Off-the-job Training Methods:
Off-the-job training methods are conducted separately from the job environment, the study material is supplied, there is the full concentration on learning rather than performing, and there is freedom of expression. Important methods include:
1. Lectures and Conferences: Lectures and conferences are the traditional and direct method of instruction. Every training program starts with lectures and conferences. It’s a verbal presentation for a large audience. However, the lectures have to be motivating and creating interest among trainees. The speaker must have considerable depth in the subject. In colleges and universities, lectures and seminars are the most common methods used for training.
2. Vestibule Training: Vestibule Training is a term for near-the-job training, as it offers access to something new (learning). In vestibule training, the workers are trained in a prototype environment on specific jobs in a special part of the plant. An attempt is made to create a working condition similar to the actual workshop conditions. After training workers in such conditions, the trained workers may be put on similar jobs in the actual workshop.
This enables the workers to secure training in the best methods to work and to get rid of initial nervousness. During the Second World War II, this method was used to train a large number of workers in a short period of time. It may also be used as a preliminary to on-the-job training. Duration ranges from few days to few weeks. It prevents trainees to commit costly mistakes on the actual machines.
3. Simulation Exercises: Simulation is any artificial environment exactly similar to the actual situation. There are four basic simulation techniques used for imparting training: management games, case study, role-playing, and in-basket training.
(a) Management Games: Properly designed games help to ingrain thinking habits, analytical, logical, and reasoning capabilities, the importance of teamwork, time management, to make decisions lacking complete information, communication, and leadership capabilities. The use of management games can encourage novel, innovative mechanisms for coping with stress. Management games orient a candidate with practical applicability of the subject. These games help to appreciate management concepts in a practical way. Different games are used for training general managers and the middle management and functional heads – executive Games and functional heads.
(b) Case Study: Case studies are complex examples that give an insight into the context of a problem as well as illustrating the main point. Case Studies are trainee-centered activities based on topics that demonstrate theoretical concepts in an applied setting. A case study allows the application of theoretical concepts to be demonstrated, thus bridging the gap between theory and practice, encourage active learning, provides an opportunity for the development of key skills such as communication, a group working, and problem-solving, and increases the trainees” enjoyment of the topic and hence their desire to learn.
(c) Role Playing: Each trainee takes the role of a person affected by an issue and studies the impacts of the issues on human life and/or the effects of human activities on the world around us from the perspective of that person. It emphasizes the “real- world” side of science and challenges students to deal with complex problems with no single “right” answer and to use a variety of skills beyond those employed in a typical research project. In particular, role-playing presents the student a valuable opportunity to learn not just the course content, but other perspectives on it. The steps involved in role-playing include defining objectives, choose context & roles, introducing the exercise, trainee preparation/research, the role-play, concluding discussion, and assessment. Types of role-playing may be multiple role-play, single role play, role rotation, and spontaneous role play.
(d) In-basket training: In-basket exercise, also known as in-tray training, consists of a set of business papers which may include e-mail SMSs, reports, memos, and other items. Now the trainer is asked to prioritize the decisions to be made immediately and the ones that can be delayed.
4. Sensitivity Training: Sensitivity training is also known as laboratory or T-group training. This training is about making people understand themselves and others reasonably, which is done by developing in them social sensitivity and behavioral flexibility. It is the ability of an individual to sense what others feel and think from their own point of view. It reveals information about his or her own personal qualities, concerns, emotional issues, and things that he or she has in common with other members of the group. It is the ability to behave suitably in light of understanding.