Apprenticeships feature both an on-the-job training component, within a cooperating employer’s setting, and the related technical instruction (RTI) component, which may be learned in a classroom or online setting. Federal rules recommend at least 144 hours of related technical instruction per year.
We’ve observed that the related technical instruction component often carries with it much uncertainty. Clearly, there are issues with the on-the-job training component as well, but that’s for another blog posting. The fundamental question for RTI is determining what exactly it should include? This question seems equally problematic for both degree and non-degree apprenticeship programs.
Our perspective – and the one represented in SiTUATE – is that related technical instruction should not be based on someone’s educated judgment about what knowledge and skills apprentices should know. Unfortunately, this seems the most common approach. Our perspective is that related technical information in fact should represent the systematically identified prerequisite knowledge and skills for performing the tasks. That is, one needs to start with the job and task analysis first, then work backwards.
I’m reminded of an apprenticeship situation in which the RTI required pipefitter apprentices, unfortunately, to learn nearly everything possible about pumps and pump theory, when most of the information was irrelevant to the occupation. One could argue that this additional information might be helpful to the apprentice in the future, nevertheless. A more informed argument is to remember that apprenticeships fundamentally represent training, not education programs.
SiTUATE includes easy-to-use templates to conduct a job and task analysis. SiTUATE prefills the task analysis information into the training guide, and the training guide includes links to the RTI programs. Everything is integrated, starting from the most important aspect first – the work. SiTUATE embodies the maxim from system thinking that you should always start at the end first.
Considering RTI in this way results in a more relevant learning experience. And, even considering federal recommendations for minimum time requirements, the apprenticeship program can be made more efficient, and more effective as well.
Do you want to learn more about job analysis? We invite you to attend a free seminar, February 18, based on my 2019 book on work analysis. Register here.
I’d be pleased to share more information about SiTUATE and its various features. Contact us today for a free demonstration.