per se but the change in behaviour the method is designed to bring about. Muchinsky concur with Goldstein’s opinion (1980) – Greater emphasis should be given to identify training needs rather than designing new training methods.
Off-the Job Training Method – With Merits and Demerits
Under this method, trainee is separated from the job situation and his attention is focused upon learning the material related to his future job performance. Since the trainee is not distracted by job requirements, he can place his entire concentration on learning the job rather than spending his time in performing it.
There is an opportunity for freedom of expression for the trainees. “Off- the-job training” simply means that training is not a part of everyday job activity. The actual location may be in the company classroom or in places which are owned by the company or in universities or associations which have no connections with the company. These include classroom activities like lectures, special study, films, case studies, role-playing, programmed instructions, laboratory training, etc.
1. Lecture (Classroom Instruction):
The lecture is a traditional and direct method of instructions. Lectures are regarded as one of the simplest way of imparting knowledge to the trainee, especially when facts, concept or principles, attitudes, theories and problem-solving abilities are to be taught. Lectures are formal organised talks by the training specialist.
The lecture method can be used for very large groups which are to be trained within a short- time for reducing the cost per trainee. It can be organised to rigorously promote company’s ideas and principles. Lectures are essential when it is a question of imparting technical or special information of a complex nature.
They are usually related with discussion, film shows, case studies, role playing and demonstrations, audio-visual aids enhance their values. The lecture method is not dead as some would believe. In the hands of able-lectures, and for certain kinds of purposes and participants, it may turn out to be more interesting and effective than any other method.
In training, the most important uses of lectures include:
a. Reducing anxiety about upcoming training programmes or organisational changes by explaining their purposes.
b. Presenting basic material that will provide a common background for subsequent activities,
c. Introducing a subject and presenting an overview of its scope,
d. Illustrating the application of rules, principles; reviewing, clarifying and summarising.
The main advantage of the lecture system is that it is simple and efficient and through it more material can be presented within a given time than by any other method.
However, the lecture system suffers from some limitations:
i. The learners are passive instead of active participants. The lecture method violates the principle of learning by doing. It is one-way communication. There is no feedback from the audience.
ii. A clear and vigorous verbal presentation requires a great deal of preparation for which management personnel often lack the time. Moreover, it calls for a substantial speaking skill,
iii. The attention span of even a well-motivated and adequately informed listener is only from 15 minutes to 20 minutes, so that in the course of an hour, the attention of learners drifts.
iv. It is difficult to stimulate discussion following a lecture, particularly if the listener is uninformed or awestruck by the lecture.
v. The presentation of material should be geared to common level of knowledge.
vi. The untrained lecture either rambles or packs far too much information in the lecture, which often becomes unpalatable to the listener.
vii. Though, a skilful lecturer can adapt his material to the specific group, he finds it is difficult to adjust it for individual differences within a group.
viii. It tends to emphasise the accumulation and memorisation of facts and figures and does not stress on the application of knowledge.
ix. The major limitation of the lecture method is that it does not provide for transfer of training effectively.
According to the conclusion reached at the Conference on Management Education and Training (held from January 22 to 24, 1954) at Pune, the essential prerequisites for a successful lecture method are-
(i) Group interest should be motivated and adapted to its needs;
(ii) It should be presented by an enthusiastic and animated speaker who has his listener’s needs and interest in mind at all times;
(iii) A lecture should be well-planned as to the purpose; the main ideas and organisation should be clear and the development should be interesting;
(iv) It should not last less than 30 minutes and not more than an hour;
(v) A lecture should be made interesting and enlist the active participation of the learners with the aid of guided discussion, the lecture should pose leading questions, instead of giving out knowledge and information to which the listeners should provide answers.
2. The Conference Method:
In this method, the participating individuals ‘confer’ to discuss points of common interest to each other. It is a formal meeting, conducted in accordance with an organised plan, in which the leader seeks to develop knowledge and understanding by obtaining a considerable amount of oral participation of trainees.
It lays emphasis on small group discussions on organised subject matter and on the active participation of the members involved. Learning is facilitated by building up on the ideas contributed by the conferees. When big organisation use this method, the trainer uses audio-visual aids such as blackboards, mock ups, and slides; in some cases, the lectures are videotaped or audiotaped.
Even the trainee’s presentation can be taped for self- confrontation’ and self-assessment. There are three types of conferences. In the direct discussion, the trainer guides the discussion in such a way that the facts, principles or concepts are explained.
In the training conference, the instructor gets the group to pool its knowledge and past experience and bring different point of view to bear on the problem. In the seminar conference, answer is bound to a question or a solution to a problem. For this, the instructor defines the problem, encourages and ensures full participation in the discussion.
The conference is ideally suited for the purpose of analysing problems and issues and examining them from different point of views. It is an excellent method for the development of conceptual knowledge and for reducing dogmatism and modifying attitudes because the participants develops solutions and reach conclusion which they often willingly accept.
1. It is limited to a small group of 15 to 20 persons because larger group often discourage the active participation of all the conferees.
2. The progress is usually slow because all those desiring to speak on a point are generally allowed to do so. Consequently, irrelevant issues easily creep in.
If the method is to be effective:
(a) Training issue must involve a problem or need that each individual is currently facing else interest in the conference results will wane (decrease in size).
(b) The size of the group should be small enough to allow each individual to participate and become personally involved in the deliberations of the group.
(c) The conferees should have some knowledge of the subject to be discussed at the conference.
(d) Good and stimulating leaders are needed for it is they who summarise material at appropriate times during a discussion and think along with the group to help it analyse and reach decisions; adopt a permissive point of view which encourages members to express themselves without fear to censure or ridicule.
3. Seminar or Team Discussion:
This is an established method for training.
A seminar is conducted in many ways:
(i) It may be based on a paper prepared by one or more trainees on a subject selected in consultation with the person in charge of the seminar. It may be part of a study or related to theoretical studies or practical problems. The trainees read their papers, and this is followed by a critical discussion. The chairman of the seminar summarises the contents of the papers and the discussions which follow their reading.
(ii) The person in charge of the seminar contributes in advance the material to be analysed in the form of required readings. The seminar compares the reactions of trainees, encourages discussion, defines the general trends and guides the participants to arrive at conclusion.
(iii) It may be based on the statement made by the person in charge of the seminar or on a document by an expert who is invited to participate in the discussion.
(iv) Valuable working material may be provided to the trainees by actual files. The trainees may consult the files and bring these to the seminar where they may study in detail and various aspects, ramifications and complexities of a particular job or work or task.
4. Case Studies (Learning by Doing):
This method was first developed in the 1800s by Christopher Langdell at the Harvard Law School to help students to learn for themselves by independent thinking and discovering in the ever tangled skein of human affairs, principles and ideas which have lasting validity and general applicability. A collateral object is to help them develop skills in using their knowledge.
The case study is based upon the belief that managerial competencies can best be attained through the study, contemplation and discussion of concrete cases. The “case” is a set of data (real or fictional) written or oral miniature description and summary of such data that present issues and problems calling for solutions or action on the part of the trainee.
When the trainees are given cases to analyse, they are asked to identify the problem and recommend solutions for it. This method offers to the trainees matter of reflection and brings home to them a sense of the complexity of life as opposed to theoretical simplifications of and practices in the decision making process.
It diagnosis and deals with real life situations. This method is primarily useful as training technique for supervisors and is especially valuable as a technique of developing decision making skills and for broadening the perspective of the trainee.
The person in charge of training, makes out a case, provides the necessary explanations, initiates the discussion going and then once the discussion gets going he intervenes as little as possible. In the incident method, a full detailed description of a situation is not given. The trainer merely presents an outline often in the form of a complaint from a customer or a severe conflict in the management of a business.
The trainee arrives at the facts in the issue by asking questions from the trainer or finding out a solution by “acting out” the situation in which a trainee plays a role. In this method, trainers from a particular business describe its development and some of its problems. After discussions, and detailed studies, the trainee prepares a report which contains analyses of the situation and their recommendations on the corrective actions to be taken.
In case study method, the trainee is expected to:
1. Master the facts and become acquainted with the content of the case.
2. Define the objectives sought in dealing with the issues in the case.
3. Identify the problem in the case and uncover their probable causes.
4. Develop alternative courses of action.
5. Screen the alternatives using the objectives as the criteria.
6. Define the controls needed to make the action effective, and
7. To “role play” the action to test its effectiveness and find conditions that may limit it.
1. It promotes analytical thinking and develops a person’s problem-solving ability.
2. It encourages open mindedness and serves as a means of integrating the knowledge obtained from different basic disciplines.
3. Since, cases are usually based upon real situations problem, the trainee’s interest in them tend to be very great.
4. Although trainees quickly learn that there is no single answer to or solution of a case problem, they are never the less expected to arrive at usual generalisation and principles.
5. The method is accepted by everyone, for it deals with detailed description of real life situations.
6. If the problems faced by managers are described, the trainees become increasingly aware of obscurities, contradictions and uncertainties they encounter in their business careers and the need for remedial action.
1. It may degenerate into a mere dreary (gloomy) demonstration of dusty museum pieces, if it is taught only from books at developing centres of learning.
2. Instruction in the methods of analysis may not be given due importance. It may suppress the critical faculties of mediocre trainees and the habit of bunking by analogies may develop.
3. The cases become permanent precedents in their minds and may be used indiscriminately.
4. The preparation of cases is difficult, for it needs money and time and it is not quite certain that the outcome of this method would be worth the expenditure in money and men incurred on it.
The method is extensively used in professional schools of law and business administration in supervisory and executive training programmes in industry and in teaching personnel management, marketing, production management, human relations, labour relations, business policies and other disciplines. In India, cases are prepared by the Administrative Staff College at Hyderabad and other 18 institutes of higher learning in management.
For an effective use of this method, it is essential that:
i. The group of learners should be of such persons as are fairly well advanced in understanding the different concepts of management,
ii. It should be comprehensive and well documented with a proper history, facts, and figures, thus enabling the students to see the organization and the historical setting in which the reported events took place,
iii. The case should be a faithful representation of the issues involved as objectively as possible without any observations and comments from the case writer,
iv. The case report should be realistic and based on first-hand information. It should not contains opinions discussed as factual information,
v. The case situation should be reproduced in full and should be of the Harvard School type or a part of it may be presented in a film or on television or on tape or recreated through role playing.
5. Role Playing:
This method was developed by Moreno, a Venetian Psychiatrist. He coined the terms “role playing”, “role-reversal”, “socio-drama”, “psycho-drama”, and a variety of specialised terms which emphasis on learning human relations skills through practice and insight into one’s own behaviour and its effect upon others.
It has been defined as, “a method of human interaction which involves realistic behaviour in the imaginary situations”. As Norman Major has pointed out, a “role playing experience soon demonstrates the gap between ‘thinking and doing’. The idea of role playing involves exchange, doing and practice.”
Role playing primarily involves employee, employer- relationships. Hiring, firing, discussing a grievance procedure, conducting a post appraisal interview or disciplining a subordinate or a salesman making a representation to a customer. In role playing, trainees act out a given roles as they would in a stage play.
Two or more trainees are assigned parts to play before the rest of the class. These parts do not involve any memorisation of lines or any rehearsals. The role players are simply informed of a situation and of the respective roles they have to play. Sometime, after the preliminary planning, the situation is acted out by the role players.
1. Learning by doing is emphasised,
2. Human sensitivity and interactions are stressed,
3. The knowledge of results is immediate,
4. Trainee interest and involvement tend to be high,
5. It is a useful method to project the living conditions between learning in the classroom and working on the job and creating a live business situations in the classroom,
6. It develops skills and abilities to apply knowledge particularly in areas like human relations,
7. It brings about desired changes in behaviour and attitude,
8. Role playing are the opportunities to attempt to create an environment similar to real situations without the high cost involved should the actions prove undesirable.
It is difficult to duplicate the pressure and realities of actual decision making on the job and individuals often act differently in real life situations than they do in acting out a role playing exercise.
Thus, role playing is especially useful in providing new insight and in presenting the trainee with opportunities to develop interactional skills. Unless the trainer engages in coaching or unless someone states the criteria for behaviour, however, role playing may not adhere to the objectives of the training programme and the reinforcement of the desired behaviour may be somewhat lacking, that is the interpersonal relations could be faulty.
6. Programmed Instructions (Teaching by the Machine Method):
Programmed instructions involves a sequence of steps which are often set up through a central panel of an electronic computer as guides in the performance of a desired operation or series of operations.
It incorporates a pre-arranged, proposed or desired course of proceedings pertaining to the learning or acquisition of some specific skills or general knowledge. Programmed instructions involve breaking down information into meaningful units and then arranging these in proper way to form a logical and sequential learning programme or package.
In such a programme, knowledge is imparted with the use of a textbook or a teaching machine. The programme involves: presenting questions, facts or problems to the trainee to utilise the information given; and the trainee instantly receives feedback and sometime rewards or penalties on the basis of the accuracy of his answers.
The programmed instruction technique can be in the form of programmed texts or manuals while in some organizations teaching machines are utilised. All programmed instruction approaches have common characteristics- they condense the material to be learned into highly organised, logical sequences which require the trainee to respond. The ideal format provides for merely instantaneous feedback that informs the trainee if his or her response is correct.
1. Instructors are not a key part in learning,
2. Trainees learn at their own pace,
3. The materials to be learned are broken down into small units,
4. Immediate feedback is available,
5. Active learner participation takes place at each step in the programme,
6. Individual differences can be taken into account,
7. Training can be imparted to odd times and in odd places,
8. There is a high level of learner motivation.
1. The instructional setting is impersonal,
2. An advanced study is not possible until preliminary information has been acquired,
3. Philosophical and attitudinal concepts and motor skills cannot be taught by this method,
4. Only factual subject matters can be programmed,
5. The cost of creating any such programme is very high and it’s a time-consuming method.
This method is primarily used in teaching factual knowledge such as mathematics, physics foreign language, etc.
(i) Sensitivity Training:
Sensitivity Training is an experimental approach to training. Sensitivity training is a group training method that uses intensive participation and gives immediate feedback for self- analysis and change. It provides participants an opportunity to actually experience some concepts of management just as a manager would experience them in his own organisational situation.
This training has two advantage:
(a) Participants remain involved and enthusiastic
(b) The responsibility of learning experience lies with the participants.
He would make positive efforts to derive many benefits from the exercise. The training attempts to develop the diagnostic ability of the participants – the ability to perceive reality. At a group level one learns about normative structures and authority relationships leading to better teamwork.
It increases sensitivity, training aims at developing sensitivity within people towards thoughts, feelings and behaviour of other persons. Through this improves one’s human interactions, the effectiveness of sensitivity training depends upon the ability of the participants to apply the concepts and awareness obtained in the laboratory or groups to his job, the transfer of his knowledge to the organisation is possible if the organisation has an open culture and an atmosphere for open discussion, encourage conflict resolution and promote mutual trust.
One of the methods of the sensitivity training is the T-group. Bethel Maine of USA was the pioneer of the T-group. It was considered necessary that to change behaviour imparting necessary skills is required. A change in a variety of skills and experiences like self-awareness, interpersonal relationships, group organisational process, teamwork and intergroup conflict resolution.
Sensitivity training has developed to the status of an intervention in organizational development. T-group training is processed-oriented and not content-oriented where people operate on a feeling level of communication, observing revealing, listening, and unravelling messages.
A training option that can be useful when trainees are dispersed across various physical locations is tele-training. Satellites are used to beam live training broadcasts to employees at different locations. In addition to the video reception, the satellite link can allow trainees to ask questions of the instructor during the broadcast.
Two disadvantages of tele-training are the need for an expensive satellite connection and the difficulty of scheduling the broadcast so that everyone will be able to attend. A company can solve the scheduling problems by videotaping the presentation and then offering the videotape to people in locations schedules conflicted with the live broadcast.
The training instructor can be available via phone or computer to respond to questions. This method makes the trainer’s expertise available to trainees without requiring him or her to redeliver the entire training programme.
9. Computer-Aided Instruction and Interacting Video:
All these have one thing in common. They allow the trainee to learn at his or her own pace. Also, they allow material already learned to be bypassed in favour of material with which a trainee is having difficulty. After the introductory period, the instructor need not be present and the trainee can learn as his or her time allows. These methods sound good, but may not be available with the resources of some small businesses.
Computer based training can range from the use of a CD-ROM to training over the Internet. Web-based training is fast becoming the training method of choice. Both small and large businesses are finding computer training to be a cost-effective medium. In particular, if a job requires extensive use of computers then computer-based training is highly job-related and provides for a high degree of transfer of training back to the job.
Computers also have the advantages of allowing trainees to learn at a comfortable pace. As a trainer, the computer never gets tired, bored or short tempered. Further, computer can be a multimedia training option in which text can be combined with film, graphics and audio components.
Learnshare is a successful example of collaboration among companies to use e-learning. Members of Learnshare include General Motor Corp. Motorola Inc., Owens-Corning, Deere & Co., and 3M Corp., among others.
10. Experimental Exercises:
Experimental exercises are usually short, structured learning experiences where individuals learn by doing. For instance, rather than talk about interpersonal conflicts and how to deal with them, and experiential exercise could be used to create a conflict situation where employees have to experience a conflict personally workout its resolution.
After completing the exercise, the facilitator or trainer typically discusses what happened and introduces theoretical concepts to help explain the members’ behaviour during the exercise.