Magazine article Mortgage Banking

The Four C's That Justify Formal Training

Magazine article Mortgage Banking

The Four C's That Justify Formal Training

Article excerpt

BY FORMAL TRAINING, I MEAN TRAINING that is delivered in a structured environment by a training professional. Every other means of acquiring job skills I lump together as informal training.

The most common type of informal training is unstructured on-the-job training (OJT). As an example: Imagine me on a hot, dusty road-construction site enjoying my first day as an Air-Trac drill operator. The foreman is trying to detach two pipe sections. He turns to me and says, "Go get me a flanged coupling out of my truck." I don't know a flanged coupling from a noodle, but am far too timid to say so. I wander toward his truck, pass a group of guys and say to one, "Can you show me where in his truck Roy keeps the flanged couplings?" He does, so I find out what flanged couplings are and complete the task accurately.

I have estimated for years that about 80 percent of the training in America happens in this catch-as-catch-can fashion and was gratified to see that number precisely validated in a study by Education Development Center, Inc., and quoted in the January 2000 issue of Training Magazine.

Back to the construction site: When I learn what a flanged coupling is and where to get one, a byte of training has occurred. But did it occur optimally? I suggest not. In spite of the fact that informal OJT accounts for the great majority of training, I think it is a very poor training alternative--and one that every company should consciously work to minimize.

I suggest that formal training has four big advantages over OJT, and they are as follows:

* First, formal training is compressed. Sure, you can learn to perform a tune-up by hanging out in a service facility, but you can learn it in one-fifth the time by taking a formal course in exactly those skills with no distractions, no irrelevant material, sequenced activities and a professional trainer. …

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