The Importance of Learning and Training in the Workplace

By John Dudovskiy

learning and trainingThe demand for highly competent and skilled employees is greater than ever before because of highly intensive level of competition in the marketplace. This demand also increases the level of importance of learning and training for the members of workforce so that they would be able to deal with increasing number of organisational challenges in an effective manner.

Specific advantages of promoting and facilitating learning and training in the workplace include increased level of productivity and team spirit, improvements in organisational culture and climate, improvements in the image of the company and its overall performance, as well as consequent positive implications on profitability levels of private entities.

Banfield and Kay (2008) use the notion of six ‘Es’ of training in their explanation of why organisations do train employees. Namely, according to authors six ‘Es’ consist of engaging, educating, enhancing, empowering, energising, and enlightening employees.

At the same time, it is important to clarify differences between learning and training. Schuler and Jackson (2007) convincingly argue that the differences between learning and training have to be drawn according to the purposes of each. Specifically, training is organised in order to impart knowledge and skills directly related to specific tasks or job, whereas learning is concerned with improving future behaviour and performances in general.

Moreover, Erasmus and Schenk (2009) draw clear distinctions between the terms of ‘training’, ‘education’ and ‘development’. Specifically, training is specified as a job-related learning, whereas education is the preparation of an employee for a different job. Employee development, on the other hand, is a broad terms that comprises education, training, as well as, various forms of learning.

An alternative definition of training has been proposed as “the process whereby people acquire capabilities to perform jobs” (Mathis and Jackson, 2010, p.250), whereas specific form of training which is the focus of this paper – co-operative training can be explained “a training program that combines practical on-the-job experience with formal educational classes” (Bohlander and Snell, 2008, p.322)

It is also important to note that while the reasons and necessity for providing training for employees is clear, in reality an effective implementation of training and development is associated with a range of difficulties. For instance “training, frequently sees as a response to a performance problem, has become routinized and, under pressure to provide  response, trainers have failed to reflect on the reasons for its successes and failures” (Banfield and Kay, 2008, p.245).

Another point of criticism associated with training relates to the lack of knowledge of learning theories of trainers which has a tremendous negative impact on the training outcome.