OJT 2.0 – How Technology and Tradition Come Together in On-The-Job Training

A graph with a mouse and a mouse on it showing Decreasing Marginal Utility

Interplay Learning Introduces On-The-Job-Training 2.0

Hands on training is very beneficial and is a critical part of an effective training program, but often hands-on training is perceived as the only option. This traditional mindset of “hands-on training is the only way” can lead to a longer ramp-up time and potentially less effective employees.

Interplay Learning’s concept of OJT 2.0 (On-The-Job 2.0) has been developed based on research on the traditional on-the-job training process. To understand OJT 2.0, we should discuss the inefficiencies, or areas for improvement, to discover where technology and slight adjustments in the process can deliver a better-trained employee in a shorter period of time.

These inefficiencies or areas of improvement include but are not limited to:

  • The issue of diminishing marginal returns
  • Reduced repetitions
  • Lack of knowledge plan and tracking
  • Limited scalability
  • Improved career path discussions and visibility

Let’s breakdown each category and explore how Interplay Learning’s OJT 2.0 can make a difference in how companies train and retain their employees.

The Issue of Diminishing Marginal Returns

The concept of diminishing marginal returns means you get incrementally more utility, or in this case “learning potential”, out of the first hour or two on the job than you do out of hour 38 or 39. Put in a non-training concept, you get more enjoyment out of the first helping of Thanksgiving Dinner than you do out of your third. Each subsequent helping gives you less pleasure or utility.

hvac training course

OJT 2.0 focuses on providing additional training options to the trainee to maximize learning opportunities. Giving a trainee additional materials to learn from will make the on-the-job training more effective.

With this tool, the trainee will most likely have more questions to drive conversations with their ridealong partner. This, in turn, will engage the trainer to better prepare the trainee which will lead to no more quiet time in traffic.


Reduced Repetitions

Unfortunately, on-the-job training faces the laws of the real world. There are only so many hours in the day, so many panels to install, and just so many house calls to make. Each business has its roadblocks that lead to an inefficient training environment which reduces repetitions or opportunities in the field.

OJT 2.0 has a goal of maximizing repetitions of life-like scenarios. OJT 2.0 delivers these repetitions the same way pilots learn to fly, through simulations. In a shorter period of time, companies can deliver many different on-the-job scenarios and provide trainees instruction in a systematic way. These repetitions are needed to build the confidence and decrease the time to competency for a trainee.

Lack of Knowledge Plan and Tracking

Similar to a school curriculum, where standards or goals are put in place for what a student should know, a job training system should list and measure the skills an installer/technician needs to know. OJT 2.0 takes this approach and uses technology to set standards or goals for the trainees as well as track the competence of the trainees.

The In-The-Field mentoring app now gives the trainer realistic goals/standards to focus on when working with the trainee. This system allows trainers to track via pictures what the trainee has seen and learned. Finally, this system will enable trainers to rate the trainees’ level of understanding on the skill. Managers are given a snapshot of what goals/standards have been covered in the field and how competent your trainee is while on the job.


Limited Scalability

Our master solar expert Mark Mrohs believes that Jedi’s have the most superior apprenticeship training program. “Always two there are, a master and an apprentice” Given Yoda’s philosophy, this type of training method limits the number of potential people you can train.

So I could argue that the universe’s most famous apprentice program lacks scalability if the Rebellion needed to fight an even larger Empire. To scale an on-the-job training program, a small group of trainees needs to follow one trainer. But unfortunately, this method does not work well when an installer/technician is training in a customer’s house or on the roof.

There are customer service issues, safety issues, and not mention actual space issues. Mrs. Jones would not be very happy if a technician walked in with 5 apprentices behind him to inspect the HVAC unit (let alone to go into the attic).

OJT 2.0 provides an alternative training method to help a master trainer rotate trainees. This gives the trainer the opportunity to do one-to-one field training while also providing additional learning opportunities for the other trainees who are not in the field. This system increases a company’s opportunity for growth and expansion at a faster rate.


Improved Career Path Discussions and Visibility

Companies discussing career paths with their new hires is a great thing and is in alignment with OJT 2.0 mentality. We could potentially debate (or joke) about the common rhetoric regarding millennials, but one thing rings true: having a structured career path process, having conversations about what steps millennials need to take to get there, and providing career building training are best practices for a company to recruit, train, grow, and retain today’s new labor force.

A survey conducted by Deloitte discovered that, “When Millennials are most satisfied with their learning opportunities and professional development programs they are also likely to stay longer.” This survey emphasized on, “Millennials’ values and ambitions, drivers of job satisfaction, and their increasing representation on senior management teams.”

The results on the survey show, “open communication, inclusiveness, and attention to the ambitions of Millennials really do foster loyalty.” If companies are investing in their employees then the new labor force will want to stay and grow within the company.

Deloitte realized that, “Millennials (are) expressing a greater sense of control if they work in organizations that support their ambitions, align with their values, feature a collaborative and trust-based working culture, and have a strong sense of purpose.” If companies, in any industry, foster these attributes to cater to millennials they will have a more beneficial employees and a stronger workforce.

In Conclusion….

Interplay’s training programs help implement the OJT 2.0 mindset into action. Interplay’s software helps companies provide structure and hands-on learning through simulations. These inefficiencies or areas for improvement are not an indictment on all companies training methods, but they can be used as a reference check to compare a company’s current training process with the OJT 2.0 style program.

We are interested to learn more about how companies are scaling their training and we are open to provide more information about our software and simulation programs.

For more information, please reach out to Craig Carter at ccarter@interplaylearning.com.