Instructional Skills

During the mornings of the OJT Trainer Course, participants learn how to be excellent trainers.

They learn the instructional skills required to be able to cause error-free learning by teaching six times during the course--three times in class and three times on the job. This diagram shows the progression.

sojt instructional skills


  • On day 1 OJT Trainers learn to explain clearly, using skills they practice in Content-Free Microteaching®.
  • Next, during on-the-job practice, they practice their explaining skills while teaching three more times.
  • On day 2 of class, OJT Trainers learn how to demonstrate and coach using the skills they practice in Content-Free Coaching.
  • During Day 3 of class, they begin to use the explaining, demonstrating, and coaching skills to teach real content.

Each lesson builds on the next, and when they finish the last practice lesson they will have successfully taught a real lesson, which they then will be ready to teach to real trainees. This transfer to the job is a most important aspect of a trainer course.

Instructional Process

The three unique instructional formats are illustrated and described below. Performed as shown, the course completers are proficient in causing error-free learning.


Content-Free Microteaching® (CFM)

CFM is practiced in a process that develops the OJT Trainer's ability to explain. The evaluator observes, and  critique process reviews what worked and what didn’t and how to do better.

  • Content-Free Microteaching® teaches the following skills:
  • Developing the lesson plan
  • Selecting the most effective words to use with specific types of trainees
  • Organizing the lesson into the most understandable units for easy comprehension
  • Explaining clearly, using appropriate comparisons and examples
  • Pacing the lesson so the students aren't overloaded, confused, or bored
  • Focusing on non-verbal feedback to know their students' states of mind, using non-verbal feedback
  • Summarizing the message as often as necessary
  • Seeking feedback to verify the accuracy of the communication
  • Using peer coaching to give feedback after analyzing another's explanation so it is accepted and usable



Content-Free Coaching (CFC)

The OJT Trainer develops explaining and demonstrating skills.  The student practices following the instructions first with, then without, assistance.  The evaluator times the demonstration, coaching and performance phases.

  • Content-Free Coaching reinforces the CFM skills and, in addition, teaches the following skills:
  • Explaining and demonstrating how to perform a procedure
  • Coaching and cueing as the trainee practices
  • Pacing instruction based on both non-verbal and verbal feedback
  • Giving feedback using trainers', rather than social, responses to ensure error-free learning



Real-Content Coaching

The instructor demonstrates how to perform a real task (in this example, on a computer). The student first practices with supervision and then does it without assistance. The performance checklist is used to give feedback. The lesson is modified to make it work efficiently on the job. This activity is exactly what OJT Trainers will be doing on the job.

  • Real-Content Coaching teaches the following skills:
  • Introducing the training session so the trainee will participate willingly, with context and "WIIFM"
  • Explaining and demonstrating the use of a real procedure
  • Coaching and cueing during the practice phase of the lesson
  • Verifying accuracy, efficiency and correctness of the performance using a checklist
  • Giving feedback to the trainee that both motivates and improves performance
  • Using a general coaching model effectively for new content and requirements
  • Concluding the training session so the trainee will willingly use the skills learned



The process of going from simulated training to real training is shown below.

Content-Free Microteaching
Teach 1 lesson

On-the-Job CFM Practice
Teach 3 lessons

Content-Free Coaching
Teach 1 lesson

Real-Content Coaching
Teach 1 lesson


Teach forever

Simulated students

Simulated students

Simulated students

Simulated students

Real trainees

Simulated students

Simulated students

Simulated students

Real content

Real content

Partial process

(explaining and feedback)

Partial process

(explaining and feedback)

Most of the process

(explaining, demonstration, coaching, and feedback)

Real process

(explaining, demonstration, coaching, testing and feedback)

Real process

(explaining, demonstrating, coaching, testing and documenting)



Instructional Skills Training Course was developed by Paradigm Training Systems, Inc.

Content-Free Microteaching® is a registered trademark of Paradigm Training Systems, Inc.