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Chapter 7 Training methods and adult learning principles.


The results of task analysis provide us with content for training. In order to develop a plan, though, we need an idea of what particular segments of the training will look like in order to arrange them appropriately in the plan. By reorganizing job list tasks into categories according to content and training methods, we can begin to visualize how they could be arranged. In Chapter Six, we reorganized and categorized the job list for the cook position assuming student knowledge of training methods. So, it is in this chapter that we examine various methods that can be utilized for teaching new employees content determined in task analysis.

Upon completion of Chapter Seven, the student should be able to

* List and describe various training methods available for training positions in the hospitality industry.

* Match appropriate training methods for particular training contents.

* List and describe adult learning principles and discuss how they can be incorporated into training programs.

How Adults Learn

Training is different from education. In training, everyone must attain the standard. The standard is an "A," and anything less than that fails. An average mark is not acceptable in training. Seventy percent is generally the cut-off for a "C." Can you imagine only 70 percent of all service encounters being successful? That implies the remaining customers were dissatisfied. It is management's responsibility to make sure every employee masters the material and attains standards. If an employee does not, it is management's responsibility to do more and better until it happens. Our job as instructional designers is to design effective training that assures mastery for every employee.

We choose training methods that will result in the most efficient and effective transferal of job expertise. This has to do with how individuals learn best. We need to understand adult learning principles and motivation in order to choose the best training methods.

Many of our employees enter the hospitality industry by accident rather than by design. Most line employees will not have college degrees and may have had less-than-satisfactory learning experiences in public school. Some employees may be afraid of failing in an educational forum. If training looks, feels, and is structured like "school," many employees could feel threatened. As a result, their level of success could be less than desirable. An informal atmosphere in which employees feel respected and appreciated as professionals--as colleagues--is preferred. Our trainees will need feedback as to how well they are doing, but not in the form of grades assigned in school. They need encouragement ("Yes, that is it!" or, "Good job!") and immediate positive corrective feedback ("Good start! Now, move this a little higher," etc.). The idea is not to catch employees doing something wrong, but to be constantly guiding them toward doing the task correctly.

Encouraging competition among trainees is probably not an effective strategy for bringing out the best results. We want to foster team effort and trust among employees and between employees and management as well. The trainer's attitude toward employees will determine whether or not they feel safe about requesting extra practice or help in mastering material. Our employees will learn at different speeds, and we must determine their progress while allowing them individual time to learn. The objective is competency at the end of training. To meet the objective is the point, and we do whatever is necessary to enable all employees to succeed. Naturally, that may not be the same thing for each employee.

Unlike children, adults have to want to learn something. If they see no point to it, they will not bother. Despite the instructional usefulness of the tea-making exercise earlier, no adult would take it seriously if told to study it. They would say, "Tea's tea," or, "Who cares about tea? Whadaya, nuts?" How much time are we willing to give to something we do not value? Students who do not like math will say, "I will never use algebra." It comes as no surprise that these individuals often do poorly in algebra classes. People who say, "I am not mechanical," or, "I can kill any houseplant," or, "I cannot cook," are usually not deficient--but, rather, they are simply not interested. Therefore, they do not take the time to pay attention and figure out how to do whatever it is that is required of them. If we expect employees to learn how to do something, we must first explain why they need to learn it. Explain its importance and how it will benefit them later.

Adults also need to see the "big picture" first. They need to know what it is we want them to do or accomplish (and why) and then have steps sequentially presented to them so it all makes sense. They would prefer not to muddle around in the dark, trusting that things will click at some later date.

Adults have lots of life experience, and if training examples can be related to that, employees will grasp them faster and better. They will also respond more effectively to real examples than to less specific or tangible ones. They should be encouraged to share their own related experiences.

Most adults learn better by doing. So much of our education has been delivered via lectures that we may consider lecturing the best way to convey information. Lectures, however, are one of the least effective methods of instruction. Because all our trainees must attain the standard, we will do very little lecturing. We will do more demonstrating with trainees, who will then practice the activities themselves (with the trainer's immediate positive corrective feedback so they do not practice the activity incorrectly). We will help them to do activities correctly first and then allow them to build up speed naturally. Our training sessions will never be more than forty minutes in length. We will have numerous shorter sessions and build on previous learning. Repetition and practice help adults to remember. There should be very little lag time between initial learning and use of the material.

Adults learn best when they have received material in several different ways. If they hear it, see it, and then do it themselves, it is more likely to be retained. The training itself must be as interesting and relevant as possible. The trainer must be well prepared and attuned to the environment he or she is creating. The trainer must be aware of the relationships and attitudes of trainees. It is the trainer's responsibility to create a positive learning environment and to enthusiastically and effectively deliver training to employees.

Training Methods

Many of us experienced primarily the "lecture" method in school and the "follow around" method on the job. Neither method is the ideal method for learning. The lecture method is convenient and the least expensive. At its worst, one professor can deliver a lecture to a classroom of 400 or more students. The bell curve will definitely be apparent when grades come out. Most students will get Cs. The smallest equal number will get As and Fs, and an equal number will get Bs and Ds. Obviously it is not appropriate for training where everyone needs the equivalent of an A.

Grade school teachers are generally trained to use a variety of methods and to keep lessons fairly short and user-involved. College students would be better served by similar teaching methods. Many professors are not trained to deliver instruction, thus, they do not really know how. They use methods they experienced in their own education. The same thing happens in hospitality training. Unless a trainer personally experienced formal training (structured with a written plan and materials designed to meet specific objectives), or took a course in how to design training, they would probably not know how to train and subsequently would use methods experienced personally on the job. As a result, many new hires are following existing employees around.

Employees can learn the job by following another employee around for a few shifts. However, it is not the most efficient and effective method for learning duties required for the specific job. Think about new servers trying to learn how to take orders by standing behind or next to an experienced server. First of all, is the experienced server actually taking the order in the way the house prefers? The server may answer customer questions about menu items or preparations. What if all questions are not asked in the observed server/customer interaction? How does the new server learn the correct responses? Does he say, "I am new here. I will have to ask." Eventually a new server would most likely experience and learn everything, but at what cost and in how much time?

In the follow-around mode, servers are using the "discovery" method, which can be good education. The discovery method is where teachers provide students with problems and direction and allow students to seek out answers. It can be a thought-provoking experience that fosters thinking and analyzing skills. However, in a training situation we really do not want our new servers discovering answers during service encounters with customers. We want them to already know the answers and provide customers with the service they expect, whether they are new on the job or have been on the job for years. It is not written on the menu that customers can expect inferior service from new servers, and they are not charged less for deficient service. They just do not come back.

We are familiar with the follow-around training method. What do we do, though, in a new facility without experienced employees to follow? The only difference with training in a new or existing facility should be the number of employees being trained. We will be training the entire staff in a new facility and perhaps just one new server or cook in an existing facility. The training we deliver to the new employee or employees should, however, be the same.

We will be using a variety of methods in training because certain methods work better for particular information. We obviously need to be aware of all available methods (and their strengths and weaknesses) in order to make the best possible choices. These methods are backed with written plans and instruction. A trainee may not be aware of the written plan and instruction, just like the audience for a play is not aware of the script the actors are following. If the actors did not follow a script the play could be different each showing. We have a service standard. The menu item or service style is not to differ from time to time. It is to be the standard, always. A "Big Mac" is supposed to look and taste like a "Big Mac" no matter which McDonalds we get it at or at what time we order it. There's no improvisation in standards.

The Demonstration Method

The demonstration method is widely used in hospitality training because many of the duties we are training our new employees to do are psychomotor, that is, the learner must execute some type of muscular activity to achieve particular results. An example of a psycho-motor activity might be setting a table, loading a dish-rack, or preparing a menu item. In a demonstration the trainer actually performs the task for the learners while explaining all steps. For a demonstration to be most effective, the learners, following the demonstration, should attempt the task themselves with immediate corrective feedback from the trainer.

There are four steps in a demonstration:

1. We tell the trainee what we want them to do.

2. We show the employee exactly how to do it.

3. We let the employee try to do it and give immediate corrective feedback.

4. We monitor future performance, making sure the employee continues to do it exactly as they learned initially in the training.

We use a lesson plan for demonstration, which is essentially a script. The demonstration is carefully planned so that the trainer is demonstrating the activity exactly as it is to be done, including the steps, the standards, and the explanations we have predetermined to need inclusion. Following the plan assures that every employee who experiences the demonstration gets exactly the same thing and is shown the correct method.

Demonstrations work well for small groups or an individual. To be effective, the demonstration must be very visible. Videotaped demonstrations can be useful, effective, and convenient. However, some type of follow-up activity (such as a supervised practice session) should be planned. Some of us can learn from reading and following written instructions. Most people, though, learn best by listening, watching, and doing. We must remember our responsibility, as instructional designers, to design training that results in mastery of the material for all trainees. We will look at lesson plans for demonstrations in a later chapter.


We do not want servers-in-training to practice on our customers. Instead, we can develop simulations for them to practice in a situation representing the real thing. Astronauts practice space flight in simulators before ever leaving Earth. A waiter trainee can practice taking orders from parties comprised of other servers, the trainer, and a manager. Servers can ask the trainee menu questions they probably will have to answer, or provide other service situations they'll eventually have to deal with.

The simulation allows trainees to experience the "real" thing, but without real customers, thus allowing the trainee to make and correct mistakes that will not harm our business. A simulation is a contrived situation that looks like a real situation where trainees can safely practice and hone their new service skills before dealing with the public. We generally use the simulation for practicing and testing rather than initial instruction.

We may choose to set up a front desk check-in simulation to allow trainees to practice registering guests. Once they have mastered procedures, and are comfortable with situations that can arise when dealing with customers, they can then do the real job and will not ever have to say, "Please, bear with me. It is my first day on the job."

Role Plays

Role plays are similar to simulations. A role play is an instructional method that allows trainees to act out situations under the trainer's direction. Role plays are particularly useful for situations involving the interaction of two or more people, such as handling upset customers. Trainees can be taught certain techniques and then be given a situation where they are to utilize these techniques in a made-up dialogue. Trainees may also be given prepared scripts where they act out parts in an ineffective manner and then in an effective manner. The differences can then be discussed.

Role plays give those involved an awareness of both sides and how one's actions and words affect the other. They can help us become better communicators. Most employees who have customer interactions as the main part of their jobs, such as servers and front desk, are usually somewhat verbal and outgoing to begin with. They generally will enjoy the role play instruction, and it can be a very effective method for honing communication skills.

Role plays will not be an effective means for teaching most kitchen activities. However, managers-in-training might be given role plays to practice directing the behaviors of kitchen employees. "How to handle an insubordinate dishwasher or cook" could be practiced with the role play method. Role plays, like simulations, are generally used to practice and test rather than for initial instruction.


We have already covered some weaknesses of the lecture method. However, lecture, when used with other methods, can be very effective if well prepared. A lecture is a semiformal presentation by a teacher or trainer verbally telling students or trainees about something.

A lecture that utilizes learning principles, followed with demonstration and practice, or a simulation or role play, can prepare trainees to excel in follow-up learning activities and to understand the importance of what they will be practicing. Lecture by itself, followed with the question, "Do you understand?" may result in a verbal "yes" but an action "no." Again, our responsibility is to make sure everyone masters the material. Lecture by itself may not result in mastery.

Self-Instructional Activities

Some instructional activities can be for trainees to do on their own. We can provide materials, instruction, guidelines, and activities. Managers-in-training sometimes are given a workbook for self-study (under direction of an assigned mentor or trainer). Self-instructional materials can be in the form of interactive computer programs, workbooks, or worksheets. Self-instructional programs can either have prescribed deadlines or be self-paced.

We might use self-instructional activities in hospitality training for such things as learning the menu, sanitation rules, company policies, and so forth. Self-instructional activities as a method is a structured lesson or lessons that trainees follow themselves. It includes directions, instructions, activities, materials, and possibly self-quizzes and deadlines.

We never hand an employee a menu and say, "Learn this." If we want an employee to learn the menu using a self-instructional activity, we could provide a workbook or worksheets that describe each menu item, the prices, preparations, substitutions, etc., and there would be a series of self-check questions for the trainee to work through. We then must augment the self-instructional portion with some type of follow-up activity that brings the message home--perhaps a service encounter simulation where the trainee has to use information from the workbook to answer customer questions about the menu.

We might have employees view a video demonstration of proper hand-washing techniques. At the same time, they might fill out a worksheet that forces them to list the steps they observed in the video. The self-instructional portion would be followed with supervised practice of proper hand-washing. We often utilize a combination of methods because learning is easier when information is presented in several different ways.

Classroom Methods

It may be convenient to conduct some training activities in a classroom setting. We can hold lectures, discussions, question and answer sessions, and conduct role plays in a private room away from customers and distractions. We may set up simulations in a classroom so that we are not disturbing customers. We may also do other sorts of learning activities such as written exercises.

If we were trying to train servers to write checks, we might use a chalkboard or overhead projector to show examples. We might provide handouts that have the check order next to each written menu item, and then have another handout with the check orders left blank for trainees to fill in. We might lecture on how to post dinner charges to guest rooms, show trainees how to fill out appropriate paperwork, and then give them problems to do.

Prepared Training Materials

There are already prepared training materials available from many sources. There is no benefit to preparing our own materials if ready prepared materials are appropriate. Videos, training manuals, self-instructional materials, and interactive computer training programs can be purchased and used as-is or modified to perfectly match a particular operation.

We might choose to send an employee to a workshop or seminar for specialized training. Sanitation is often taught by county health departments. Cake-decorating or customer service (or any number of topics) can be covered by someone other than us and may be a good training option for our operation.

On-The-Job Training

We often think, incorrectly, of on-the-job training (OTJ) as following someone around for a shift or two. OTJ is, instead, planned structured training conducted on the actual job site. There are written objectives, content, and procedures. OTJ follows the plan so that any employee going through training would receive the same instruction. The trainer would probably be the experienced employee doing the job, and they would have been formally trained to conduct OTJ. Trained to follow the plan and cover all points and procedures as per design.

OTJ can be similar to a demonstration, but, rather than "staged" specifically for training, the demonstration might occur as it is actually unfolding on the job. OTJ can be structured practice with a regular employee of duties the trainee learned with other methods. OTJ might utilize checklists for the trainee to follow as the regular employee performs job duties.

Training Methods--The Garden Terrace Inn

Let us select training methods for items on the job list for the cook position. We have to keep in mind the job specification qualifications on the job descriptions. The cook is to have at least one year of cooking experience and know how to follow recipes. That means that our training does not cover basics such as measuring and cooking techniques.

For recipes on the job list, we will not be teaching new cooks to prepare pancakes or muffins. They can follow the recipe. We will have to make sure they know where the recipe is, how much they should prepare, when they should prepare the pancakes, where all the ingredients are, and so forth. All duties in the cooking portion of the job list will most likely be taught OTJ using checklists, recipes, demonstrations, and practice. Where ingredients and utensils are located will also be covered in the inventory and storage training.

Training for setting up cooking lines and the breakfast buffet will most likely be taught OTJ with diagrams of the lines and buffets. Cleaning the oven and range will be taught with OTJ demonstrations.

Storage and inventory will be taught as a classroom activity, occurring, though, in the actual storage areas. A tour with a detailed map of storage areas (combined with lecture and inventory exercises) will be conducted by a trainer. The trainee will do OTJ inventory with an experienced cook at the next inventory.

Sanitation will be taught with a purchased video and self-instructional workbook, a sanitation workshop conducted by the local health department, and weekly in-service reminders OTJ.

Cooking (OTJ training with recipes, checklists, demonstrations, and practice)


* Prepare pancake batter

* Prepare muffin batter

* Soak French toast in milk and eggs

* Cook to order eggs and omelets

* Make onion soup

* Make soup of the day

* Make quiche of the day

* Make spinach pies

* Prepare salad dressings

* Cut up beef for brochettes

* Make croutons

* Prepare chicken and tuna salads

* Prepare sauces

* Prepare rice

* Prepare potatoes

* Prepare vegetable casseroles

* Prepare pasta

Meat and Fish Cutting: (OTJ demonstration and supervised practice)

* Cut steaks, medallions, and brochettes

* Cut salmon and halibut

Prep: (OTJ demonstration and supervised practice)

* Break eggs

* Slice bread

* Slice oranges

* Precook bacon, sausage, ham, potatoes

* Heat maple syrup

* Slice cheese, luncheon meats

* Clean salad

* Clean shrimp

* Prepare garnishes

* Shred cheese for onion soup

* Cut up vegetables

* Assemble and cook-to-order lunch items

* Bring in firewood and start fire in grill

* Turn on the oven

Setting Up Cooking Lines and Breakfast Buffet (OTJ w/diagrams of lines and buffets)

* Put food on serving platters and in bowls for breakfast buffet

* Keep buffet stocked with fresh food

* Stock cooking line for lunch

* Set up dinner cooking line

Cleaning: (OTJ demonstrations)

* Clean and break down line

* Clean range

* Clean convection oven

Storage and Inventory: (Classroom, tour with map, lecture and exercises, and OTJ)

* Take food from the walk-in

* Put away leftovers/label and date

* Put away groceries

* Inventory

Sanitation: (Purchased video and self-instructional workbook, health department workshop, weekly in-services reminders, and OTJ)

* Hand-washing

* Cross-contamination

* Time/temperature procedures

* HACCP standards and procedures


The Principles of Adult Learning:

a) Trainees prefer an informal atmosphere for sessions where they are treated as professionals rather than students.

b) Trainees need encouragement and positive feedback regarding their progress.

c) Trainees should not be forced to compete with each other.

d) Trainees learn at different speeds and may need individual attention.

e) Trainees must want to learn and understand why the material is necessary.

f) Trainees must be told what they are to do and then be shown the sequential steps to do it.

g) The training should be related to the trainees' life experiences.

h) Trainees need real and tangible examples.

i) Trainees learn better by doing.

j) Trainees should learn to do the activity correctly, then build up speed.

k) Training should be conducted in numerous shorter sessions.

l) Repetition and practice result in better retention.

m) Lag time should be kept short between training time and the on-the-job use of information.

n) A combination of training methods should be used.

o) The training should be made interesting and relevant.

p) The trainer should be well prepared.

q) The trainer must create a positive learning environment.

r) The trainer must exhibit enthusiasm.

The Methods of Teaching:

a) Demonstration

b) Simulation

c) Role Plays

d) Lecture

e) Self-Instructional Methods

f) Classroom Activities

g) Prepared Training Materials

h) On-the-Job Training







On-The-Job Training (OTJ)


1. Think about your very favorite class you have attended. Why was it your favorite? What made it so good? How was it taught? What teaching methods did the instructor use?

2. Think about the worst class you have ever had. Why was it the worst? What made it so bad? How was it taught? What teaching methods did the teacher use?

3. Think about a time you enjoyed a class you thought you would not like. If you had a different teacher, do you think you would have liked it as much? What made the class so good? How was it taught? What teaching methods did the teacher use?

4. When it comes to enjoying a class, does it have more to do with the teacher or the material? Discuss and justify your answer.

5. Describe the differences and similarities between teaching adults and children. Please address the Adult Learning Principles, and you may use your own experience for the teaching children part of the question.

6. List the eight teaching methods described in your text, and indicate a specific hospitality training situation where each might be a good choice.

7. Think about a current or past job. Describe how you were trained, who trained you, how long it took, and what methods were used. Was it effective? Could it have been improved? How?

8. Describe the difference between shadowing and OTJ training. Discuss the problems with shadowing when it is used as the sole method of training new employees.

9. Why is shadowing such a popular training method in the hospitality industry? What method should be used instead?

10. Training differs from education in that for training we need only teach what employees must know to do the job, and all trainees must master the material. Please discuss strategies for making sure all trainees master the material. Include Adult Learning Principles and training methods in your discussion.
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Publication:Training Design Guide for the Hospitality Industry
Article Type:Professional standards
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Previous Article:Chapter 6 Implementing job analysis.
Next Article:Chapter 8 Training plan.

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