Assessing OJT Instructors

Question of the week: Does the FKA Lesson Feedback Form used to assess classroom instructors apply for evaluating OJT instructors?

Our inboxes often hold interesting requests that spark conversations among our FKA team, and this week’s email provided another thought-provoking question. “Does the FKA Lesson Feedback Form used to assess classroom instructors apply for evaluating OJT instructors?”

Certainly many of the instructor skills and techniques apply to both classroom and OJT environments but we must also remember how the environments differ.

  • OJT is often done one-on-one so OJT instructors can benefit from coaching skills. Some of the presentation skills that are so important in the classroom are not as important during OJT. (projecting your voice, reading a group, keeping everyone engaged, etc.)
  • OJT learners need to be motivated to practice on their own some of the time since their ‘instructor’ is not always close by.
  • OJT is completed in the work environment so learners see the immediate need and relevance. Learning does not need to ‘transfer’ since it happens on the job with real work!

So will effective classroom instructors also be effective OJT instructors? Probably, but not necessarily. A few years ago—and after speaking with many clients involved in OJT—we created a list of characteristics of effective OJT instructors/coaches.

Effective OJT instructors/coaches should:

  • be a role model in attitude and performance at work
  • be a continuous learner themselves by getting involved in committee work and communities of practice, and taking formal training programs
  • express an interest in peers and staff by listening, giving feedback and recognition
  • support management and staff development projects
  • nurture an informal non-threatening environment for learning
  • create a climate of confidence
  • deliver information in digestible chunks
  • exhibit patience
  • allow for individual differences and look for learner strengths then adapt the presentation of information to those
  • ask questions to encourage thinking
  • demonstrate the required skills effectively
  • repeat as often as required and adapting to meet the learner’s need

Those of you familiar with our programs and consulting work, know about our Systematic Learning Process which can be used to structure any content and maximizes learner success. If this is new to you, click here to read a previous blog.

Here is our Systematic Learning Process checklist adapted for OJT. It can be used as a self-evaluation tool for OJT instructors or by someone observing these instructors and assessing their skill.


Ideally, your OJT instructors will share the best characteristics of classroom instructors and coaches; then be given all the development opportunities and time they need to become excellent in their role. OJT is critical to the survival of organizations and in 2016 the Association of Talent Development (ATD) started to track OJT in their annual State of the Industry report. The 2017 report (released in December 2017) reported that 65% of the organizations surveyed “strongly” emphasize OJT and recognize its value to their success.

Want more information about designing and/or delivering OJT? Check out the following FKA programs:

  1. Designing and Delivering OJT
  2. Instructional Techniques for OJT

Michael Nolan will also be presenting a one-hour session, Instructional techniques for OJT at Training 2018 Conference and Expo on February 13, 2018. (Type Michael’s name in the Search field to display details about his two sessions.)

Geoff Nolan
Director of Marketing and Public Workshops

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