On the Job Training: Overcoming the Challenges

On the job training! It’s great right? What could be better? You’re learning in a real-world environment, from another trained professional, and in a way that allows you to contribute to company productivity. In theory it should be a winner every time. With 90% of professional learning being delivered through informal or non-formal learning, organisations are investing more heavily in this type of training.

So how do organisations maximise their return on this investment, and get the best results? In order to understand this, we first have to understand the common barriers or challenges associated with on the job training.

The Challenges

Productivity Drops

Due to the very nature of on the job training, the new member of staff being trained is not as efficient as a fully-trained and experienced one. As a result, productivity will be lower.

Errors in Production

When you learn to ride a bike, falling a few times is part of the experience. The same is true in the workplace. We have to be allowed to fall, often in a completely predictable way, in order to guarantee that we learn from our mistakes. However, in many industries, errors in production can be frustrating at best and dangerous at worst. This could represent a significant problem.

Disturbances to Other Members of Staff

Those who learn on the job are usually trained by a colleague. Unless they’re a full-time trainer, that colleague is unable to go about their own job in the way they would on a normal day. An organisation is therefore compounding the lower productivity associated with training a new member of staff with the dilution of their regular workforce.


Often, the pressures of everyday tasks get in the way of training. This is a considerable problem with on the job training, as the immersive environment doesn’t always allow time to carry out training. This is a major reason why organisations sometimes take training off-site, meaning it can be completed without interruption.

Overcoming These Challenges

If there was ever a great case in point to introduce a blended approach to learning, it’s here. A well-planned and well-executed blended programme will guarantee that your organisation reaps the benefits of experiential learning, while guarding against the pitfalls highlighted above.

It’s important to make sure that you don’t throw out all the benefits of on the job training. In order to do this, separate the learning into sections. For example, take the areas that have to be delivered through person-to-person instruction – often the more complicated or practical concepts – and build this training in around very specific instruction delivered through other means. In our experience, process-driven activities can be delivered seamlessly through well-crafted simulation and bite-sized e-learning, allowing the learner to pick up the necessary skills in a real-world environment but without the risks associated with a live environment. Approaching learning in this way allows the learner to take on board relevant information throughout the day, at a time convenient for them. This learning can top and tail the person-to-person training, which can then take place once the learner has some pre-existing understanding of the activities they are about to fulfil. This approach saves time and money, and also speeds up employees’ time to competence.

A learning management system is an integral part of this. CDSM’s thinqi is an xAPI-compliant LMS, and comes with an inbuilt Learner Record Store. The Learner Record Store enables the recording and reporting of all your learners’ learning activities, including that invaluable on the job training. It also allows you to schedule specific events for individual or cohorts of learners, giving you the ultimate flexibility for carrying out structured on the job training.

Explore thinqi for yourself by requesting a demo. You can learn more about thinqi and on the job training on our website.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, be sure to check out our case studies and expert guides. They’re the perfect place to start if you’re thinking about creating a new learning programme.