Companies and generally every kind of an organization is managed by people. Without all these people (employees) there is no company. This means that the employees are the most important asset of an organization. Behind a successful company are a successful manager and a successful team of employees and vice versa. The people make the difference. They learn, they set goals and they manage a company. They try hard in order to make an organization be effective. In order all these people to work as a team and to work effective they have to be trained.
A training programme can be for a new position of a company or for a change in the culture of the company. The aim of this project is to examine the basic theories about training and how a training programme in a company operating in Greece can be effective and efficient so as to help employees improve their performance The first step before we analyze and try to understand which type of training is appropriate or which methods we should use, we have firstly to understand what is training.
"Training is learning that is provided in order to improve performance on the present job. " And this can be achieved by a trainee. "Trainee is a person who directs the growth of learners by making them qualified or proficient in a skill or task. Uses coaching, instructing, and facilitating techniques to accomplish the learning objectives. " (www. nwlink. com) As we can see, the definition refers to a present job and this means not only training new employees but also introducing new technology or bringing employees up standards. Training is part of Human Resources Development.
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Human Resources Development has been defined as an organized learning experience, conducted in defined time period, to increase the possibility of improving job performance and growth. (www. nwlink. com) HRD is divided in three main categories. Training, development and education. As we mentioned above training improves human performance and introduces new technology. Education is training people to do different jobs, improves the knowledge or increases employee potential to be promoted and finally is Development. Development is acquired new horizons, technologies and viewpoints.
It's very important not to confuse development with change. "Changes refer to the alterations that occur over time in the learners' internal cogitative or affective characteristics. This change may be quantitative or qualitative and it implies no directionally, encompassing both regression and progression. Development is always progressive" (http://www. nwlink. com/~donclark/hrd/sat1. html) The purpose of training is to state very clearly what trainees are expected to do when the training programme is ended or at the end of each stage in the training procedure.
Except the word 'training' there are alternative words such as 'instructional' and 'learning'. In addition the use of word 'behavior' has the aim to emphasize that the trainees performance should be described in behavioral terms. (R. Buckley and J. Caple, 2001 p. 116) Before a trainer chooses a method, he/she should consider the availability and the skill level of a trainee. However, it is felt to be more valuable to discuss strategies and methods before skills because it is impossible to prevent thoughts about strategies and tactics coming into mind at a comparatively early stage in the process.
Strategies have been categorized as centralized and decentralized, as trainer-centered and learned centered as on job and off job training et. c. These strategies can be used as part of training plan. But the strategy that is chosen will depend on what is being trained, knowledge of the target population (refers in general to all those to whom the training will be given) and the constraints which the training designer has to work to. When a trainer decides upon the appropriate strategy, he/she is in the position to select the appropriate methods with which to apply the strategy. These methods are:
The lecture. In this method a talk or a presentation is usually supported by visual aids in which information about practices, procedures, policies are described and explained to the audience. There is a little or no participation by the trainees until they are invited to ask questions which is usually at the end. This method has various advantages such as: the trainer has the complete control over content and sequence in which the material is presented, large number of trainees can be catered for and also more material can be presented in the time available than by many other methods.
On the other hand, the disadvantages of this method are that it is not a method which teaches skills, it's difficult to hold trainees' attention due to lack of participation and finally, another problem is that the skill demand on the presenter is very high. (R. Buckley and J. Caple, 2001, p. 190) The demonstration. By this method the trainer or his assistance uses an illustration by live performance of a task or a procedure. Usually, it's part or a follow up of a lesson or training session in order to provide a model for trainees before they are called to practice themselves.
The advantages of this method are that it's easy to attract and retain the interest of trainees, reinforces correct procedures by providing a model and also speed can be adapted to suit the level of the group. In contrast the disadvantages are that the demonstration needs carefully preparation by demonstrations, this method can be time consuming to obtain materials if dedicated space is not available and lastly may have to prepare a number of times if students numbers are large or if task is difficult and can be seen only by small numbers at a time.
(R. Buckley and J. Caple, 2001, 191) The Lesson. This method is the most used method and also the most flexible tactic that a trainer has. It is used for teaching both fact and skills. The structure of a lesson allows for a high level of interaction between trainer and trainee through question and answer, practice and the giving of feedback. It a flexible method so that it can be incorporate other tactics, also a lesson can be adapted in terms of content depending on the experience and the ability of trainees.
As well the lesson method has high level of trainees' participation and high level of interaction between trainees and trainers, finally lesson format makes it easy for new trainers to deliver. The only disadvantage of this method is that the size of a group must be limited in order to allow for participation. (R. Buckley and J. Caple, 2001, p. 191) The Tutorial method is a structured training method that is conducted on a one to one basis between trainer and trainee. The training could be on the job or off the job. In a job situation, the trainer could be the person who demonstrates, explains or guides a trainee.
This method has a range of advantages such as constant interaction between the trainer and trainee, constant feedback for trainees and also trainees have the opportunity to continue their jobs while training takes place. The disadvantages of this method are that the time which is spent for the preparation and training one person is the same as for training a group, trainers and trainees must be well-matched as working couple and a trainer must be technically competent as well as skilled in coaching techniques, diagnostic skills and remedial methods.
(R. Buckley and J. Caple,2001, p. 192) Another method is the discussion. By this method a trainer usually leads a group of activities where participants examine suggestions, attitudes, ideas or solutions to problems. This method is used better to support other tactics and to reinforce main points drawn out of other sessions. By using this method individuals have the opportunity to express opinions and listen others views, also there is a high level of participation by trainees and trainees experience and knowledge can be drawn out.
On the other side, if this method is not structured properly can be time consuming, also if participants (no more than twelve) are not prepared or lack in experience and knowledge there are no results and lastly trainers are required to have skills in order to manage time so the objective to be achieved. (R. Buckley and J. Caplet, 2001, p. 195) The syndicate exercise is a method that can be used in order to give trainees the opportunity to work in small groups, to put into a practice or apply what they have learnt.
In addition they have the opportunity to draw upon the existing knowledge to draw up lists of ideas and thoughts of a particular topic. This tactic provides an opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas, encourage team work and provides a challenge and in addition can cover more ground by setting different tasks to each group. The disadvantages of this method are that trainer could lose some control; exercises need to be carefully structured and finally can be time consuming especially at the plenary stage.
(R. Buckley and J. Caple, 2001, p. 195) The Learning package method. This method is a collection of learning materials, which could include directed reading, activities, case studies, assignments or other similar methods. It's usually used by individual trainee as a form of distance learning. The advantages of this method are that the trainees may begin at any time and can make provision for those who wish to study topics in greater depth through further and additional reading and activity.
This tactic can be used with a widely dispersed target population. The disadvantages are that trainees can fell cut off with out references to other working on the same material, assessing assignments and exercises can be difficult and time consuming and also this method can not be used effectively and safely for skills training. (R. Buckley and J. Caple,2001, p. 196) Computer based training and online learning. This method is the most known method in training programs.
Training based in computer and online learning methods provide a wide range of learning opportunities and meet different needs. At one end of the range there is the knowledge-based package, which offers to learners with information in a structural and logical sequence that will help them to work through in their own time. Such packages may be enhanced with other information sources such as libraries and databases available on the World Wide Web.
"CD ROM technology allows for more interactive facility to be used to develop intellectual skills and, in some circumstances, lay the foundation for the improvement of certain kinds of social skills. " There are also some computer based learning systems which allow for individualized instruction by diagnosing which are the trainee's current level of expertise and then designing a programme to meet the individual's particular needs. These programmes are usually self paced and no rely, or not any great extent, on tutor support.
The advantages of this methods are that learners may begin at any time and learning is self paced, progress can be monitored, It can be cost effective way of providing training and in addition this method has up to date material can be made more quickly available to the learner, It can cater for larger numbers studding at the same time, views ideas about subject mater which can be exchange with others and finally there is an opportunity to communicate with tutor in private.
On the other hand, it could initially be costly if capital expenditure is needed for equipment, and also if large numbers are involved administration could be difficult. (R. Buckley and J. Caple, 2001, p. 199)
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