Analysis of Training Experiences

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Employee training is an important human resource function because it enables employees to gain relevant experiences, knowledge, and skills to carry out tasks effectively. However, the success of HR training depends on the effectiveness of the process. The purpose of this essay is to analyze my best and worst training experiences from the past. The best training occurred as an employee orientation while the worst training was a technical skills training program. The worker orientation was carried out in a conducive location by an expert trainer using a mixture of lectures, discussions, hands-on training, and presentations. On the other hand, the technical skills training were conducted on-the-job by supervisors, and it failed to transfer knowledge effectively. Based on the two experiences, effective training is achieved through appropriate choice of location, training methods, and the trainer; and the management should support the trainees to enhance effective transfer of the knowledge and skills gained to specific job performance in the workplace.

Description of the Training Experiences

            One of the most effective training sessions I ever attended was an orientation program for employees when I joined an accounting firm as a customer service attendant. The training was carried out for new employees in the customer service department. It lasted for one week and was attended by five new employees. The customer service personnel were divided into two groups. One group was responsible for taking calls and another group was responsible for welcoming and directing customers to the reception.

One of the objectives of the training was to enable participants to understand and explain the key concepts and ideas involved in customer service effectively. Another objective was to allow participants to know their duties and responsibilities and perform their new tasks effectively and on time. The training was also intended to equip learners with hands-on experience on how to carry out various tasks in the department and equip trainees with effective teamwork and conflict resolution abilities. The participants were trained in a seminar room within the company’s premises where we were arranged on a round-table to allow for discussions. The training involved a combination of presentation, lecture and hands-on methods. Through lectures, the trainer explains provides information to trainees through descriptions and narratives, while presentations include the use of slides to demonstrate something visually (Gregg Learning, 2016).

            The second training was the worst kind of training I ever attended, which involved a technical skills training within the same company. The department introduced new computer software that allowed us to interact with customers online. The participants were all the eleven customer service staff in the organization including new and existing employees. One of the objectives of the training was to enable trainees to learn how to use new technologies to communicate with customers and other employees. The other objective was to equip employees with knowledge of basic accounting concepts so that we could address technical issues with the customers. The training took place at the client service desks where each employee was given a computer connected with headphones. The training method was the hands-on and on-the-job technique in which the supervisors demonstrated to each trainee how to use the new technologies in turns. On-the-job training involves participating in the real task while learning how to perform the task (Training Today, 2016).


The Best Training: Employee Orientation

            The first training was successful due to a number of reasons. First, the training preparation was effective. After employees were recruited, we were given three days to report to work, a period in which the management hired a trainer and organized the venue. When we arrived, the training site was ready, tidy, and had good ventilation. The trainer was also ready with all training materials including a projector, computer, and learning materials. We were highly motivated by the kind of reception and introductions we received, and the supervisors and manager supported us throughout the process. As suggested by Miller (2010), management support is essential for effective training as it motivates employees to be ready and willing to learn.

            The training also achieved its objectives. According to I-TECH (2010), Cullata (2015) and Georgia State University (n.d.), citing educational theorist Robert Mager, a good learning objective should consist of the following components: an audience, behavior, standard, and condition. The objective should also be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, and Time-bound (Osters & Tiu, n.d.) The main objective of the employee orientation was stated in a way that fulfilled the criteria proposed by Robert Mager because it mentioned the audience (participants); behavior (to perform tasks); standard (effectively); and condition (following the training). Indeed, the training achieved the set objectives because at the end of the training everyone understood his or her roles and responsibilities.

            The training site was also conducive because it was clean, well ventilated, and well equipped with learning materials. Grossman and Salas (2011) suggest that the management of an organization must prepare for the training by creating a good environment for learning with minimum external interference; hence the physical and psychological aspects of the training should be conducive to enhance effective learning outcomes from the training. The seminar room was prepared well in advance to accommodate all the participants and support the various training methods used.

            The methods chosen for the training were also appropriate for new employees and the topic to be addressed. The lecture method was used to inform employees about the various aspects of the job including policies, procedures, tasks, rules and regulations, roles and responsibilities. According to I-TECH (2004), a lecture method disseminates a large amount of information efficiently to enhance thorough and detailed examination of content. The approach is also cost-effective, standardized and uniform to ensure that all employees get acquainted with the same level of knowledge and skills (Training Today, 2016). According to I-TECH (2004), the lecture method is necessary when the lecture takes a short time, and it can be more effective if learners take notes. Indeed, I spent a significant amount of time listening passively to ingest a large piece of detailed information about my job roles, duties and responsibilities; as well as the company’s policies and procedures. We were also encouraged to take notes to benefit from the lecture. Consequently, I was appropriately introduced to my new job effectively within a short period of time.

            The hands-on, discussion, and presentation methods also supplemented the lecture approach to ensure that we applied the content learned in practical activities so that we could understand how we might carry out our job roles effectively at the workplace. As suggested by Training Today (2016), PowerPoint presentations are important for customized group discussions led by a trainer.

The discussion between the trainer and the trainees and among the trainees supports and reinforces the information presented in the lecture. According to Blanchard and Simmering (n. d.), discussion entails verbal and non-verbal feedbacks that enable the trainer to understand whether the desired learning outcomes and training objectives have been achieved (Turtell, 2014). Both the lecture and discussion methods are important in developing or changing employees’ attitudes (Blanchard & Simmering, n. d.). The methods enabled the new employees to develop new attitudes about the job process, and the trainer to identify the learning needs of trainees; thus the interactions between the trainer and the trainees led to desirable outcomes in which all participants were able to perform their tasks effectively based on the policies and procedures of the organization.

The hands-on training involves demonstrations as attention-grabbers to teach new steps in a new process to new people (Training Today, 2016). The trainer allowed us to use mobile phones and practice customer-service activities as part of a simulation and behavior modeling process to demonstrate our understanding of roles and duties as customer service attendants.

            The training for new employees was also guided by appropriate learning theories to achieve successful acquisition of knowledge and understanding. One of the theories of learning applied in the training is the behavior modeling theory which was applied in the discussion and simulation training methods. As suggested by Blanchard and Simmering (n. d.) and Ingram (n.d.), behavior modeling can be used alongside other training techniques for skill building to allow the trainees to practice the desired behavior through structured role plays. I played the role of a customer service attendant responsible for handling mobile calls and applied the skills taught in the lecture method such as communication, respect, empathy, and courtesy.

            The employee orientation training also reflected the social and cognitive constructivism theories in various ways. According to the cognitive constructivism theory, learners use the pre-existing cognitive structures to develop new knowledge (David, 2017). In our training, we used our prior business knowledge and communication skills to develop a new understanding of effective customer service. The cognitive constructivism theory focuses on the assimilation and accommodation of new information through discovery learning (Allen & Naughton, 2011). Through hands-on training, trainees developed new cognitive structures in relation to the topic under discussion. On the other hand, social constructivism involves knowledge creation through social interactions (McLeod, 2016). In the employee orientation, learners interacted through discussions to share information and accommodate new information.

            The trainer also demonstrated appropriate competencies, knowledge, and skills needed to deliver the training effectively. According to the Association for Talent Development, training and development professionals should have the following foundational competencies: business skills, global mindset, industry knowledge, personal and interpersonal skills, and technology literacy (Association for Talent Development, 2014). The trainer is also required to have expertise in the following areas: evaluating the impact of learning, learning technologies, instructional design, performance improvement, coaching, knowledge, integrated talent, and change managements (Association for Talent Development, 2014). The outsourced trainer in the employee orientation within our company demonstrated interpersonal skills by trusting us and communicating information effectively.

According to Association for Talent Development (2014), good interpersonal skills include building trust on people and communicating effectively to deliver the right message, understanding, and knowledge. Our trainer gave us opportunities to speak and give our opinions and trusted us to develop knowledge independently through trial and error. Association for Talent Development (2014) also suggests that coaching is essential in improving the ability of trainees to set goals, take action, and maximize their abilities and strengths. Our instructor developed an intimate relationship with us and displayed coaching presence by moving around and demonstrating how things are done, using direct communications and listening to the ideas of trainees.

I transferred what I learned in the classroom successfully because I was able to apply the concepts and ideas acquired from training to the customer service tasks. As suggested by Grossman and Salas (2011), setting goals is necessary for transferring knowledge. The trainer started with training goals and objectives which allowed us to relate what we learned in during the training to the goals that were required to achieve at the end of the training. The trainer, supervisors and customer service manager communicated the goals of the training in advance and encouraged us to focus on the key competencies and skills required to fulfill such goals during the training program. As a result, I was able to link the training content with goals of the organization; hence I was able to apply the acquired knowledge effectively in the specific job performance.

The Worst Training: Technical Skills Training

             The technical skills training failed to achieve the desired learning outcomes in several ways. Although the training got the target audience right, the objectives of the training were not set appropriately. The objectives lacked clear standards and desired behaviors to be developed. The supervisors and manager did not specify the skills that we needed to develop appropriately. We learned how to use the new technologies effectively, but we could not understand how to apply it. The training also took place in our normal workplace where we are often congested, and the training interfered with our work schedules, leading to miscommunication with customers. The training methods were also inappropriate because they failed to focus on specific learning outcomes. For instance, the training involved on-the-job training method on all employees, which was time-consuming and cost-ineffective. According to Blanchard and Simmering (n.d.), on-job-training is appropriate when training less experienced and less skilled employees. The problem of our teams was not lacking computing skills; we only needed to apply the skills we had in our jobs; hence if we were not able to apply what we learned to our job performance. Thus, we were not able to transfer knowledge effectively from the training to the real job tasks.

            The theories were also not applied appropriately to the training. Knowle’s theory of andragogy suggests that adults are capable of self-directed learning and take responsibility for decisions (Smith, 2002). Our supervisors did not give us the opportunity to direct our own learning; instead, they explained the entire process with a fixed procedure. A good trainer allows learners to apply the new technology to their personal experiences at the workplace (Ghirardini, 2011; Foster, 2014). Nonetheless, the training did not relate to constructivism theory because the technical aspects of the new software did not relate in any way to our prior knowledge; and the trainers did not give us an opportunity to share our experiences to construct and develop new knowledge.

The trainer also lacked appropriate competencies and expertise in various knowledge areas. For instance, my supervisor seemed to lack technology literacy. He was not aware of new technologies because he kept referring to his manual and asking an IT expert about certain issues. I felt that we would do better with a trainer with knowledge in IT. The training also lacked evaluation and management support. According to Grossman and Salas (2011) and Anderson (2016), management support creates a good environment and motivates employees to learn and transfer knowledge effectively to the workplace. The management of our company did not take feedback or collect views from us about the training.


            To improve the training, it is necessary to develop a good plan and hire a knowledgeable and experienced trainer who can apply the required fundamental competencies and skills. The training should also involve the right training methods based on the topic to be covered and the type of audience targeted. The trainer could also trust the trainees and give them an opportunity to carry out a self-directed learning so that they can develop knowledge through self-discovery and personal experiences (Brown, 2015). Lastly, a good evaluation approach should be used to get feedback from participants and take corrective measures to improve the training. A conducive training location with sufficient relevant learning materials, good ventilation, and adequate space should also be used to motivate employees and facilitate effective learning.


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January 19, 2024

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