In today’s competitive market, what differentiates one organisation from another, is usually its employees and the competencies that they bring along. To gain competitive advantage, not only do organisations have to hire right, they also need to support their talents in learning and development to keep their skills updated. Besides finding the appropriate training programmes, organisations face the challenge of ensuring that good training can be translated into improved individual and business performance.
Benefits of Classroom Training
A common method to boost employees’ skills is to send them for relevant classes or training workshops, in other words, classroom training.
Classroom training can be conducted at the company’s premise (in-house training) or at an external venue (public training). When there is a need to equip a group of employees with the same skill sets, the former is a preferred method because of its efficiency and cost-effectiveness in delivering information to a group.
Compared to technology-based learning, classroom training is beneficial as it allows personal interaction between participants and the trainer that encourages the following:
- Sharing of real-life experiences, challenging of perspectives and mindsets, sharing of insights;
- Cross-fertilisation and incubation of creative ideas from peers who work in different industrial sectors; and
- extension and building of one’s professional network.
Unfortunately, good public training does not always translate into application of the skills in the employees’ job. Employees may not always be supported by their supervisors and co-workers to apply the new way of doing things back in the workplace. This brings our focus to Workplace Learning as an alternative to classroom training to ensure effective transfer of learning.
Enhancing the transfer of learning between classroom training and the job
Workplace learning, as the name suggest, refers to the learning at work. Unlike other methods of training, workplace learning can happen as a daily practice.
When an employee observes his supervisor conducting a phone interview with a job candidate, he can learn from his supervisor on how to ask effective questions. In such a way, learning moments occur. When an employee takes on a challenging task and manages to pick up useful knowledge from the task, another learning moment occurs. A common workplace learning method is on-the-job training.
The gist of workplace learning lies in creating a learning momentum that trigger individuals to see every experience at work as a positive lesson. Having a clear intention to learn, individuals are in greater control of the events happening and can turn these events into learning opportunities.
Not only is this method effective, it adds no additional cost to training budgets, which companies are striving to keep efficient. Therefore, being able to create a culture for learning can be a competitive advantage that that sets organisations apart.