On-the-job learning scores over formal training

On-the-job training is the most effective way to learn, according to a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) survey.

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On-the-job training is the most effective way to learn, according to a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) survey.

A commanding 81% of the survey respondents said ad-hoc learning was the best way to pick up skills, compared to one fifth of respondents who plumped for formal training courses.

The survey also found that large firms spent far less on training employees than smaller companies and failed to exploit the potential of e-learning.

Virgin Media TV is a believer in the value of on-the-job training. The IT department runs a programme where senior staff mentor and develop junior colleagues and staff are seconded to projects to beef up skills. “A programmer might be put to work alongside a business analyst to learn about another area of the business,” said Ashley Holloway, director of technology at Virgin Media TV.

Just 2% of the sample surveyed by the CIPD cited e-learning as the most effective way to learn. “Year-on-year, large organisations predict that their usage of e-learning is increasing, but that’s not borne out by the evidence”, said Victoria Winkler, adviser in learning and development at CIPD.

Holloway has found other more innovative ways to boost spend on developing staff. “We apportion training costs into any project delivery price that we quote for our internal customers,” he said. “It’s no use upgrading a system if we don’t have the skills to execute this.”

According to the CIPD Learning and Development 2007 survey: “By far the smallest spend per employee in the survey was among the very large companies with more than 10,000 people. They spent £73 per employee on training last year compared to the £417 per head spent by the smallest companies on each employee.”

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