On-the-job training is the most dominant form of training in the world today: not because it is safe or economical but because in many instances it is the only practical way of learning a job. It is a traditional and proven methodology; numerous studies indicate that it is the most effective form of job training possible.

On-the-job training programs range from formal training with one-on-one master-apprentice set-ups to learning by watching master-to-many-student arrangements. In this sense, the most formal types of on-the-job training are distinct from classroom training largely in that they take place onsite where work is being performed.

Group being instructed on the job

The Types of On-the-Job Training VSD delivers

We deliver two different types of on-the-job training: structured (planned) and unstructured (unplanned). Unstructured is the most common kind and refers to loose on-the-job training programs that largely involve novices or new teams (like a naval cadet) working with an experienced officer (like an officer-of-the-watch), who serves as a guide or mentor in an observe-and-imitate training process. The new students largely learn by trial and error with feedback and suggestions from experienced supervisors. Unstructured is most useful in building new teams and in building basic competencies in new equipment or new mission settings.

VSD’s structured on-the-job training involves a program designed to teach new workers what they must know and do in order to complete their tasks successfully. On-the-job training represents a significant investment considering that for many industrial processes, 30 percent of a new worker's time is spent in on-the-job training during the first 90 days of employment. This type of structured training involves a combination of demonstrations, reviews, and individual performance with increasingly degrees of independence from instructor supervision. A combination of classroom and laboratory work (for demonstrations) and real world working environment (for reviews and individual trial and error) tend to produce the best training results.

Modern approaches to on-the-job training are increasingly turning to simulators as a safer, more cost effective and adequately efficient on-the-job training tool. Simulators on average, cost eight times less to operate than traditional on-the-job training within a workplace setting. This is because in simulators: costly mistakes have no impact, exercises can be repeated multiple times at a negligible cost, and no productive operational equipment is tied up for non-productive training purposes.

Whether or not the training program includes simulators or is conducted on the production-floor, the emphasis is on the training of novices by experienced workers who possess not only the skills necessary for the tasks to be learned but also the skills as an instructor. By selecting such instructors, companies can achieve consistency in training content, methods, and results. Quality on-the-job training then begins with the selection of qualified trainers and trainees: trainers who know the tasks and know how to communicate how to perform them and the trainees who are ready, willing and able to learn the tasks.

VSD assists organizations in all aspects of on-the-job training program development, beginning with our workforce planning and human factors analysis services that organizes the effort and establishes a solid learning foundation. We develop structured solutions that combined the right proportion of demonstration, review and individual performance time necessary to impart individuals and teams with the new skills they need. We provide quality instructors, each with the right mix of professional and personal qualifications as required by the specific circumstances at hand. We measure progress and success in terms of how rapidly we achieve the required competency level and how well trainees are able to complete assigned tasks adequately in accordance with the measurable performance and productivity goals.