Online 'training'

21 Feb 2023

Online training is something that is mandatory to do for certain jobs like retail for example. Retail is primarily composed of manual labour with some exceptions in particular departments. However, this online training or certification is still required when it doesn't particularly offer the worker a great deal of knowledge. When met with a physical task, in my personal opinion, there is no better way to learn it first hand by being shown and/or doing it yourself with supervision. Online training should be done after you have had it demonstrated if anything because it will test that you remember what you've learnt and reinforces your understanding. I'll never understand this emphasis on online training especially in retail. Safety protocols I do believe are useful to learn online as they are not something of a physical learning experience.

What I recommend as training

As I mentioned earlier, nothing beats learning it right in front of you with guidance. My belief is that you should be coached on a particular aspect of the job until you are somewhat able to do it by yourself. Once you reach this stage, then it is best to do the task by yourself without any immediate aid (assuming there are no safety risks) and getting a grasp for where you are at in terms of the strengths and weaknesses. If it is a knowledge gap/issue then it will be productive for your coach or trainer to emphasise on teaching that particular concept such that there is no repeated information being taught. Additionally, it gives the mentor a better understanding of where their trainee is at which can help their approach in teaching even more.

A lot of learning and becoming a productive learner is to be able to find out for yourself what works best or even coming up with an acceptable deviation to what you were originally taught, to speed things up, do them in a more presentable way assuming it is within safety measures.

Personally, I have worked and am still working in retail, and the way team members are trained to begin with is very important. Not giving them enough resources and information will cause them to be lacking knowledge and unable to finish their tasks which can potentially demoralise them or build them into a habit where it is okay to not finish things. On the flip side, helping someone too much and 'babysitting' them can lead them to becoming dependant on another person or group of people in their own tasks which in turn leads to a slower process overall. The best workers are those who are independent themselves and are dependable people overall. The worst being those who are dependant and are dependable at all...

In short summary, I think online training as it is portrayed as a sufficient training is wrong and that the way new employees are trained in their first few weeks will have a big impact in their productivity. Obviously some people just don't care, some will, but as long as you follow the right processes as leaders, you will have a much better success rate.

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