On-the-Job Training Examples | 22 Types and Advantages

On-the-Job Training Examples | 22 Types and Advantages

Discover on-the-job training examples to find the right on-the-job training methods for your employees. On-the-job training examples are also known as on-the-job training types, techniques, and strategies. Continue reading this article to get a comprehensive picture of On-the-Job Training (OJT) examples. If you want to learn more about on-the-job training in general, you can check out our comprehensive guide on the topic.

Examples of On-the-Job Training

1. Internship

Internship is usually internal OJT (i.e., conducted by an employee rather than a third-party training provider). Internships are a form of structured OJT and can be conducted remotely. Both students and recent graduates can be in internship programs. If you want to provide internship OJT, you can partner up with Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) or advertise on job posting platforms. An internship may be unpaid if it counts as academic credit for the intern or if you’re in creative arts industries such as fashion and media.

An advantage of internship OJT is that it can be used for recruitment. A study (Zhao & Liden, 2011) found that around 60% of internships resulted in job offers. Another study (Gault et al., 2010) revealed that employers are likely to hire high-performing interns over non-interns. According to an article published in Career Development International, a successful internship involves 4 key mechanisms:

  • Effective planning and design of the internship prior to its start
  • Selecting an internship supervisor who is competent and has free time
  • Identifying if the intern has the potential to be a high-performing employee
  • Ensuring that the internship is relevant and appealing to the intern

2. Coaching

Coaching is structured OJT that can be conducted remotely. Like apprenticeships, coaching can be conducted by an employee, a third-party training provider, or a mix of both. According to a journal article, coaching content should align with the company’s values and culture as well as the employee’s needs and aspirations. Effective coaching can certainly lead to wide-ranging benefits. One study (O’Connor and Cavanaugh, 2013) reported that coached individuals:

  • Felt that they had significantly progressed towards attaining their workplace goals
  • Showed significantly improved scores on psychological wellbeing measures
  • Were observed by others to have increased their transformational leadership behaviours

3. Mentoring

Mentoring is typically unstructured and internal OJT. Similar to coaching, mentorships can be conducted remotely. The success of mentoring primarily depends on how invested the mentor is in the mentorship. For example, a journal article discussed the importance of mentors and mentees having compatible cognitive style, personality, and temperament. Without strong relationships with their mentees, mentors are unlikely to be invested in training them.

When both the mentor and mentee are invested in the mentorship, it can even result in positive psychological changes for the mentor. One study (Lin et al., 2021) found that such mentorships promoted the work engagement and the work meaningfulness of mentors.

4. Job Rotation

Job rotation training is structured and internal OJT. Job rotations can be conducted remotely if work across the company is exclusively remote. In the Encyclopedia of Human Resource Management, job rotation is defined by Carpini & Parker as “the lateral shifting of employees between jobs with similar levels of responsibility, work complexity, and decision-making latitude.” This means that job rotations cover multiple roles and positions within the same level of the organisational hierarchy.

5. Induction On-the-Job Training

Induction OJT is sometimes simply referred to as orientation. Like job rotation training, orientation is structured and internal OJT. It can also be conducted remotely. Existing employees are typically responsible for the orientation of new employees. To provide effective induction on-the-job training, you can use the approach of Japanese companies to New Employee Orientation (NEO) programs as your guide.

According to an article published in Journal of Workplace Learning, this approach has 5 phases:

  • Help new employees transition from students to employees and learn company values
  • Rotate employees between all departments to learn the overall business
  • Rotate employees between all departments again, but for longer periods of time
  • Conduct assessments of employees to identify their strengths, interests, and weaknesses
  • Give employees their permanent job assignments and have senior employees provide continued on-the-job training

6. Job Instruction Training

Job instruction training is formal and internal OJT. While job instruction training can be remote, the possibility is very low. The origins of job instruction training can be traced to Training Within Industry (TWI), a service provided to manufacturers of war materials during World War II. The TWI Job Instruction Program includes the following steps:

  • Set the desired skill level you want the employee to have and its corresponding deadline
  • List the important parts of the job, especially safety procedures
  • Prepare the equipment, materials, and supplies
  • Set up the workstation for the employee
  • Assess the current skill level of the employee
  • Demonstrate or illustrate all the important parts of the job
  • Ask the employee to perform the job and correct their errors
  • Check the employee’s performance of the job on a regular basis

7. Task Delegation

Task delegation is unstructured OJT that can be conducted remotely. In task delegation, a superior assigns responsibilities to junior employees. Since these responsibilities are usually outside of their job scope, employees are able to gain hands-on experience in new tasks. Delegation OJT is also a strong indicator of the trust superiors have in the competence and abilities of their junior employees. Essentially, task delegation is a transfer of job assignments.

8. Committee Assignment

Committee assignment is unstructured OJT that can be conducted remotely. The purpose of committee assignments is to use individual contributions collectively and solve a company-wide problem. Aside from being an OJT opportunity for the committee member, each assignment is a crucial part of the eventual solution. Additionally, while assignments can be performed individually, the entire process requires teamwork and coordination among committee members.

9. Vestibule Training

Vestibule training is structured and internal OJT. Unlike other OJT examples, vestibule training cannot be conducted remotely since it has to take place in a similar working environment. Furthermore, vestibule training focuses on the physical aspect of job performance. This form of training typically covers equipment operation, parts assembly, and associated safety protocols. Vestibule training is, however, narrow in scope because it focuses on a particular task or skill.

10. Self-Instructional Training

Self-instructional training is also known as self-instruction training or self-directed training. Since the employee is in charge of arranging self-instructional OJT, they can choose from a variety of instructional sources. These can be internal (from the workplace), external (from a third party), or a combination of both types of instructional sources. Self-directed training is usually structured OJT, but even that depends on the employee.

However, there are proposed models for structuring self-instructional training. One study (Wu & Atar, 2023) created an operational model while another study (Vithayaporn et al., 2021) created a conceptual model. While these models were created for different contexts, one common feature is the assessment or diagnosis of needs. This feature likely prevents the employee from inadvertently wasting their time on irrelevant training.

11. Peer-to-Peer Training

Peer-to-peer training or co-worker training is more often unstructured OJT than structured OJT. Co-worker training can also be conducted remotely. When it is structured, co-worker OJT can upskill existing employees without much strain on resources. Structured peer-to-peer OJT simply involves pairing a knowledgeable employee with one who is currently struggling. Meanwhile, regular co-worker interactions may result in unstructured peer-to-peer OJT.

12. Job Shadowing

Job shadowing is structured and internal OJT. It cannot be remote without the use of software for uninterrupted screen sharing. Job shadowing is mostly used for in-person OJT. In particular, it seems to be common in healthcare settings. One study (Marlina et al., 2019) found that job shadowing can improve “the cognitive aspects, task management skills, work environment skills, interpersonal skills, and workplace learning skills in midwifery graduates.”

Another study (Kamau-Mitchell, 2014) revealed that when the job shadowing process is used for inductions, it helps the subsequent job performance and attitudes of mental health nurses.

13. Understudying

Understudying or understudy training is structured and internal OJT. It can be effective but it has limitations as well. A study (Kasika & Dangarembizi, 2013) reported that their respondents felt strongly that the implemented understudy program was a good initiative for capacity building. However, more than half of the study’s respondents also strongly disagreed that the knowledge transferred to understudies was managed in an orderly manner.

14. Refresher On-the-Job Training

Refresher training is structured OJT that can be conducted remotely. Both employees and third-party training providers conduct refresher OJT. In a case study (Jain, 1999) of a national library service, 39% of all library staff, 45% of professional librarians, and 33% of library officers identified refresher courses as an OJT need. Refresher OJT was considered essential for “staff to shift from traditional librarians to modern librarians.”

15. Cross-Training

Cross-training is similar to job rotation but not as formal and the focus isn’t on change but expansion. While job rotations usually involve changing roles, teams, departments, or locations, the purpose of cross training employees is to expand and diversify their skill sets. One study (Ninan et al., 2019) on cross-training states that there are 3 types:

  • Positional Clarification – when employees know of each employee’s responsibilities
  • Positional Modelling – when employees discuss and observe each employee’s tasks
  • Positional Rotation – when employees perform tasks outside of their responsibilities

While cross-training is not as formal as job rotation, it is still considered to be structured OJT. A key aspect of cross-training is familiarisation, where the employee becomes more knowledgeable about another employee’s job. In job rotations, skills are gained only through hands-on experience. In cross-training, skills can also be gained through understanding.

16. Just-in-Time Training

Just-in-Time Training (JITT) is usually internal and unstructured OJT. It is delivered as needed or right before the activity requiring training is to be performed. One study (Niles et al., 2009) showed that JITT was effective in the retention of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) skills. But according to a more recent study (Sullivan et al., 2019), “JIT training will not increase the skill, simply return the learner to a previously achieved competency level.”

17. Skill Demonstration

Skill demonstration OJT is also known as Demonstration-Based Training (DBT). It can be internal or external, depending on who demonstrates the skill. Skill demonstrations are structured OJT that can be conducted remotely. The theoretical foundation of DBT is observational learning. To prevent employees from becoming only passive observers during these demonstrations, you can use instructional features.

Instructional features are information or activities presented to employees before, during, or after demonstrations. The following example of how such features are used for DBT has been taken from a journal article:

  • The demonstration – a video recording of the task being performed (i.e., a visualisation of the targeted skills being enacted)
  • The instructional features – an instructional narrative or a handout detailing the task

There are many other kinds of instructional features to use for skill demonstration OJT. One journal article has listed a total of 17 instructional features, including activities such as note taking and goal setting.

18. Conditioning On-the-Job Training

Conditioning on-the-job training is the continuous reinforcement of behaviours aligned with the needs of the job, task, or competency. Unstructured conditioning OJT is similar to skill demonstrations since it is also based on observational learning. On the other hand, structured conditioning OJT is the delivery of timed messaging at regular intervals. These timed messages can be simple reminders or include questions to be more engaging.

19. Scenario-Based Training

Scenario-based training is structured OJT that can be conducted remotely. Unlike case study exploration, this form of OJT requires employees to perform actions which are appropriate for the scenario. An advantage of scenario-based OJT is that it can train employees to handle unexpected situations and notice the nuances of each presented problem. A disadvantage is that scenario-based training may not be applicable to routine jobs.

20. Practice Simulation

Practice simulations are similar to scenario-based training. A key difference is the simulation aspect. Scenario-based training involves immersion in a scenario, not necessarily a simulation. Furthermore, practice simulation OJT can include the use of Virtual Reality (VR) or Augmented Reality (AR). This is also what makes it different from vestibule training, which can only occur in a physical simulated environment.

21. Role Play

Role play is structured OJT that can overlap with scenario-based training. For example, the employee could be immersed in a scenario and required to play a role. However, role play OJT is usually focused on improving interpersonal skills such as in sensitivity training. On the other hand, scenario-based training aims to prepare employees for situations which abruptly shift. Role play training is also more focused on the performance of the role rather than adapting actions to address problems efficiently.

22. Job Aids

A job aid is any material that helps the employee perform their job better. It is one of the most concrete forms of OJT. Job aids can include task lists or checklists, posters, and even electronic material. The purpose of a job aid is usually to remind employees how to complete a task or procedure correctly. Some advantages of job aids are that they can be brought nearly anywhere and remain intact long after training. But for this form of OJT to be effective, you need to measure the employee’s understanding of and engagement with the job aids provided.

How On-the-job Training Types Can Enhance Professional Development

Now that you have a clearer idea of what on-the-job training can look like, you are probably ready to choose the OJT type that’s best for your company and its employees. When deciding on which type(s) to incorporate into your OJT program, ensure that you consider the specific training needs and preferences of your employees. After all, even if the OJT type is the most logical choice, nothing will happen if your employees aren’t motivated to complete it.

If you still need more motivation, you can explore the advantages and disadvantages of on-the-job training to see how it can impact your company.

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