On-the-job training is considered the earliest mode of training that existed even before the days of industrial revolution. It was either a face-to-face or a one-to-one kind of training.
With the advent of industrial revolution, different methods of training have evolved. In 1800 manufacturing companies were formed where workers were trained in typical classroom settings. Then came the period of information technology in which the training platform changed from classroom settings to electronic environments, also termed as self-paced learning environments or ELearning. However, one training delivery method did not replace the other.
As a result of industrial revolution, many changes happened in the field of training and this created a batch of professionals called trainers. As a consequence of information technology revolution, another group of professionals emerged what is now called ELearning instructional designers. Let us examine the roles of trainers and eLearning instructional designers separately.
What Does a Trainer Do?
A trainer trains employees to equip them with the skills required to do a job effectively. Applying learning principles and theories help in delivering good training. The trainer interacts with learners directly and establishes a rapport with them. He/ She prepares quite intensely for a training program and engages the learners by doing role plays, telling stories, communicating effectively and by employing other appropriate techniques so that the learners will not only get involved in the training sessions but also benefit out of them. A trainer is able to capitalize on the positive outcomes of human touch.
What Does an Instructional Designer Do?
Nowadays in the arena of training, the trend is shifting from classroom learning to eLearning, thereby making role of instructional designers vital in training. An instructional designer creates an environment that a trainer would create in a classroom. He/ She cannot have direct contact with learners because the mode of delivery of content is through technology. He/ She interacts with subject matter experts and conceptually understands how people learn and after intense brainstorming sessions identifies creative instructional strategies to make content easily understandable. With the help of visuals, videos, animations, simulations, eLearning technology tools and software, he/she presents the learning material in an interesting and engaging way such that the learners, without the help of a trainer, learn the concepts required to perform their jobs in a self-paced mode. An instructional designer can enhance the training experience by incorporating practical applications and examples of work concepts.
The goal of both trainers and instructional designers is the same. The difference is only in the way content is designed and presented. What is important is that it should be done in a manner that engages and trains the learners. Although both methods of training are mutually exclusive, they do overlap in their goal.
Thus a trainer, with the help of certain specific skills, can become an instructional designer.