Classroom or On the Job - The L&D paradox

Author: Nipsy Jhamb | Categories: HR Management

There is an undeniable need for effective and standardized  training methods which can develop performance oriented skills in employees. The gap between industry expectation and talent availability in the market is ever increasing and the only way to bridge this gap is by training employees in line with the organizational needs. For the Learning and Development department at any organization, ensuring training effectiveness remains a constant struggle. However, The biggest L&D paradox remains whether to go for classroom training or promote on the job training. Before we explore the paradox, however, let’s understand what both the training approaches have to offer.

Classroom Training

Classroom training entails utilization of tools such as lecture, workshops, case studies, simulations, etc. to download the training content to the participants. When same information, skill set or competency is relevant for many stakeholders in the organization, classroom training becomes the preferred medium. This is also the LnD format that is preferred for on-boarding new recruits, induction process and upgrading the skill set of knowledge of existing employees at the same time. However, like any other training approach, classroom training also has its Pros and Cons-


On The Job Training

Although considered to be a traditional approach, On the job training has retained its relevance for modern day L&D as well. Experience sharing, repeated usage of technical platforms as well as face to face interaction with both internal and external stakeholders are inherent to on-job training and result in skill creation over long term. However, there are some clear pros and cons to On the job training -


The L&D Paradox

By comparing both the training methods, it is evident that from the L&D perspective, it is very difficult to decide which method is more efficient for training the new and existing employees in the organization. Most Gen Y and Gen Z employees prefer to learn new concepts and skills whenever the need arises. Google and Youtube assisted self-learning is preferred by most employees, rather than class room or on-job training organized as an L&D initiative. 

In such a scenario, to determine the most effective training method suited for an organization, it is essential to adopt some contingency planning. With pros and cons in both training methods, the paradox is not which is better, rather when to adopt which. Following parameters can be adopted to evaluate training need and use the most effective training solution –

  • What is the training purpose – Information transfer, concept development or skill development?

  • Who are the participants – existing employees or new recruits undergoing onboarding?

  • How should the training be – standardized or customized?

  • What is the training budget – is the organization willing to invest in trainers and training infrastructure or does the organization want to utilize existing human resource only to conduct training?

  • How much time can be invested in training – Resource availability is important or resource readiness and competency?

In conclusion, both training methodologies are indispensable and it is essential to develop organizational competency for providing both types of training solutions. A detailed training need analysis can not only help determine whether to adopt classroom training or on-job training but also make learning and development more effective.