Job Instruction Training

by Michael Kelly, MA

From time to time we need to train someone to do a tactile job - perhaps to use a piece of machinery or to help understand the operations of a new product. The training could be for sophisticated computer-aided lathes, massive industrial equipment or for something as simple as the office coffee machine.

In these situations Job Instruction Training (JIT) works best. It is a fast, safe and thorough way to deliver effective training - and it's time tested. The method has been around since the early 1900s. It involves five basic steps:

  1. Getting ready to instruct
  2. Preparing he learner
  3. Presenting the learning
  4. Practicing the learning
  5. Follow-up and evaluation

Use the following checklist to make sure all the JIT steps are followed.

  1. Get Ready To Instruct
    1. Establish learning objectives.
    2. Prepare a time table for instruction.
    3. Break the task down into component parts.
    4. Ready all supplies.
    5. Arrange the learning area like the learner's actual work area.

  1. Preparing The Learner
    1. Review the learning objectives with the learner.
    2. Review the time table.

  1. Presenting The Learning (the big picture)
    1. Demonstrate visually - no talking. This helps set the big-picture context.
    2. Demonstrate again with step-by-step explanation.

  1. Practicing The Learning (the specifics)
    1. Instructor demonstrates based on the learner’s explanation.
    2. Learner demonstrates with explanation. Make sure they explain first before actually doing the task.
    3. Learner demonstrates with questions from instructor. For example, the instructor may ask; "Why do we need to do it this way?"

  1. Follow-Up and Evaluation
    1. Inform leaner of further resource availability.
    2. Conduct quantitative (i.e. tests, job observations, etc.) and qualitative (i.e. The Success and Challenge Exercise) evaluations as required.

Educators teach approved content consistently to all participants using the same training method. Shortcuts, tricks and other alternative ways of doing things should not be taught in JIT. Why? If after the training was completed there was a work-place accident investigation, health, safety and labour organizations would likely look to the training to make sure there was a consistent, approved message for all workers to follow. Inconsistency, so the logic goes, creates variety in methods, and from this, confusion, misapplication and potential health and safety risks. 

This five step method is a valuable tool for all educators (teachers and trainers). It helps us:

  •     deliver step-by-step instruction
  •     know when the learner has learned
  •     be due diligent (in many work-place environments)

At the centre of this method is the notion that if the learner learned, the teacher taught.

© 2011  Michael C Kelly