With a simple task the instructor may combine the explanation and demonstration steps of
OJT. With a complicated or hazardous task, however, it is usually better if the instructor
separates these two steps.
The instructor tells the trainee how to perform the task--the second "T" of effective training.
The instructor should clearly describe the action(s) the trainee is expected to perform. An
important consideration in this step is the language used. Instructors should speak on a level
the trainee understands and fully explain technical terms.
The instructor should stress key points and critical steps during the explanation of the task.
This helps the trainee differentiate between the important (critical) and the not-so-important
information. Full use should be made of being at the job site to explain the task and bring to
the trainee's attention any cues and or stimuli related to the task. The instructor should explain
why and in what order procedural steps or task elements are done to reinforce learning and
stress safety by his/her words and actions.
An effective explanation requires two way communication between the instructor and the
trainee. The instructor should ask the trainee questions to verify comprehension and should
be patient and willing to explain something as many times as necessary. The instructor should
answer any questions the trainee asks.
Most skills lend themselves to a sequential pattern where the instructor explains the skill in the
same order in which it is performed. When the instructor can relate material to what a trainee
already knows, the known-to-unknown strategy may be used effectively. When teaching more
than one skill, the simple-to-complex strategy works well. By starting with the simplest skill,
trainees build confidence and are less likely to become frustrated when faced with more
complex skills. The instructor should not describe short cuts or unapproved alternative
methods of performing a task. The instructor should not try to impress the trainee with his/her
knowledge, because training should be trainee centered.
During the demonstration step the instructor shows and explains to the trainee how to perform
the task. The instructor may demonstrate the complete task and then require the trainee to
practice or they may perform the demonstration and practice steps together on an element-by-
element basis. A well written OJT guide (or equivalent) should provide the necessary
guidance to the instructor regarding the most effective techniques to use.
It is important that the instructor demonstrate the skill correctly and safely the first time. If
demonstrated incorrectly, the instructor's credibility is reduced and the trainee will have to
"unlearn" the incorrectly presented material before he/she can learn it correctly. The instructor