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Executive Summary: On-the-job training is a crucial aspect of skill development in the workplace. This blog explores the significance and benefits of on-the-job training, as well as different types of training methods that can be employed. Additionally, it delves into the concept of microlearning and how it can enhance traditional on-the-job training.

On-the-job training: The age-old tradition of learning a skill by getting your hands dirty (quite literally, sometimes). Forget about cramping employees into a stuffy classroom where a monotone lecturer drones on and on. With on-the-job training, employees dive into action and learn through real-world experience.

On-the-job training is like having a personal instructor guide employees through the ins and outs of a role. It’s an opportunity for L&D leaders and HR managers to foster talent development in organizations. You can provide practical experiences that go beyond theoretical knowledge. Employees work side-by-side with seasoned professionals who pass on their wisdom (and maybe some questionable jokes) while showing them the ropes.

So, if you’re tired of traditional training and want to give your employees an exciting learning adventure filled with real-world challenges, on-the-job training is just the answer. Get your employees to roll up their sleeves, don their superhero capes (or safety gear), and embark on an unforgettable journey to become a skilled professional.

📣 Message for the reader

People forget nearly 90% of what they have learnt within just 7 days, unless the concepts are reinforced. That’s why employees swamped with documents, presentations, and classroom sessions are not likely to learn much.

However, time constraints make it difficult to reinforce vast concepts.

What can you do instead? Arm your employees with one concept at a time. Studies show the human attention span is only 8.25 seconds, so keep your training concise.

RapL is your software for that.

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What is on-the-job training?

On-the-job training is a practical approach to provide employees with the knowledge, skills, and competencies to perform specific tasks at work. It involves a series of processes that occur within an organization. It results in the absorption and integration of values, skills, knowledge, and emotions (Bouchrika, 2023).

Instead of using presentations or worksheets, employees learn about their job by actively doing it. This training occurs at the actual workplace, where a supervisor, manager, or experienced colleague provides guidance. The duration of on-the-job training varies. It can go from a few days to several weeks or more, depending on the complexity of the job. Typically, new employees begin by observing experienced colleagues. They gradually take on tasks under their supervision.

New employees who undergo on-the-job training directly experience the various tasks and processes they will encounter. They become familiar with workplace norms, how to operate equipment, and any other skills necessary for their job (Valamis, 2023). By giving employees the chance to learn by doing, organizations can ensure they are equipped with practical skills that can be applied directly to their roles. Plus, it adds excitement to the learning process—because who doesn’t love a little adrenaline rush while acquiring new skills?

Types of on-the-job training

  1. Structured on-the-job training: Think of structured on-the-job training as a step-by-step way to learn at work. It involves planned activities, mentorship, resources, and job rotation, along with a specific curriculum. Structured on-the-job training optimizes employee development by tailoring learning experiences to specific job roles. It also enables targeted skill acquisition. Through planned activities and mentorship, structured on-the-job training ensures efficient knowledge transfer. This leads to improved job performance through hands-on learning and practical application.

  2. Informal on-the-job training: This is a spontaneous and unstructured learning approach within the workplace. It involves experiential learning through observation, trial and error, and peer interactions. While less systematic than formal training, it offers flexibility and adaptability. It enables employees to learn in real-life scenarios. Informal on-the-job training promotes quick skill acquisition, knowledge sharing, and a collaborative atmosphere. It complements formal training methods for a well-rounded learning experience. Not to mention, employees sharing embarrassing mistakes also strengthens social connections in the workplace!

  3. Technology-enhanced on-the-job training: This on-the-job training integrates digital tools and platforms to enhance learning experiences. It leverages virtual simulations, e-learning modules, and augmented reality to provide immersive, interactive training. This allows employees to practice skills in a controlled environment, receive instant feedback, and access resources conveniently. It accelerates skill development by catering to diverse learning styles.

Benefits of on-the-job training

  • Enhanced skill acquisition: Ever heard that swimming is best learnt by jumping into the pool, rather than reading about it? Well, the same logic applies for on-the-job training: it enables enhanced skill acquisition through active learning by doing. This approach immerses (pun intended) employees in real tasks. It builds practical expertise and confidence. Microlearning complements on-the-job training by using scenario-based learning. This reinforces understanding through active application. It results in a well-rounded skill set and improved job performance. It also fosters a deeper grasp of tasks and their real-world implications.

  • Faster transition to the workforce: On-the-job training facilitates a quicker transition to the workforce by reducing learning time. It imparts industry-specific knowledge directly applicable to tasks, ensuring employees are job-ready sooner. Microlearning supplements this with bite-sized training modules. This enhances the learning process by delivering targeted information efficiently. As a result, on-the-job training expedites employees’ integration into their roles. It equips them with practical skills and insights needed to excel in their respective fields.

  • Personalized learning experiences: On-the-job training tailors instruction to individual strengths and weaknesses. This maximizes skill development by addressing specific needs. Direct mentorship and guidance further enhance this personalized journey. Microlearning, through adaptive modules, complements on-the-job training. It adjusts training content based on learners’ progress. This synergy ensures a customized learning path, fostering competence and confidence while aligning with each individual’s unique learning curve.

  • Improved knowledge retention: On-the-job training offers a dual advantage of enhanced knowledge retention and performance. This is attributed to muscle memory, where practical tasks become ingrained through repetitive actions. Combining on-the-job training with microlearning techniques, such as spaced repetition, strengthens knowledge absorption. The “Forgetting Curve” described by Ebbinghaus states that people forget 80% of what they learn in just 3 days, unless it’s reinforced. Microlearning wisely uses spaced repetition, where you repeatedly review information at specific times. This counteracts the curve’s effect, helping employees remember better. With spaced repetition, employees remember what they learnt, helping them perform their jobs better.

In conclusion, on-the-job training is a valuable method for learning and developing new skills in the workplace. However, supplementing traditional on-the-job training with microlearning can take your training to the next level.

Microlearning offers bite-sized, easily digestible content that allows employees to learn on their own terms and at their own pace. It provides a flexible and efficient way to reinforce knowledge and bridge any gaps in understanding.

RapL is a leading provider of microlearning solutions. With RapL’s innovative platform, companies can deliver engaging and interactive training modules that keep employees motivated and excited to learn. So, say goodbye to boring manuals and hello to interactive quizzes, videos, and simulations!

By combining on-the-job training with microlearning, organizations can ensure their employees are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their roles. To know more about how RapL can assist you, contact us at

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Thanks for being with us all the way here

Dear reader, thanks for being with us all the way till the end. We suggest 2 things from here

1. Speak to us if you want a microlearning strategy deep-dive: Microlearning is extremely effective, if approached sensibly. Microlearning is the answer to today’s shortening attention spans and we know how to make learning successful via microlearning. Drop your context here and we shall partner with you for the rest.

2. Lap up more content: We have written some intense literature on how microlearning is the superglue between people and successful business operations. Access all of it here.

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