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Exploring On-the-Job and Off-the-Job Training: Which is Right for Your Business?

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

Training plays a crucial role in the development of employees, enabling them to enhance their knowledge and skills to drive improved performance and capabilities in the workplace. When it comes to employee training, businesses have a range of options available to them.

In this blog post, we will delve into the key differences between on-the-job and off-the-job training methods. By understanding these distinctions, business owners and managers can make informed decisions when it comes to selecting the most effective training approach for their organisations.

Learn more by watching the video and reading the blog post below:

On-the-Job Training

On-the-job training is a practical method that takes place within the workplace. It is often provided to new employees to familiarise them with equipment, machinery, or specific processes required for their roles. This type of training is also commonly used to upskill or reskill employees who are transitioning to new job roles within the business.

There are several on-the-job training methods commonly employed by businesses:

  • Mentoring: A more experienced or senior employee takes on the responsibility of providing ongoing support to another employee. Mentoring is a longer-term process that extends beyond simple training, offering guidance, advice, and progress checks to the mentee.

  • Coaching: Coaching is a structured process that focuses on setting and prioritising goals for employees. Coaches analyse the business and its employees to identify strengths and areas for improvement. They challenge the status quo and provide fresh perspectives to drive the business forward.

  • Demonstrations: Demonstrations are quick and effective training methods used to develop new skills or showcase processes to employees. They are typically carried out by experienced employees and can be part of a formal training process or provided informally when needed.

  • Job Shadowing: In this method, an employee follows another employee in their role to gain an understanding of the responsibilities, equipment usage, and technical processes required to perform effectively. Job shadowing is commonly used when new employees join or when current employees take on different roles within the organisation.

  • Job Rotation: Job rotation involves employees changing roles within the business to develop a team of versatile individuals who can perform various tasks. This approach helps businesses cover staff shortages and adapt to changing demands.

On-the-job training offers several benefits, including firsthand learning from experienced colleagues, immediate applicability to employees' roles, and flexibility in scheduling.

However, it can be affected by workplace distractions, and the quality of training depends on the abilities of the trainers. Additionally, employees who deliver on-the-job training may become frustrated if their efforts are not recognised or compensated adequately.

Off-the-Job Training

Off-the-job training involves employees receiving training away from their regular workspace and job roles. This type of training can occur offsite or in dedicated training rooms within the organisation. Off-the-job training often takes a more formal and theoretical approach compared to on-the-job training.

Common methods of off-the-job training include:

  • Computer-Based Training: Employees undertake training using computer-based software or e-learning modules. This method is commonly used for initial employee induction or for annual refresher training on topics such as safety procedures.

  • Outside Trainers: Specialists or experts from external organisations deliver training to enhance the learning process. These trainers possess in-depth knowledge and experience, often surpassing what internal resources can provide. They can deliver training on-site or off-site.

  • Sandwich Courses: Employees spend an extended period away from the workplace to focus solely on their training. This can involve studying qualifications at local colleges or universities before returning to work equipped with relevant knowledge and skills.

Off-the-job training offers advantages such as a distraction-free environment, expert trainers, and opportunities for collaboration and networking with other trainees.

However, it may not directly align with the equipment, machinery, or software used in the workplace, necessitating on-the-job training afterward. Additionally, off-the-job training often incurs higher costs due to external training providers and associated expenses like travel and accommodation.

Choosing the most effective training method for your business depends on various factors, including the specific scenario, the type of employees, and the skills or knowledge required. On-the-job training provides practical and role-specific learning opportunities, while off-the-job training offers a more formal and theoretical approach. Each approach has its benefits and drawbacks, and businesses should consider their unique needs and resources when designing their training programs.

By understanding the distinctions between on-the-job and off-the-job training, business owners and managers can make informed decisions that align with their organisations' goals and contribute to the professional growth of their employees. To delve deeper into business-related topics, make sure to subscribe to Two Teachers on YouTube for weekly video uploads.

Thank you for reading, and best of luck in your business endeavors!


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