5 Advantages of Off-the-Job Training

See also: Steps to Personal Development

When a company brings in new employees for training, the typical learning set-up usually locates them in the company every day under the supervision of an experienced employee. This process immerses trainees in their soon-to-be workflow, making for a seemingly effective training method.

However, on-the-job training has its disadvantages. For one, trainees – who still need to learn the ropes — are thrown into an environment of highly-focused individuals already going about their job. This method results in many distractions, not just for the trainee but also for their working colleagues. Another concern would be stunted production, considering that senior employees will have their attention divided between tasks and training.

This is where off-the-job training can help. Off-the-job training involves training new employees in a facility outside of the workplace. This method attempts to keep company operations separate from the training procedure, allowing the company's daily operations to function unhampered.

Here are the five advantages of off-the-job training.

1. Lower risk

By keeping the training process outside the company's daily operations, off-site training prevents any damage your company might incur because of a new hire’s error.

Keeping trainees away from the workplace, where heavy machinery and expensive equipment are, reduces the risk of damage to the equipment or injuries to your trainees. Even if they’re away, they can learn what they need to know because they can still have hands-on training with equipment in simulation and vestibule training sessions, for example.

Man and woman looking at a machine.

This benefit of off-the-job training also applies to white-collar or office positions.

Role playing, for instance, may help aspiring salespeople interact with prospects and develop their soft skills. This type of training can prevent lost prospects due to an inexperienced salesperson representing the company to these clients. Trainees may also, for example, learn how to build or update a B2B website prototype without worrying about website visitors leaving the real company site.

The other good news is that there's a type of training applicable for every trainee in different industries and job types. These various simulation exercises and classroom lectures can help trainees acquire the skills necessary to perform their job without the company worrying about doing some damage control afterward.

2. Economically beneficial

Off-the-job training doesn’t just help minimize financial, brand, infrastructure, or manufacturing damages. The specific cost of training can also be lower.

An off-the-job set-up affords training and overseeing many people at a time. This process is more efficient than having a supervisor or superior employee oversee one or a few employees while simultaneously attending to their tasks. Statistics on time management show that employee multitasking reduces organizations’ productivity by 27.5%. This can translate to reduced profit as well.

Off-the-job training also allows your trainees to experiment more with different, innovative, and sometimes unorthodox methods without risking consequences to your company. This sandbox training environment allows your trainees to adopt new methodologies that you may use to increase productivity and, therefore, profit.

Employee training off-site is more cost-efficient than having expert mentors tend to each of your individual employees. The collaborative learning brought about by grouping trainees in a formal training center also fosters good communication skills, community, and innovation. So, essentially, you will be getting "more learning per head" per buck with an off-site training process.

3. Saves time

The added work distractions and stressors of a traditional on-the-job training set-up may lengthen the time it takes for trainees to acquire the necessary skills. The distraction-free focus provided by off-site training, on the other hand, reduces the time spent acquiring these new skills.

Additionally, since the employee is solely focused on obtaining new information, trainees enter the workplace with the necessary information already. You'll be able to onboard experienced employees into your company quickly.

4. Highly effective learning

Off-site training involves gathering the new hires in a facility outside the company. This arrangement gives your trainees the necessary focus and attention to grasp the learning material effectively.

Additionally, an expert lecturer will help ensure that they understand the learning concepts and apply them to benefit your company. As for the training itself, there are different methods you could employ. That means there’s always a method you can use to optimize your new hire’s learning based on their learning preferences. Here are some of those options:

  • Vestibule training

    Vestibule training aims to provide trainees with the technical know-how to operate machinery and other equipment. Trainees are given hands-on experience. The training takes place off-site, sometimes with equipment made specifically for training purposes.

  • Simulation exercises

    These types of exercises simulate the use, application, and operation of expensive tools, equipment, and machinery. They're similar in purpose to vestibule training, but the training method is different. Unlike in vestibule training, the trainee doesn’t use the equipment outright. Instead, they’re placed in a simulated set-up with equipment that looks like the equipment they’ll learn to use.

    For instance, instead of driving the company’s new vehicles on the road, new company truck drivers may use driving simulators. This allows them to get a feel for the road without facing the risk of vehicular accidents and damage to property.

  • Case study method

    The case study method involves giving trainees a real or imagined scenario. The new hires should then work with their team to find solutions to that problem.

    This method tests trainees' analytical abilities as they work to give suggestions toward that problem. Trainees would then have to defend their answers to an expert, who would attempt to poke holes and test the integrity of their suggested method.

    With this kind of strategy, trainees can also develop critical thinking abilities which they can put to good use once in the real workplace environment.

  • Role playing

    This type of learning method is excellent for customer-facing roles such as cashiers, customer support representatives, and salespeople. It’s a lot like the case study method, only, in role playing, the given scenario typically doesn’t involve too many variables.

    For instance, a new hire may be told to show the trainer what they would do when an angry customer confronts them. In a case study method, an app developer may be asked what they would do if an app, built using Java, is crashing when the user clicks on the Run button two times.

    Management games are a type of gamified role-playing method of teaching trainees best management practices. This set-up involves teams of trainees competing against each other to meet an instructor-specified goal.

    In this job training method, trainees make simulated business decisions related to inventory, advertising, and staffing.

    As with the case study method, the goal of role playing is to make the trainees adaptable to real-life, spontaneous scenarios in the workplace or on the field. This method also fosters healthy competition among trainees, giving them that necessary workplace attitude.

  • Classroom Training

    As the name suggests, classroom training is a type of training similar to what students get in a formal school or educational institution. The advantage of this training is that trainees learn new skills and material in a set-up that’s familiar to them.

    What’s that set-up?

    The setting involves an industry expert giving lectures throughout the training session. The expert may also ask the trainees to answer quizzes as part of their assessment.

    While some will argue that the traditional classroom learning set-up is one-way—the flow of information is unidirectional, from the lecturer to the trainee—it doesn’t have to be that way. Experts may incorporate case study and role playing methods into the classroom setting, for instance, to ensure trainee engagement.

5. Promotes cross-learning

We’ve already seen that with off-site training, industry experts and professional lecturers conduct the job training program for your employees. This set-up allows your trainees to be equipped with new, industry-relevant, innovative practices.

These are the same innovative practices these trainees can bring to your company for optimal performance. After all, trained employees may also impart their knowledge to their colleagues once they start working in the real workplace environment.

Besides, the colleagues they share these new practices with may also contribute their own ideas. This can result in the formation of even more innovative strategies that can benefit the company in the long run. To ensure these innovative best practices are institutionalized, though, make sure you include them in your own workplace manual. Use this generative AI guide to create one if you don’t have that just yet.

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In Closing

It takes some time for a new employee to become an experienced employee. The road to becoming a high-performing individual for the company may be bumpy due to workplace distractions and the risk of company damage.

But off-site training ensures your trainees get to the final destination. With this type of training, new hires are free from distractions that can prevent them from learning as much as they can.

That said, among the benefits of off-the-job training are more effective learning for your trainees; reduced risks—whether reputational, financial, or industrial—caused by new hire errors; a higher productivity rate for your workplace; and cross-learning that allows for more innovative workplace strategies. Off-the-job training can also help you save time and money.

Want to get the most out of your hiring process? Get the best talent out there and let them undergo effective off-site training. As they become even more capable employees, it’s only a matter of time before your company achieves success.

Owen Jones

About the Author

Owen Jones is the Senior Content Marketer at ZoomShift, an online schedule maker app. He is an experienced SaaS marketer, specializing in content marketing, CRO, and FB advertising. He likes to share his knowledge with others to help them increase results.