Traditional vs. Computer Based Training - Essay Example

Preface Traditional training methods and computer-based training (CB) methods are similar in many ways but also different in many ways. CB training methods are actually traditional training methods converted to some type of electronic form and delivered via a computer. This paper will describe both the traditional and computer-based training methods, as well as outline advantages and disadvantages of each. Traditional versus Computer-Based Training Methods Whether It is delivered in a classroom or an auditorium, or on an Intranet or Internet, training Is designed to teach someone something.

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Training Is situation pacific and audience dependent. It is driven by the way it is delivered, and the content being taught. When the decision to conduct training is made, another decision must be made, and that Is how the training will be presented. Should the training be conducted In a more traditional setting using lectures, discussions, demonstrations or a combination of these; or should the training be conducted in a computer-based training environment? While both types of training teach the same thing, everyone learns differently and trainees must decide whether traditional or computer-based training methods work best for them.

Traditional Training Methods Traditional methods of training can be divided into two general categories: presentation and hands-on. Presentation is quite simply training methods that present information to trainees. These methods include lectures, discussions and demonstrations and are usually more passive and less Interactive. Hands-on methods include games and simulations where the trainee plays a more active role in the training by doing things such as role playing instead of Just listening. Lecture Method Lecture Is the most widely used presentation form of training.

It can be in print or oral form, and the oral form can be live or presented on video. In most cases all training sessions use some form of lecture and can be presented as the lecturer speaking to the group of trainees or it may take the form of a printed handout or textbook (Blanchard & Thacker, 2010). Most educators or trainers learn how to teach based on their experiences as students. The “teach as I was taught” approach tends to turn the lecture into a passive, one-way method of transferring information.

Lectures are generally described from the Instructor’s point of view, and the student’s need for Interaction Is not addressed (Sullivan, 1996). An effective lecture involves students through an interactive and participatory approach using various teaching techniques which engage the students and connect them to the trainer. A variety of supporting media Is used In the training and there Is limited note taking required. An Ineffective lecture has the trainer standing at a podium lecturing with no Interaction from the students who quickly lose interest and find it difficult to concentrate.

There is no 1 OFF Lectures are most effective when disseminating information quickly to a large number of people; providing an overview of a topic or arousing interest in a topic or when presenting new information before using other media. A good lecturer will speak clearly and use pauses; structure the lecture to give clear view of the topic; and clarify key points (McGinnis, n. D. ). Lectures are not appropriate when a trainer will be presenting complex and detailed or abstract information; when dealing with information where feelings or attitudes are concerned; and when teaching high level cognitive skills.

Poor lecturers have been criticized for not speaking clearly; saying too much too quickly and assuming too much knowledge (McGinnis, n. D. ). Discussion The goal of the discussion method of training is to get students to talk about the intents of the training material. In a discussion, the lecturer’s role becomes a facilitator’s role that moderates the discussion instead of lecturing, giving the students a chance to share ideas and information with each other and the class. Getting feedback and ideas from the entire class becomes a positive thing as students are more likely to Join in and add their ideas if everyone are participating.

A good discussion gives the students an open-ended problem to solve, a task to complete, a Judgment to reach, a decision to make, or a list to create – something that begs for closure. Asking questions is an excellent way to start a discussion as it helps the trainer determine whether the trainees understand the information correctly and help create a common understanding (Blanchard & Thacker, 2010). There are several different types of questions that can be used in discussions including open-ended and closed-ended questions, overhead questions, and direct questions.

An open-ended question does not require a specific response; there is no right or wrong answer. Open-ended questions encourage the trainees to participate in and contribute to the discussion using a trainee’s knowledge or feelings. A closed-ended question asks for specific short or one word answer which enables the trainer to assess learning. An overhead question can be open-ended or closed ended questions and are asked to the entire training class, not an individual or one person in particular. Anyone in the group can answer an overhead question making them entertaining.

On the other hand, a direct question is asked to a specific trainee, usually one that is not participating in the discussion, in the hopes that they will begin to get involved with the discussion. A direct question will generally elicit information. Effective questioning and interaction are important to the success off discussion. Questioning skills include planning questions in advance, asking a variety of questions and providing positive feedback whenever possible (Sullivan, 1996). Demonstration Method The demonstration method of traditional training is a visual display of how to do something or how something works.

To be most effective, a demonstration should be integrated with the lecture/discussion method (Blanchard & Thacker, 2010). In an effective demonstration, the trainer breaks the demonstration into smaller parts that explains how the different parts come together and relate to each other describing what is being done. The demonstration method has a higher level of involvement than the lecture and discussion methods, thus, more learning occurs. After the demonstration is completed, the trainer could offer the trainees a chance to perform the demonstration so they might better understand the results.

Hands on Methods Hands on methods of traditional training include games and simulations as well as role playing. When a trainee actively participates in an activity, they learn quicker, become more interested in the subject, and retain more information. In a game or simulation, one or more trainees are put in a realistic situation, given goals to meet, and they are left to achieve those goals however they see fit. There are various methods of games and simulations including behavior modeling, business games, case studies, equipment simulators and in basket techniques.

Behavior modeling allows trainees to observe others to discover how to do something new. Behavior modeling focuses on developing behavioral and interpersonal skills and is often used for sales training, interviewer training and safety training (Training and Development, 2007). Business games are simulations that attempt to represent the way an industry, company or unit of a company functions. Trainees are provided with information describing a situation and asked to make decisions about what to do (Blanchard & Thacker, 2010).

Business games are effective because they develop leadership skills and strengthen management skills. They also show trainees how their decisions impact the situation at hand. Case Studies focus on building decision making skills and assess and develop Asks. The case study method emphasizes an approach to see a particular problem rather than a solution. Their solutions are not as important as the understanding of advantages and disadvantages (Training and Development, 2007). Equipment simulators are mechanical equipment identical to that used on a trainee’s actual Job.

Conditions used in the equipment simulator must be identical the conditions under which the trainee works as well. Equipment simulators increase the degree of reliability between the simulation and the work setting. Pilots, military officers and ship navigators are a few occupations that utilize equipment simulators. Using the in basket technique, a trainee is given information about a role they will lay and then they are given and in basket of documents and materials and asked to respond to those materials in a certain amount of time.

Once complete, the trainer provides feedback on what was done properly and what might need improvement. This method of training develops procedural as well as strategic knowledge and develops communication and interpersonal skills (Training and Development, 2007). Role Play In role play, each trainee is given a role to play. The trainees are given a description of the role and information pertaining to it like responsibilities, concerns and objectives. They receive a description of the problem or situation that faces them and they are asked to act out the roles by interacting with each other.

Group decision making and conflict resolution are learned through role playing. Multiple versions of role playing. Computer -Based Training Methods Computer-based training, also known as CB is any instructional course whose primary means of delivery is a computer. It can be delivered too single computer via a software product, over the internet or through a corporate or educational intranet. CB can teach Just about any subject but has grown increasingly popular for computer related studies. CB is different from traditional training because face-to- face interaction with a human trainer is not required.

CB may include many different techniques and processes including program instruction, intelligent computer-assisted instruction, intelligent tutoring systems, simulations and virtual reality. CB courseware functions as a reference tool where trainees can choose the topic they wish to train on or as set content where the trainees must take all topics and pass a test in the end. Some advantages of CB are that it is available anywhere, anytime and students move through the training at their own pace. There is no minimum class size with CB so one student or one hundred students can train and the cost will be the same.

CB training can be updated quickly, especially with internet courses (Chapel,n. D. ). Another positive aspect of CB is that it appeals to adult learners. The trainee feels in control and is not embarrassed about taking lower level or remedial classes. CB improves Job performance because it trains people in specific skills for their specific Job. CB also gives trainers better control over the training activities taking place. Testing is provided at the end of training eloping to match a trainee with other training that he might need.

The trainer serves as the facilitator helping trainees when necessary. CB increases Job satisfaction and employee morale, motivating employees to work harder helping reduce employee turnover. While there are not as many disadvantages to CB, one big one is that many people who are not computer literate and have only learned or been schooled in the classroom atmosphere are afraid of computers and CB. The lack of human interaction to ask questions and to get help with any issues or problems that might arise is another drawback for some people.

Others feel that the lack of review and/or the absence of feedback are other disadvantages of CB (Chapel, n. D. ). In the end, both traditional based methods of training and computer-based methods of training teach the same thing. Continuing to learn by training is an important aspect of life for students and employees alike. Because everyone learns differently, it is important for trainees to decide whether traditional or computer-based training methods work best for them. While there are advantages and disadvantages of both, training and learning is a part of life that will help us continue to grow.