On-the-job training

There are several options including traditional one-to-one” training, small group training, coaching, mentoring, and using training materials or packs.

Considerations: The transfer of learning is likely to be high, as the training occurs close to the workplace. On-the-job training can be very cost -effective, but it is a mistake to assume that it will always be the cheapest once all the costs have been considered. Nor is the environment always ideal for learning. An important consideration is the availability of a suitable trainer amongst existing managers or workers. However, because the trainee is carrying out the job whilst learning, the impact can be high.

In-house experience

This involves a variety of techniques, including visits and placements in other parts of the organisation, research or planning projects, action learning sets, problem-solving groups, or quality circles and mentoring.

Considerations: The close relationship of the learning to the workplace is an advantage, and the costs and the need for additional resources are low. It can also use aspects of task-based learning that might not otherwise be considered, or normally employed, in training. As with on -the-job training, the skill and ability of the trainers (or tutors) is crucial. If this type of training is to be used, an appropriate tutor development programme may be useful.

In-house courses

The training may consist of single (or multi- day) workshops or a series of related workshops that build up general learning or a range of required skills, knowledge, and attitudes.

Considerations: It is more efficient and cost-effective to run a programme in-house if there is a large group to be trained because the content and process can be focused more precisely on the needs of the participants. In addition, staff can be used as trainers and tutors, which can both reduce costs and act as a staff development tool.

External courses

There are two basic types: the short course (or workshop) and the longer (usually part-time) course that often leads to a qualification.

Considerations: This option is more outward-looking. It allows workers to discuss problems and issues with others and obtain insights that might not be freely available inside the organisation. It is probably the most cost-effective option where only a small number require training. The selection process is important if one wants to maximise the return from this option. In selecting a workshop or
course, the closeness of the training objectives, methods, style, and venue to the criteria established by Training Needs Analysis (see Topic 2) will improve the effectiveness of the training.

The following table presents some of the available learning options and is reproduced in Handout 1.2.