Is TWI Relevant Today? Part 2

Mark Warren, of Tesla2, Inc. has spent way too many days in what we call the TWI Candy Store: The National Archives. Mark has continued where I left off a year ago, and he has found all kinds of TWI gems: if you are regular readers of the blog, you may find the JI Cards in Japanese as probably some of the most interesting.

Mark also found an insightful letter written by C.R. Dooley, four years after the TWI Service was decommissioned. Dooley and his horsemen started the TWI Foundation, sort of what we would call a private consortium by today's standards. You can find the letter at the TWI Service Links page.

It seems appropriate then, that with all of these ties to history, we ask some hard questions about TWI. In a previous post, I asked if TWI is relevant today. Recently, over at the ASTD website, I had a couple of T&D professionals say that when it comes to the "old" program of JIT, we TWI people need to "get up to speed"!

So, on my list, there is another criticism I'd like to share with you:

"The JI technique is limited to predetermined phases of instruction; the trainee cannot contribute to the training delivery process."

What is your take on this? A fair assessment based on your experience? Should the trainee contribute to the training delivery process? If so, why?



At September 29, 2008 at 4:58 PM , Blogger Dan said...

"The JI technique is limited to predetermined phases of instruction; the trainee cannot contribute to the training delivery process."

OK, I’ll bite . . . the trainee may no have input on the structure of the process, but they do play a crucial role in the content of the process. In the “get ready” phase, the instructor must tailor his or her job breakdown to the experience level of the learner. This usually involves some questioning and discussion (between the instructor and learner) to help focus the job instruction at a level targeted to that particular learner (at least this is standard work for my company).
In the instruction phase, it is not a one-way street . . . the learner is encouraged to ask questions throughout the process. The Job Breakdown is not a rigid script that must be followed at all costs. The best instruction sessions I have observed have been when there was a comfortable dialog between the instructor and learner. Yes the progressive exposure to more and more information is important, but when the learner is ready, he/she can be given answers to their questions to help smooth the flow and pace of instruction, thus tailoring it to their needs.
In addition, when questions or special techniques arise that were not anticipated by the instructor, this presents a learning opportunity for both participants that can be incorporated into future instruction. Our standard work includes documenting these “new” finds and saving them electronically for the next time the skill is to be trained.
While learners (and instructors for that matter) may not have input as to the structure of the training process, they are an integral part of targeting and developing the content.


At September 30, 2008 at 7:14 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks Dan,

One thing we have to watch out for with JI is that we shouldn't be held back from making it better. Keep up the great work!



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