Original Date: 08/26/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Structured On-the-Job Training
Structured On-the-Job Training (SOJT) is the planned process of developing and delivering task-level expertise by having an experienced employee train a novice employee (one-on-one) at or near the actual work setting. The Training Department created the SOJT process to provide a more structured and effective training experience for its employees. The SOJT process is currently implemented throughout Weirton Steel Corporation’s (WSC’s) operating areas.
WSC started experiencing a significant number of retirements and transfers among its senior employees in its operations areas. New and transferring employees need to quickly develop a working knowledge of their job responsibilities. Although classroom training is the most popular, most learning occurs as a result of training conducted in the job setting itself. On-the-Job Training (OJT) allows an employee to pass job knowledge and skills to another employee in the work setting. Prior to 1991, WSC performed unstructured OJT. Trainees acquired job knowledge and skills from impromptu explanations or demonstrations, trial-and-error efforts, self-motivated reading, questioning on their own, and imitation of others. Unplanned OJT, typically driven by work demands and crises, prolonged the training period, delivered inconsistent learning, and did not always address the needs of the trainee.
During December 1991, a Total Quality Needs analysis revealed a problem with the traditional OJT method of breaking-in new personnel to these positions. Since OJT methods are typically ignored by most professional trainers, the necessary skills to plan and execute structured OJT are not widely known or published. WSC established a team to research SOJT and create a structured break-in training program that had a consistent format, served the needs of the trainee, and selected the best delivery method. SOJT methodology was developed in cooperation between the WSC training group and an outside consultant to ensure in-depth SOJT guidelines and instructions.
Based on this methodology, a guidebook was generated to provide guidelines for training consultants who select the best training delivery method for the training needs. The guidebook helps managers who may need to develop SOJT; project managers who coordinate the development process; technical consultants who actually develop the training materials; and mentors who want to better understand the whole SOJT system. The guidebook provides the definition of SOJT, the decision criteria for selecting SOJT as the training method, the procedures to follow when designing SOJT for a position, and the evaluation techniques for determining the change in a trainee’s behavior as a result of training. Each comprehensive SOJT training manual addresses the following guidelines: the time schedule of activities to complete the training; an overview of the specific training; in-depth safety equipment and concerns associated with the position; basic information and detailed job task descriptions; exercises for the trainee; position evaluation and diagnostics; and job-related terminology.
To date, SOJT training manuals, based on the Methodology Guidebook, document the training for more than 80 positions at WSC. For any given position, at least five or more personnel have completed SOJT training to date. WSC states that its SOJT training is more effective and efficient than the previously-used, traditional OJT.
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