Training is essential for job success. It can lead to higher production, fewer mistakes, greater job satisfaction and lower turnover. These benefits accrue to both the trainee and the organization if managers understand the principles behind the training process. To this end, training efforts must invariably follow certain learning oriented guidelines.
Modeling is simply copying someone else’s behavior. Passive class room learning does not lave any room for modeling. if we want to change people, it would be a good idea to have videotapes of people showing the desired behavior. The selected model should provide the right kind of behavior to be copied by others. A great deal of human behavior is learned by modeling others. Children learn by modeling parents older children are quite comfortable with the process by the time they grow up. As experts put it, managers tend to manage as they were managed.
For learning to take place the intention to learn is important. When the employee is motivated he pays attention to what is being said, done and presented. Motivation to learn is influenced by the answers to questions such as: How important is my job to me? How important is the information? Will learning help me progress in the company? etc. people learn more quickly when the material is important and relevant to them. Learning is usually quicker and long lasting when the learner participates actively. Most people for example never forget how to ride a bicycle because they took an active part in the learning process!
If a behavior is rewarded, it probably will be repeated. Positive reinforcement consists of rewarding desired behaviors. People avoid certain behaviors that invites criticism and punishment. A bank officer would want to do a post graduate course in finance, if it earns him increments and makes him eligible for further promotion. Both the external rewards (investments, praise) and the internal rewards (a feeling of pride and achievement) associated with desired behaviors compel subjects to learn properly. To be effective, the trainer must reward desired behaviors only. If he rewards poor performances the results may be disastrous: good performers may quit in frustration, accidents may go up, productivity may suffer. The reinforcement principle is also based on the premise that punishment is less effective in learning than reward. Punishment is a pointer to undesirable behaviors. When administered it causes pain to the employee. He may or may not repeat the mistakes. The reactions may be mild or wild. Action taken to repeal a person from undesirable action is punishment. If administered properly punishment may force the trainee to modify the undesired or incorrect behaviors.
People learn best if reinforcement is given as soon as possible after training. Every employees wants to know what is expected of him and how well he is doing. If he is off the track somebody must put him back on the rails. The errors in such cases must be rectified immediately. The trainee after learning the right behavior is motivated to do things in a right way and earn the associated rewards. Positive feedback (showing the trainees the right way of doing things) is preferred to be negative feedback (telling the trainee that he is not correct) when we want to change behavior.
Learning takes place easily if the practice sessions are spread over a period of time. New employees learn better if the orientation program is spread over a two or three day period, instead of covering it all in one day. For memorizing tasks massed practice is usually more effective. Imagine the way schools ask the kids to say the Lord’s prayer aloud. Can you memorize a long poem by learning only one line per day? You tend to forget the beginning of the poem by the time you reach the last stanza. For acquiring skills as stated by Mathis and Jackson spaced practice is usually the best. This incremental approach to skill acquisition minimizes the physical fatigue that deters learning.