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On-The-Job Training: Meaning, Benefits, and Off-The-Job Alternatives

on the job training

When you’re in the process of hiring for a new position at your company, it’s crucial to have an effective training program in your onboarding process. And probably the most common type of onboarding training is on-the-job training because it’s a cheaper option and easy to implement.

Employees who go through a structured onboarding process and receive proper training are 58% more likely to remain with a company for up to three years.* Not only that, but they’re also 69% more likely to be engaged in their roles and 89% more likely to understand their job responsibilities.

A strong onboarding process will help new employees assimilate quickly and become productive quickly. A bad onboarding process can result in high turnover, poor reviews and lost productivity. That’s why some companies prefer off-the-job training programs, to be sure their new employees will be trained by professionals in the industry.

In this post, we show you what on-the-job training involves, and explore off-the-job training options as well.

Related video: Learning and Development: What is it? and Why is it important in the Workplace? In this video, we explain the top learning and development styles and how to identify the one that’s right for you and your team. 


Difference Between On-The-Job and Off-The-Job Training

On-the-job training and off-the-job training are the two main methods used by organisations to train their employees. Both types of training are effective, but there are advantages and disadvantages to each type. For example, OTJ training will cost less than off-the-job training. However, training on the job allows for less control over how the trainee learns and is taught. 

It’s crucial to understand the differences between both approaches to plan a training program that works for your company. 

on-the-job training

What Is On-The-Job Training?

On-The-Job Training is a training approach that occurs within the work environment, using the actual tools, equipment, documents or materials that employees will need to use once they have finished their training. The main goal is to help new employees adapt to the workplace in a short period.

This approach includes several methods, such as mentoring and coaching from expert employees. It is administrative in style, which contributes to a better team culture from the start.

In addition, it has been found that OJT enables employees to learn faster than when they are trained off the job. 


  • It is an effective way of job-specific learning since it takes place in the area where the employees actually perform their job duties.
  • It enables the employees to learn from their supervisors and co-workers who have experience in the related field.
  • It is cost-effective for both employee and employer since it does not require any additional resources other than the regular work environment and does not require paying for employee absences from work during training periods. 
  • It minimises disruption to normal work activities as compared to off-the-job type of training.
  • Employees learn at their own pace when they are actually using real equipment, tools or materials instead of just experiencing them through a demonstration or lecture.


  • The trainer may not be an expert in teaching or communication skills. If your team isn’t prepared, then the training program will be a waste of time.
  • If your training program isn’t developed properly, your new employees might end up learning bad practices.
  • When mentors are staff members, your workforce is being reduced, and you might not be able to perform daily tasks on time.
  • If your employee has no or little experience, this approach might not be the best option. Unexperienced staff members will take longer to acquire the skills needed to perform the job.
  • By leading the training yourself, you can’t ensure the quality of its learning program. How can you be sure that you are doing better than your competitors?

on-the-job training

Is Training On The Job the Right Solution for Your Team?

Training on-the-job can be extremely effective for certain teams, but it’s not well-suited to every situation. To determine whether training on-the-job is a good fit for you, consider the following:

Do you have time to facilitate training on the job? There’s no denying that training on the job requires a significant time commitment from both your team leader and your employees. If your schedule isn’t open enough to make this happen, it’s probably not a good idea.

Do you have leaders who can teach their teams? Training on the job relies heavily on the ability of team leaders to help their teammates effectively learn new skills and abilities. If managers lack the necessary leadership skills, this approach may not work for them.

If the questions above made you wonder, then you must consider other training alternatives that your company might not be able to provide. That’s when off-the-job training programs show up. To offer a different option for teams who can’t offer in-office mentorship. 

What Is Off-The-Job Training?

Off-the-job training takes place away from the usual work environment. There are many different types of off-the-job training, including classroom training, conference or seminar, role play, simulation exercises, programmed instruction and distance learning.

It’s also known as “formal training” and is usually managed by expert mentors who have the teaching skills needed to drive employees to success.

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Most Popular Off-The-Job Training Ideas

  • Lectures also called conferences or seminars

Lectures may be used to provide background information for other types of off-the-job training such as seminars or workshops. The main advantage of lectures is that they are comparatively cheap and easy to arrange, however, the disadvantage is that the interaction between trainer and trainee is limited by the number of trainees in attendance.

  • Case studies

In this method, participants examine actual situations that have occurred in business. The case method allows participants to practice applying concepts and theories to real-world scenarios.

  • Roleplaying

Is an effective technique to bridge the gap between the actual and desired behaviour of employees. It involves acting out a real-life situation with imaginary characters related to the business environment. For example, if you were working as a sales manager, you would take on different roles such as buyer/customer, colleague etc., and analyze the buying process of your clients.

  • Conferences and seminars

Conferences bring together colleagues for a specific purpose such as learning about a new topic or discussing certain issues in depth. Seminars are smaller versions of conferences and can be held in your workplace or off-site.

  • Management games and simulations

Management games and simulations can be effective learning tools. The advantage of this type of learning is that it provides a “safe” environment where the trainee can make mistakes and learn from them through immediate feedback.

Big companies like Amazon and AT&T are choosing on-the-job training programs, while others go for off-the-job options to keep the workspace working as usual. It’s on your hands to decide which option is best for your business to drive a successful employee onboarding experience.


on the job training

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