The 5 Steps to On the Job Training

On the job training (OJT) is a great way to learn, if the instruction is handled professionally.  Too often someone certified, yet, not properly trained is responsible for training, while on the job. Teaching fundamentals are vital to teaching, but unfortunately, oftentimes underrated.  When a student is being trained, whether it’s at a dance studio, a music studio or a hangar, the student not only deserves to be trained well but also thinks he is being trained well, no matter if he is or not.  The law of primacy, the first time a student is taught something, can create a strong impression, teaching him correctly the first time is important.

A trained OJT instructor will understand the importance of training someone right the first time and take strides to ensure that the student understands the curriculum.  There are five steps to OJT that instructors follow…


A student’s first day of on the job training should be like a combination of their first day of school and their first day at work.  It’s important that they feel comfortable and at ease with their surroundings because if they are uneasy then there is already an unnecessary obstacle to proper learning.  The introduction should include a training basis, or curriculum.  Students should know what to expect during their training and know the objectives of each task.  The instructor should then find out the students experience and knowledge and identify his learning style so that the lessons can be tailored to best suit him.


When training begins, the instructor should first demonstrate to the student how to perform each task.  The demonstration should begin with a general overview of the task at hand so that the student can begin to formalize what is to come in his mind.  After a verbal discussion, the instructor should then demonstrate the procedure while referring to a lesson plan.  Based on the student’s learning style the instructor should teach at a speed that allows the student to properly and fully absorb the data.  The student should then be able to ask questions.  The key points should then be stressed again and, if necessary, demonstrated again.


After the student has a cursory understanding of the task coaching begins. Coaching involves giving the student frequent and specific guidance and feedback and having the student being able to explain why he is performing the task and the importance of it.  Next, the student should be able to explain each step as he performs it.  Students won’t be perfect, how the instructor gives feedback is vitally important.  Corrections should be made in a friendly way and successes should be praised not ignored.  The student should be asked questions about why he did what he did and what would happen if he didn’t do what he did.  Practice makes perfect, and as the student is coached he should continue to practice until he can do it to FAA standards.


Once the student has demonstrated that they can perform the task it’s time to observe them doing it without feedback.  Of course, questions are permissible but the instructor should refrain from giving any feedback until the end of the process unless absolutely necessary.


The end of the OJT process is to assess the student both orally and practically.  The instructor should use the standards of evaluation that were developed with the lesson plan and that the student is expecting.  Last, all results should be documented.

OJT should be treated like a classroom with invaluable resources available, real life. Just because a student is “on the job” doesn’t mean that they are ready to be on the job.  With the proper instruction, on the job training can be the most valuable training possible.

Northrop Rice has over 40 years of aviation training experience and expertise in the classroom.  We provide strong theory and practical learning techniques. To contact us to find out how we can help you with efficient and effective training that both strengthens your workforce and qualifies them to FAA standards.

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