There are different methods of training considered by organisations depending upon the nature of job at different levels of an organisation.

Organisations need to design and implement appropriate training programs that could be beneficial for the organisational management and the employees.

The forms and types of employee training methods are interrelated. It is difficult, if not impossible, to say which of the methods or combination of methods is more useful than the other.

In fact, methods are multifaceted in scope and dimension, and each is suitable for a particular situation.


The best technique for one situation may not be best for different groups or tasks.

List of Methods used for Training Employees: How to train your employees?

Methods of Training Employees (On-the-Job Training and Off-the-Job Training)

There are different methods of training considered by organisations depending upon the nature of job at different levels of an organisation. Organisations need to design and implement appropriate training programs that could be beneficial for the organisational management and the employees.

There are two types of training methods: On-the-job training and Off-the-job training discussed below:

Method # 1. On-the-Job Training:

On-the-job training methods involves employees learning a job by actually doing and performing it on a real-time basis. These employees work on-the-job, learn and develop expertise at the same time.


For example, an employee is taught the technique of operating a machine or tools by an experienced employee or supervisor. This method requires a properly trained instructor to obtain successful learning by new employees.

Sub-types of on-the-job training methods include:

(i) Induction Training:

Induction training refers to training provided to newly recruited employees in order to easily adjust and become familiar to their tasks and responsibilities in an organisation. This training is provided to familiarise new employees to their working environment, the people, the job and the business. This training can be provided on the job or some businesses include a systematic training program for few hours or days or a month depending upon the nature of the work. For example, India’s premier market research company IMRB conducts a two-month induction training program for newly joined employees.


(ii) Job Rotation:

Job rotation is the practice of moving or shifting employees between different tasks within an organisation to promote experience and variety. For example, graphic designers who design and create logos, brochures at publishing houses and advertising agencies can also be moved into a position in printing department as their work requires working closely with printers to get the right output and experience.

(iii) Apprenticeship:

Under this method, new employees work as trainees, under highly experienced supervisors or experts for a specific period of time. This method is used where higher level of skill is required to attain complete proficiency to perform a particular job. For example- electricians and plumbers are placed as apprentices or trainees for a certain period of time under their supervisors prior to managing jobs on their own.


(iv) Internship Training:

Under internship training, technical institutions and organisations jointly impart training to their members. The objective of this training is to strike a balance between theoretical (by educational institutes) and practical (by organisations) knowledge. Both institutions thus provide mutual help to each other.

(v) Coaching:

A newly appointed employee is made an assistant to an experienced manager who acts like a coach. The assistant observes the experienced manager’s approach towards work followed by assignment of simple jobs and problems by the manager to the assistant. The manager guides the assistant and finds solutions to complex problems through demonstration and continuous critical evaluation and correction.

Method # 2. Off-the-Job Training:


Under off-the-job training methods, employees are required to leave their workplace and concentrate their entire time towards the training objectives.

The methods under off- the-job training are as follows:

(i) Classroom Lectures/Conferences:

Classroom lectures/conferences aim at revising and revisiting theoretical knowledge. Latest information and techniques are also communicated through these lectures and conferences. This method can be mostly useful for large-scale organisations.


(ii) Films/Documentaries:

Visual depictions of changes in industry or examples on management tools like team building exercises can be easily communicated through films and documentaries. These are followed by discussions among attendees.

(iii) Case Study Method:

Under this method, a problem is identified and trainees are assigned by their seniors to find a solution based on their knowledge and expertise. There are arguments and counter-arguments among them reflecting different solutions with supporting evidence. Senior managers evaluate the arguments as well as solutions and make suggestions, critical evaluations and criticisms to determine the best solutions.


(iv) Computer Modelling:

Trainees are trained using computer to improve on their skills and knowledge. This method is used where training is imparted for a high risk or situations associated with high costs. For example, trainees in banks are given special training on computers to fill in the right information and maintain security.

(v) Vestibule Training:

Vestibule training is generally conducted in places away from the actual work place with actual shops duplicated for training. Typical shop conditions are duplicated with relevant machines, tools, equipments, raw materials, etc. and instructions on utilising them is imparted to trainees. For example- culinary schools have personalised and in-built stoves and kitchen appliances for trainees which teach different culinary recipes to trainees (cooks).

(vi) Programmed Instruction:

This is a step-by-step learning method where medium may be a text book, computer or internet. This is a systematic method for teaching job skills involving presenting questions or facts allowing the trainer to respond and give the learner immediate feedback on the accuracy of their answers.


Programmed instructions can be formulated by educational institutes who attempt to develop specific skills as per industry requirements. Businesses may sponsor education (Diploma, MBA, Ph-D, etc.) of certain skilled employees whose new learning, ideas and methods could be beneficial for the organisation.

Methods of Employee Training Employees (With Merits and Demerits)

The forms and types of employee training methods are interrelated. It is difficult, if not impossible, to say which of the methods or combination of methods is more useful than the other. In fact, methods are multifaceted in scope and dimension, and each is suitable for a particular situation. The best technique for one situation may not be best for different groups or tasks.

Care must be used in adapting the technique/method to the learner and the job. An effective training technique generally fulfills these objectives; provide motivation to the trainee to improve job performance, develop a willingness to change, provide for the trainee’s active participation in the learning process, provide a knowledge of results about attempts to improve (i.e., feedback), and permit practice where appropriate.

1. On-The-Job Training (OJT):

Virtually every employee, from the clerk to company president, gets some “on-the-job-training,” when he joins a firm. That is why William Tracly calls it, “the most common, the most widely used and accepted, and the most necessary method of training employees in the skills essential for acceptable for job performance.”

Trainees earn as they learn under the watchful eyes of a master mechanic or craftsman, receive immediate feedback, practice in the actual work environment, and associate with the same people they will work with after training. Under this technique, an employee is placed in a new job and is told how it may be performed.

It is primarily concerned with developing in an employee a repertoire of skills and habits consistent with the existing practices of an organisation, and with orienting him to his immediate problems. It is mostly given for unskilled and semi-skilled jobs — clerical and sales jobs.


Employees are coached and instructed by skilled co-workers, by supervisors, by the special training instructors. They learn the job by personal observation and practice as well as occasionally handling it. It is learning by doing, and it is most useful for jobs that are either difficult to stimulate or can be learned quickly by watching and doing.

There are a variety of OJT methods, such as “coaching” or “understudy”; job rotation; and special assignments. Under coaching or understudy method (which is also known as ‘internship’ and ‘apprenticeship’ method), the employee is trained on the job by his immediate superior.

‘Internship’ is usually applied to managerial personnel and provide wide variety of job experience, often involving job rotation, or an “assistant to” type of position. ‘Apprenticeship’ is generally used to impart skills requiring long periods of practice as found in trade, crafts and other technical fields.

In job rotation, a management trainee is made to move from job to job at certain intervals. The jobs vary in content.

Special assignments or committees are other methods used to provide lower-level executives with first-hand experience in working on actual problems. Executives from various functional areas serve on “boards” and are required to analyse problems and recommend solutions to top management.

On-the- job training is made more effective by the use of a variety of training aids and techniques, such as procedure charts, lecture manuals, sample problems, demonstrations, oral and written explanations, tape recorders and other aids.



The main advantage of on-the-job training is that the trainee learns on the actual equipment in use and in the true environment of his job. He, therefore, gets a feel of the actual production conditions and requirements. In this way, a transfer from a training centre or school to the actual production conditions following the training period is allowed.

Secondly, it is highly economical since no additional personnel or facilities are required for training.

Thirdly, the trainee learns the rules, regulations procedures by observing their day-to-day applications. He can, therefore, be easily sized up by the management.

Fourthly, this type of training is a suitable alternative for a company in which there are almost as many jobs as there are employees.

Finally, it is most appropriate for teaching the knowledge and skills which can be acquired in a relatively short period, say, a few days or weeks.



The principal disadvantage of on-the-job training is that instruction is often highly disorganised and haphazard and not properly supervised. This is due to such reasons as the inability of the experienced employee to impart skills to the trainee, the breakdown of the job for the purpose of instructions, and the lack of motivation on the part of the trainee to receive training.

Moreover, learners are often subjected to distractions of a noisy shop or office. Further, the other drawback is the low productivity, especially when the employee is unable to fully develop his skills.

However, this training is generally given in a large number of organisations, and is suitable for all levels of operatives, supervisors and executives, for it needs no schools, and the employee’s contribution adds to the total output of the enterprise.

I. Job Instruction Training (JIT):

This method is very popular in the States for preparing supervisors to train operatives. The JIT method requires skilled trainers, extensive job analysis, training schedules, and prior assessment of the trainee’s job knowledge.


This method is also known as “training through step by step learning.” It involves listing all necessary steps in the job, each in proper sequence. These steps show what is to be done. Alongside each step is also listed a corresponding “Key point,” which show how it is to be done and why.

The actual training follows a four-step process, beginning with:

(i) The preparation of the trainee for instruction. This includes putting him at ease, emphasising the importance of the task and giving a general description of job duties and responsibilities;

(ii) Presentation of the instructions, giving essential information in a clear manner. This includes positioning the trainee at work site, telling and showing him each step of the job, stressing why and how each step is carried out as it is shown;

(iii) Having the trainee try out the job to show that he has understood the instructions, if there are any errors they are corrected; and

(iv) Encouraging questions and allowing the trainee to work along and the trainer follows up regularly.

The JIT method provides immediate feedback on results, quick correction of errors, and provision of extra practice when required.

However, it demands a skilled trainer and can interfere with production and quality.

II. Vestibule Training (Or Training-Centre Training):

This method attempts to duplicate on-the-job situations in a company classroom. It is a classroom training which is often imparted with the help of the equipment and machines which are identical with those in use in the place of work.

This technique enables the trainee to concentrate on learning the new skill rather than on performing an actual job. In other words, it is geared to job duties. Theoretical training is given in the classroom, while the practical work is conducted on the production line.

It is a very efficient method of training semi-skilled personnel, particularly when many employees have to be trained for the same kind of work at the same time. It is often used to train clerks, bank tellers, inspectors, machine operators, testers, typists, etc. It is most useful when philosophic concepts, attitudes, theories and problem-solving abilities have to be learnt.

Training is generally given in the form of lectures, conferences, case studies, role-playing and discussion.


This method has several merits-

First, as training is given in a separate room, distractions are minimised.

Second, a trained instructor, who knows how to teach, can be more effectively utilised.

Third, the correct method can be taught without interrupting production.

Fourth, it permits the trainee to practice without the fear of supervisors’/co-workers’ observation and their possible ridicule.


First, the splitting of responsibilities leads to organisational problems.

Second, an additional investment in equipment is necessary, though the cost may be reduced by getting some productive work done by trainees while in the school.

Third, this method is of limited value for the jobs which utilise equipment which can be duplicated.

Finally, the training situation is somewhat artificial.

However, when the number of trainees is large, vestibule schools are generally utilised; but when the number is small, on-the-job training is preferred.

III. Training by Experienced Workmen:

By this method, training is imparted by experienced senior fellow-workers. It is particularly adaptable where experienced workmen need helpers. It is useful for departments in which workmen advance through successive jobs to perform a series of operations.

IV. Training by Supervisors:

Such training is imparted on the job by the workers’ immediate supervisors. It provides to the trainees opportunities for getting acquainted with their bosses. The bosses, too, have an opportunity to judge the abilities and possibilities of trainees from the point of view of their job performance.

The success of both these methods depends upon the fact that:

(a) The experienced supervisors must be good teachers;

(b) They should have incentives and sufficient time for carrying out the training programmes; and

(c) They should be provided with an accurate account of the training needs of the trainees they are to teach.

V. Demonstrations and Examples (or Learning by Seeing):

In the demonstration method, the trainer describes and displays something, as when he teaches an employee how to do something by actually performing the activity himself and by going through a step by step explanation of “why” and “what” he is doing.

Demonstrations are very effective in teaching because it is much easier to show a person how to do a job than to tell him or ask him to gather instruction from the reading material. Demonstrations are often used in combination with lectures, pictures, text materials, discussions, etc.

Teaching by example is effective in mechanical operations or interpersonal relationships, for job duties and responsibilities, for informal group standards, supervisory expectations, and the like.

Demonstrations are particularly effective in the training for the acquisition of skills; but their usefulness is limited when it is a question of training management personnel. In a demonstration, the emphasis is primarily on know-how, the principles and theory of a job must, therefore, be taught by some other method.

VI. Simulation:

Simulation is a technique which duplicates, as nearly as possible, the actual conditions encountered on a job. The vestibule training method or the business game method are examples of business simulations. Simulation techniques have been most widely used in the aeronautical industry.

Trainee interest and employee motivation are both high in simulation exercise because the actions of a trainee closely duplicate real job conditions. This training is essential in cases in which actual on- the-job practice might result in a serious inquiry, a costly error, or the destruction of valuable materials or resources. It is for this reason that the technique is a very expensive one.

VII. Apprenticeship:

For training in crafts, trades and in technical areas, apprenticeship training is the oldest and most commonly used method, especially when proficiency in a job is the result of a relatively long training period of 2 years to 3 years for persons of superior ability and from 4 years to 5 years for others.

The field in which apprenticeship training is offered are numerous and range from the job of a draughtsman, a machinist, a printer, a tool-maker, a pattern designer, a mechanic, carpenters, weavers, fitters, jewelers, die-sinkers, engravers, and electricians.

A major part of training time is spent on-the-job productive work. Each apprentice is given a programme of assignments according to a predetermined schedule, which provides for efficient training in trade skills.

The merits of this method are:

(i) A skilled workforce is maintained;

(ii) Immediate returns can be expected from training;

(iii) The workmanship is good;

(iv) The hiring cost is lower because of reduced turnover and lower production costs;

(v) The loyalty of employees is increased and opportunities for growth are frequent.

2. Off-The-Job Training Methods:

“Off-the-job training” simply means that training is not a part of everyday job activity. The actual location may be in the company classrooms or in places which are owned by the company, or in universities or associations which have no connection with the company.

These methods consist of:

i. Lectures;

ii. Conferences;

iii. Group Discussions;

iv. Case Studies;

v. Role-playing;

vi. Programmed Instructions;

vii. Laboratory Training.

i. Lectures (or Classroom Instruction):

Lectures are regarded as one of the simplest ways of imparting knowledge to the trainees, especially when facts, concepts, or principles, attitudes, theories and problem-solving abilities are to be taught. Lectures are formal organised talks by the training specialist, the formal superior or other individual specific topics.

The lecture method can be used for very large groups which are to be trained within a short time, thus reducing the cost per trainee. It can be organised rigorously so that ideas and principles relate properly. Lectures are essential when it is a question of imparting technical or special information of a complex nature.

They are usually enlivened with discussions, film shows, case studies, role-playing and demonstrations. Audiovisual aids enhance their value. “The lecture method is not dead as some would believe.” 56 In the hands of able lecturers, and for certain kinds of purposes and participants, it may turn out to be more interesting and effective than any other methods.

In training, the most important uses of lectures include:

(1) Reducing anxiety about upcoming training programmes or organisational changes by explaining their purposes.

(2) Introducing a subject and presenting an overview of its scope.

(3) Presenting basic material that will provide a common background for subsequent activities.

(4) 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 a 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 listeners drifts.

(iv) It is difficult to stimulate discussion following a lecture, particularly if the listener is uninformed or awestruck by the lecturer.

(v) The untrained lecturer either rambles or packs far too much information in the lecture, which often becomes unpalatable to the listener.

(vi) The presentation of material should be geared to a common level of knowledge.

(vii) It tends to emphasise the accumulation and memorisation of facts and figures and does not stress on the application of knowledge.

(viii) Though a skilful lecturer can adapt his material to the specific group, he finds it difficult to adjust it for individual differences within a group.

According to the conclusions reached at the Conference on Management Education and Training (held from January 22 to 24, 1964) at Pune, the essential prerequisites for a successful lecture method are:

(i) Group interest should be motivated and adapted to its needs;

(ii) A lecture should be well-planned as to purpose; the main ideas and organisation should be clear and the development interesting;

(iii) It should be presented by an enthusiastic and animated speaker who has his listener’s needs and interest in mind at all times;

(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 lecturer should pose leading questions, instead of giving out knowledge and information, to which the listeners should provide answers.

ii. The Conference Method:

In this method, the participating individuals ‘confer’ to discuss points of common interest to each other. A conference is basic to most participative group-centered methods of development. 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 the 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.

There are three types of conferences. In the directed 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 brings different points 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 viewpoints. It is an excellent method for the development of conceptual knowledge and for reducing dogmatism and modifying attitudes because the participants develop solutions and reach conclusions, which they often willingly accept.


However, the conference method suffers from certain limitations:

(i) It is limited to a small group of 15 to 20 persons, because larger groups often discourage the active participation of all the conferees;

(ii) 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) The conferees should have some knowledge of the subject to be discussed at the conference,

(b) 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; control the more verbose members and bring out the more reserved; develop sensitivity to the thoughts and feelings of individuals and finally, ensure a general consensus on points without forcing agreement or side-stepping disagreement,

(c) 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,

(d) Training issue must involve a problem or need each individual is currently facing or interest in the conference results will wane.

iii. 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 a 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) It may be based on the statement made by the person in charge of the seminar or on a document prepared by an expert, who is invited to participate in the discussion.

(iii) The person in charge of the seminar distributes 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 certain conclusions.

(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 the various aspects, ramifications and complexities of a particular job or work or task.

iv. Case Studies (or 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 by 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 competence 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 problem 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 tentative solutions for it. This method offers to the trainees matter for 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 diagnoses and deals with real-life situations. The case study is primarily useful as a training technique for supervisors and is specially 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 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 the live method, trainers from a particular business describe its development and some of its problems. After discussions and detailed studies, the trainees prepare a report which contains an analyses of the situation and their recommendations on the corrective action to be taken.

In case study method, the trainee is expected to:

(i) Master the facts, become acquainted with the content of the case;

(ii) Define the objectives sought in dealing with the issues in the case,

(iii) Identify the problems in case and uncover their probable causes;

(iv) Develop alternative courses of action;

(v) Screen the alternatives using the objectives as the criteria;

(vi) Define the controls needed to make the action effective; and

(vii) To ‘role play’ the action to test its effectiveness and find conditions that may limit it.


The merits of this method are-

First, it promotes analytical thinking and develops a person’s problem-solving ability.

Second, it encourages open mindedness and serves as a means of integrating the knowledge obtained from different basic disciplines.

Third, although trainees quickly learn that there is no single answer to, or solution of, a case problem, they are nevertheless expected to arrive at useful generalisations and principles.

Fourth, since cases are usually based upon real problem situations the trainees’ interest in they tends to be very great.

Fifth, the method is accepted by everyone, for it deals with detailed descriptions of real-life situations.

Finally, 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.


The method has been criticised on many grounds.

First, it may degenerate into a mere dreary demonstration of dusty museum pieces, if it is taught only from books at developing centres of learning.

Second, 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.

Third, the cases become permanent precedents in their minds and may be used indiscriminately.

Finally, 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, human relations, labour relations, marketing, production management, business policy 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) The case should be a faithful representation of the issues involved as objectively as possible without any observations and comments from the case writer;

(iii) It should be comprehensive and well-documented with a proper history, facts and figures, thus enabling students to see the organisation and the historical setting in which the reported events took place;

(iv) The case report should be realistic and based on first-hand information. It should not contain 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;

v. Role-Playing:

This method was developed by Moreno, a Venetian psychiatrist. He coined the terms “role-playing,” “role-reversal,” “socio-drama,” “psychodrama,” and a variety of specialised terms, with emphasis on learning human relation 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 action, doing and practice.”

In role-playing, trainees act out a given role 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.

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.

The merits of the role-playing method are:

(i) Learning by doing is emphasised;

(ii) Human sensitivity and interactions are stressed;

(iii) The knowledge of results is immediate;

(iv) Trainee interest and involvement tend to be high;

(v) It is a useful method to project the living conditions between learning in the classroom and working on a job and creating a live business situation in the classroom;

(vi) It develops skills and ability to apply knowledge, particularly in areas like human relations; and

(vii) It brings about desired changes in behaviour and attitudes.

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.

In other words, it is conceivable that the practice the trainee gets in interpersonal relations could be faulty.

vi. Programmed Instruction (or Teaching by the Machine Method):

Programmed instruction involves a sequence of steps which are often set up through the central panel of an electronic computer as guides in the performance of a desired operation or series of operations.

It incorporates a pre­arranged, proposed, or desired course of proceedings pertaining to the learning or acquisition of some specific skills or general knowledge. A programmed instruction involves breaking information down into meaningful units and then arranging these in a 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 question, 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 merits of the methods are:

(i) Trainees learn at their own pace;

(ii) Instructors are not a key part in learning;

(iii) The materials to be learned are broken down into small units;

(iv) Immediate feedback is available;

(v) Active learner participation takes place at each step in the programme;

(vi) Individual differences can be taken into account;

(vii) Training can be imparted at odd times and in odd places; and

(viii) There is a high level of learner motivation.

However, this method suffers from certain demerits too.

These are:

(i) The impersonality of instructional setting;

(ii) An advanced study is not possible until preliminary information has been acquired;

(iii) Only factual subject matters can be programmed;

(iv) Philosophical and attitudinal concepts and motor skills cannot be taught by this method; and

(v) The cost of creating any such programme is very high.

This method is primarily used in teaching factual knowledge, such as mathematics, physics, a foreign language, etc.

vii. Laboratory Training:

(i) Sensitivity Training:

Sensitivity training is an experimental approach to training. It provides participants an opportunity to actually experience some concepts of management just as a manager would experience them in his own organisational situation. Sensitivity training is a group training method that uses intensive participation and give immediate feedback for self-analysis and change.

This training has two advantages:

(a) Participants remain involved and enthusiastic.

(b) The responsibility for learning experience lies with the participants. He would make positive efforts to derive much benefits from the exercise. This 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 and awareness how conflicts arise and are resolved.

As the name suggests, sensitivity training aims at developing sensitivity within people towards thoughts, feelings and behaviour of other persons. Through this, improve upon one’s human interactions.

The effectiveness of sensitivity training depends upon the ability of the participant to apply concepts and awareness obtained in the laboratory or group to his job, the transfer of his knowledge to the organisation is possible if the organisation has an open culture, an atmosphere of open discussion, encourage conflict resolution and promote mutual trust.

(ii) T-Groups:

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 variety of skills and experiences like self-awareness, interpersonal relationships, teamwork, group, organisational process and intergroup conflict resolution.

Sensitivity training has developed to the status of an intervention in organisation development. T-Group training is process-oriented and not content-oriented where people operate a feeling level of communication, observing, revealing, listening, and unravelling messages.


Retraining programmes are generally arranged for employees who have long been in the service of an organisation.

The retraining programme may be necessitated by the following facts:

(i) Some employees are engaged in a confined phase of a particular task and lose their all-round skills in a particular trade. Hence, to keep them active in all-round skills, such training is needed.

(ii) During prolonged lay-off periods, employees on certain highly skilled jobs are given retraining when they are called back to work.

(iii) Technological changes may make a particular job, on which an employee is working, unnecessary, and the company may desire to retrain him rather than discharge him.

(iv) An employee, because of illness, accident or incapacity due to age, may no longer be able to do his share of the work he performed when he was in normal health.

(v) Economic depression or cyclical variations in production create conditions in which employment stabilisation may be achieved by having a versatile workforce capable of performing more than one job.

Methods of Training Employees: On-the-Job Method and Off-the-Job Methods

The various methods of training  may be classified as follows:

1. On-the-Job Methods:

(a) Experience

(b) Coaching

(c) Understudy

(d) Position Rotation

(e) Special Projects and Task Forces

(f) Committee Assignments

(g) Multiple Management.

2. Off-the-Job Methods:

(a) Selected Readings

(b) Conferences & Seminars

(c) Special Courses

(d) Case Study

(e) Programmed Instruction

(f) Brain Storming

(g) In-basket Exercise

(h) Role Playing

(i) Management Games

(j) Sensitivity (T-group) Training

1. On-the-Job Training:

On-the-job involves learning by doing. It is considered to be an effective approach for making managers more competent. The trainee is motivated to learn because the training takes place in the real job situation. Little additional space and equipment is needed for training. But neither the trainee nor the trainer are free from the daily pressure of job. The trainer (senior) has seldom the time and patience to impart effective training.

(a) Experience:

This is one of the oldest methods of on-the-job training. It involves learning by doing. It is the most practical and effective method. But it is wasteful and inefficient.

(b) Coaching and Counseling:

Under this method, the senior or super r plays the role of the guide and instructor of the management trainee. He provides personal instruction and guidance. He demonstrates the task operations and answers queries. The trainee observes the superior carefully to learn the necessary skills of the functional area. He mentally visualises and rehearses the modeled sequence of behavior. He asks the superior questions about different facets of the job.

Coaching is one of the oldest and the best methods of developing managers on the job. Training takes place in a realistic environment and the trainee is motivated to learn. The senior is in the best position to monitor and develop managerial qualities in the sub-ordinate. But the stress and strain of the daily duties do not permit complete concentration on training.

The senior seldom finds enough time and attention for providing training He may not be properly trained and oriented himself.

(c) Understudy or Attachment Method:

When a person is promoted to higher level he is given training in the job to which he is to be appointed. He is chosen as the successor to the current incumbent who is going to retire or resign. The trainee is attached with the senior and is called as understudy assistant to or apprentice.

He is given adequate authority to take decisions. He is not penalised for the mistakes committed during the course of learning. He also learns by observing and imitating the superior. The senior routes much of the work through the junior, discusses problems with him and allows him to participate in the decision-making process as often as possible.

The advantages of this method are:

(i) The trainee is not overburdened with work and at the same time participates in running the work unit,

(ii) He gets continuous guidance from the senior in gaining insight into the job content,

(iii) There is little danger of costly mistakes,

(iv) Training takes place in real work situation,

(v) The trainee gets an opportunity to learn and step into the shoes of the senior before he is actually placed on the higher job.

The limitations of this method are:

(i) The senior has no direct responsibility for training and may not take adequate interest in training or grooming the successor,

(ii) The deficiencies in the senior are likely to be perpetrated,

(iii) The trainer may ignore and might not cooperate with the senior who is going leave the enterprise.

(d) Position Rotation:

Position rotation is the process of training executives by rotating them through a series of related jobs or positions. The trainee learns several different jobs within a work unit or department. He performs each job for a specified and limited period. Some companies follow the channel method under which a particular discipline is earmarked for progression of the junior manager.

Position rotation is a useful method of training managers. It provides a broader background or a more varied experience than could be provided in any single job. The trainee is exposed to various tasks and viewpoints. This avoids over-specialisation and facilitates change. Promotion of highly competent individuals is accelerated and the effectiveness of the organisation increases. This provides a greater flexibility in posting and allocation of trainee among departments.

For example, when one employee of a work unit is absent, another can perform his job. Position rotation promotes a balanced and informed approach to goals of the organisation. Through this method, management can shake up and eliminate vested interests. Trainees develop new contacts and carry fresh ideas generating innovation and creativity.

Each manager’s talents are tested in a variety of jobs which facilitates best utilisation of executive talent. A healthy competition is generated, among the trainees because each knows that he must perform well lest his successor should perform better.

The disadvantages of position rotation are:

(i) Frequent changes in job may create dislocation and disruption in work,

(ii) Different coaches in various jobs may suggest conflicting viewpoints and approaches,

(iii) A manager takes time to settle down in a new job and is prone to costly errors or wastage,

(iv) Supervision is needed on moving manager,

(v) The trainee does not get complete, knowledge of any single job.

(vi) The new manager may carry out ill-conceived and hasty innovation resulting in costly experiments,

(vii) The trainee feels insecure because he cannot develop close inter-personal relationships in any one job.

(e) Special Projects and Task Forces:

Under this method, the trainee is assigned a project closely related to his job or example, management trainees in accounts may be asked to develop act control system. The trainees learn by performing the special assignment not only work procedures but organisational relationships too) Sometimes, a task force is created consisting of executives from different functional areas4he trainees learn how to work with others.

This method has several advantages:

(i) No strong groups are formed because the trainee s loyalty is not to any specific project but to his job.

(ii) Personal equations and prejudices are not allowed to take deep roots,

(iii) It improves inter-functional understanding and teamwork,

(iv) It is a very flexible training device.

(f) Committees Assignments:

Under this method, the trainee managers are appointed as members of a committee. The committee deliberates upon and discusses problems of the enterprise. By participating in meetings and discussions, every member learns analytical thinking and decision-making skills. Managers keep abreast of current developments in their respective areas of specialisation Committees provide an opportunity to know what is happening in the rest of the organisation.

(g) Junior Boards or Multiple Management:

This technique was developed by Charles McCormick of Baltimore, U.S.A. Under it a junior board of executives is constituted. In this board, executives discuss real life problems, debate different viewpoints and take decisions. The participants learn comprehension, analysis and decision-making. This method widens the perspective of executives-and promotes teamwork. But no specific attention is given to the training needs of managers. The discussions may become discursive lacking purpose or authority.

2. Off-the-Job Training:

In recent years, formal training and management development programmes have become very popular due to the limitations of on-the-job training. First, on-the-job training does not provide adequate expertise, environment and facilities. Secondly, on-the-job training is inadequate for developing improved behaviour patterns in managers. Thirdly, highly sophisticated tasks and techniques of management development are now available. Training has become a specialised job.

Fourthly, effective training requires a great deal of participation and group discussion among participants from diverse disciplines and cultures. This is not always possible in case of on-the-job training. Fifthly, behaviour, modification of trainees requires a simulated and highly maneuvered atmosphere not found in on-the-job training.

In on-the-job training, trainees are under the pressures and inhibitions of the daily work routine. Off-the-job training provides an uninhibited and relaxed environment. The main drawback in off-the-job training is the artificial work environment which requires adjustment to the actual work situation after the training.

(a) Selected Readings:

Many organisations maintain their own libraries for this purpose. Moreover, executives may become members of professional associations to keep abreast of latest developments in management. Management process has become complex and on-the-job training alone cannot provide the required knowledge and skills. A modern executive cannot depend upon others to inform him of latest developments in knowledge. He has to read literature as a part of his daily routine.

(b) Conferences and Seminars:

In a conference, participants are required to pool their ideas, viewpoints and suggestions. The participants are normally drawn from different companies and sectors. Sometimes, a conference is divided into small groups. These groups discuss thoroughly the problems of common interest and report their recommendations to the conference. A conference provides a common platform for intensive group discretion and allows the participants to look at the problem from different angle.

The participants may prepare and present papers which are discussed in conference. This method helps to reduce the dogmatism and promote an attitude responsive to change. It is ideal for analysing problems. But the process of learning is slow and only a few persons can participate actively in the conference. The deliberations may degenerate into academic discussions and participants may feel uninterested.

(c) Special Courses and Lectures:

Special courses are designed by the compan3’ltself or by management schools. Companies sponsor their executives to attend these courses. The participants are given classroom instructions through lectures and audiovisual aids. They are imparted concepts, principles and techniques in various areas of management, e.g., general management, finance and accounts, marketing, production, personnel and industrial relations, etc.

Well-known companies have set up their own institutes for training executives. All India Management Association, Administrative Staff College of India, Management Development Institute, National Productivity Council and Institutes of Management also organise executive development programme.

This is a good method for providing factual information and knowledge/quickly to large number of executive. Trainees are in a better mental state to learn and assimilate knowledge as they are away from the pressure of daily I work routine. They get a theoretical, foundation for sound management and learn latest developments. They also come into contact with their counterparts from other organisations.

This method, however, suffers from the following limitations:

(i) The trainees are often passive not active,

(ii) There is no feedback from the trainees,

(iii) An inexperienced instructor may not make a clear and complete presentation of the subject-matter and

(iv) Lecturing stresses upon the routine memorisation of facts rather than the practical aspects of job. Despite these defects, lecture method is a simple and efficient technique of introducing subject-matter.

(d) Case Study Method:

The case study method of executive development was developed at the Harvard Business School, U.S.A. It was developed as a supplement to the lecture method. There is no dynamic participation of the learner in the lecture method. Case study method is designed to overcome this limitation of the lecture method.

A case is typically a record of an actual business issue which has been faced by business executives together with surrounding facts, opinions and prejudices upon which executive decision had to depend. The case is presented to the trainees for discussion and analysis. The trainees are expected to identify and diagnose the problem involved, generate alternative courses of action, analyse the pros and cons of each alternative and arrive at a recommendation which the management should adopt under the given circumstances.

The trainees carefully study and actively participate in a large number of cases during the training period. They learn to sort out facts from opinions, to distinguish significant from trivial data, the judge the inter relationship and to make choice. Case study method improves the power of observation and analysis. It stimulates thinking and creativity. Case study method is useful for developing problem solving and decision-making skills among executives.

However, case method is not very effective in changing the attitudes and behaviour of people. It is difficult to apply the lesson of a case study to future problems because two business situations are seldom alike.

A variation of the case method is the incident process in which an event is presented and the participants have to gather details by asking questions from the leader. But this method is subject to the same merits and drawbacks as the case method.

(e) Programmed Instruction:

It is a technique of instruction without the intervention of a human instructor. It is a learner centered method wherein the subject-matter is presented to the trainees in small steps and they are asked to make frequent responses. They are given feedback on their responses. The information is broken into meaningful units and rearranged into a proper sequence so as to form a learning package. Manuals, electronic teaching machines and computer systems are used in this method. It is a useful method fir building knowledge and for retention of that knowledge.

(f) Bain Storming:

Under this method a problem is put before a group of trainees and they are encouraged to offer ideas or suggestions. Criticism of any idea is not allowed so as to reduce inhibiting forces. Each trainee is allowed maximum possible participation. Later on all the ideas are critically examined. The purpose is to maximise innovation and creativity on the part of executives.

(g) In-Basket Exercise:

The in-basket contains a number of correspondence of which poses a problem. The problems are of different kinds and resemble real life problems. The trainees study memos, letters, reports and other documents in the basket. They are required to solve each problem and to record their decisions within a specified time period. The participants learn logical thinking, inter-relationships between problems and decision-making skills.

The problems do not contain all the details and leave areas of uncertainty similar to that encountered in actual business situations. The specified time; limit imposes a time constraint simulating reality. This is an inexpensive method and can be used easily. The alertness of the trainee is also tested.

(h) Role Playing:

Under this method two or more trainees spontaneously act out or play role in an artificially created situation. They act out the given roles as they would be playing in real life situation. They are informed of the situation and the roles they are expected to play. For example, a trainee may play the role of a trade union leader and another trainee of a personnel manager. Each debates the issue from his own role viewpoint with the common objective of reaching the best solution.

The advantages of this method are:

(i) The trainees realise the relevance and role of their functions as well as the organisational conflicts;

(ii) They face a good simulation of real situation without being obsessed by their career interests and other prejudices;

(iii) They get an insight into behaviour patterns and human relationships and become willing to modify their behaviour style;

(iv) They learn to live with and work in situations of conflicts; and

(v) Human interactions lead to logical behaviour and right attitudes on the part of the trainees.

But his method may involve waste of time in the absence of a competent leader. Moreover, the trainees become conscious of artificial situation or drama. Therefore, their responses may not be natural or logical to the situation. The role players may lose seriousness and commitment.

(i) Management Games:

Under this method, an actual business situation is presented as a model. The participants compete with each other to analyse the problem and to take decisions. Their decisions are processed in stages. A performance report is prepared periodically to measure the success of the participants. This method is useful in developing the ability of taking decisions with incomplete data and amid conditions of uncertainty. It improves power of- anticipation and prediction of the competitor’s actions.

But it is an expensive and time-consuming process. It is difficult to simulate the exact real life situations. Use of statistical sampling and other mathematical techniques may involve bias and may create complexity. The class-room behaviour of the participants tends to be abstract front many compulsions of the real life environment.

(ii) Sensitivity (T-Group) Training:

Under this method, a small group (T-Group) meets in an unstructured situation. There is no plan or schedule and no agenda or other inhibitions. The numbers of the group are allowed to communicate with each other freely so that each can gain an insight of his behaviour as others see it. The trainees are encouraged to probe their feelings and abilities in building inter-personal relationships. The purpose is to build self-awareness, understanding of group processes and insight into interpersonal relationships.

Frank and candid discussions encourage inter- personal sensitivity. The participants learn to see the unintended consequences of their behaviour. Sensitivity training is a method of modifying behaviour. It is a controversial method. Some people criticise it as unethical and dangerous. The success of T-group depends on how psychologically safe the trainees feel when exposed to feelings. The outcomes of the method are unpredictable. The trainees may not actually change their behaviour when placed on their jobs.

The process of sensitivity training consists of the following steps:

(a) A small group consisting of ten to twelve persons is constituted,

(b) A professional expert serves a catalyst end trainer.

(c) The group meets without any formal agenda.

(d) The members are encouraged to focus on interpersonal behaviour.

(e) The trainer provides feedback to members on how they interacted with one another.

Sensitivity training offers the following advantages:

1. Trainees are likely to become more open and understanding.

2. By gaining insight into his own and others’ feelings a trainee becomes less biased and tolerant of others’ views.

3. Trainees develop understanding of group processes.

4. Leadership and communication skills are created.

Sensitivity training suffers from the following drawbacks:

1. Frustration may arise among the trainees due to lack of clear and criticism of ideas.

2. Psychological damage may be caused to trainees who dislike Humiliation, anxiety and other emotional problems may arise.

3. There may be unjustified invasion of privacy of the trainees.

4. In the absence of systematic follow-up actions, casualties may go unnoticed.