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The success of any modern organization depends on how well its personnel are trained. Most American organizations spend a lot of resources annually in training their human resources. The choice of a training methodology or technology is influenced by a number of factors. First, most companies usually consider the cost of the training methodology.
Second, the relevance of the training methodology or technology to a company’s needs is considered. Many organizations or institutions like a training methodology that consumes little time. This paper compares and contrasts hands-on training verses computer based training methodologies as they relate to domestic and global business environments.
Hands-on training refers to an instructional methodology that is used by companies and educational institutions to train students or employees. Hands-on training is a more effective way of giving instructions than teaching in a conventional classroom situation. This mode of training enables a trainee to perform the task that is being taught at a particular time.
In most instances, the trainer practically guides the trainee on how he or she should go about a certain task. Both the trainer and the trainee ought to be well prepared for the actual training activities. For example, the trainer should prepare a set of objectives or goals and a list of tasks for a given training session.
The trainer should also set enough time for the training. On the other hand, the trainees should properly research on the task to be taught. Good preparation enables both the trainer and trainee to have a successful hands-on training session.
Computer based training is an instructional methodology in which a trainer imparts skills on a trainee through a computer. There are different forms of computer based training. First, there are computer-assisted instructions that involve practical sessions.
Second, there are computer-managed instructions that evaluate students’ performances and track their progress in learning. Third, there are computer-enriched instructions whereby the computer serves as a programming tool. Computer based programmes are “developed by teams of five specialists: an expert in the particular subject, a technician expert, an instructional designer, a graphics artist and a programmer”.
Both hands-on training and computer based training programmes should be well formulated for effective training activities. Instructors should set objectives which show the desired outcomes. Learning objectives make the training sessions more focused.
Hands-on training and computer based training are both effective in training students and employees. Therefore, any of these training methodologies can be used to train individuals on a given task.
Through hands-on training, trainees can gain first hand practical experience in a given area of study. Trainees can easily understand and recall what has been taught because there is opportunity for demonstration. This training methodology also allows trainees to seek clarification from their instructors.
For example, “organizations like Occupational Safety and Health Administration require that employees should be given opportunity to ask questions”. According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration, trainees should be given applied experience in working with equipment.
Hands-on training also enables an instructor to assist trainees when they do not get a concept right. However, computer based training does not provide trainees with such an opportunity. In most instances, the trainees will only watch a demonstration on a computer screen. This may result into boredom that can hinder effective learning.
Hands-on training gives new employees an opportunity to interact with their colleagues in the company. New employees are likely to receive a warm reception from the officials of a company if they are inducted into the system through hands-on training.
This is contrary to computer based training in which new employees might not have a chance to interact closely with their senior workmates. Consequently, the new employees “may perceive the company as faceless and uncaring for their needs”.
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Computer based training is more uneconomical compared to hands-on training because it compels a company to spend extra amount of money in developing and maintaining their own customized computer based programs. For example, a company may part with not less than $ 300,000 to $ 500,000, excluding the upgrading cost.
On the other hand, computer based training is more flexible than hands-on training because it offers flexible training sessions to new employees. For example, an employee can train at home. In the case of hands-on training, one has to be present at the training venue.
From the above comparison of hands-on training and computer based training, it can be concluded that a company or an institution should choose its training methodology carefully. The choice should be made on the basis of cost, time, and need.
A company should also make a comparison between different training methodologies and technologies. This will enable it to make a wise decision because the quality of training that is given to employees or students will either boost or lower their productivity.
Koppett, K. (2001). Training To Imagine. New York: HRD Press, Inc.
Pike, R. (2003). Creative Training Techniques Handbook. New York: HRD Press, Inc.
Sisson, G. (2009). Hands On Training. Sanfrancisco: Barrelt Koehler.