Offer Learning Opportunities

Learning opportunities can come in the form of on-the-job activities, relationships and feedback, classroom training and other forms of off-the-job learning.

OPTIONS TO CONSIDER

The HR Council outlines specific options that you can provide for on-the-job learning, inside and outside the organization, including:

  • Taking part in committees, conferences and forums
  • Critical incident notes to learn from day-to-day activities
  • Field trips to other sites and organizations
  • Job aids/tools; Job expanding; Job rotation; Job shadowing
  • Learning alerts (articles, announcements and reports)
  • Peer-assisted learning
  • ‘Stretch’ assignments and special projects

Learning from relationships and feedback includes: coaching, mentoring, networking and performance appraisals. Many of these are touched on in earlier sections of this website.

Other formal and informal training opportunities (on- or off-the-job) include:

  • Courses, seminars, workshops can be offered as formal training opportunities either internally or externally
  • Courses offered by colleges or universities
  • Professional associations
  • Reading groups
  • Self study (reading, e-learning courses and volunteer work)

Scroll down the HR Council’s Implementing an Employee Training & Development Program page to the section on Cost-effective methods for employee training and development to get tips and guidelines on how best to utilize these different opportunities.

APPLYING LEARNING ON THE JOB

In your role as a manager, you will work with your employees to identify formal training opportunities that will benefit each of them. However, you also have a role to play when formal training initiatives are completed.

When an employee returns from any formal training, your involvement can help them apply new knowledge in the working environment and will encourage them to further their learning. Helping the individual put into practice newly acquired competencies as quickly as possible allows for better integration of knowledge and skills.

Creating a continuous learning environment, as outlined above, will facilitate this process.  You can also help the individual apply formal training on the job by asking the following questions:

  • Did the learning intervention meet your expectations?
  • How do you intend to apply new knowledge/skills in your ongoing work?
  • How can I help you put newly acquired knowledge and skills into practice?
  • If the course did not meet your expectations, how do you think that your identified needs can be met?

EXAMPLE:  When an individual comes back from a course in oral communications:

  • Ask for a brief presentation or document on this topic at the next team meeting.
  • Give them an opportunity to deliver a lunch & learn session in the near future and coach them through a “dry run” providing developmental feedback.

There are also more general actions you can take to incorporate a variety of formal training into the individual’s day-to-day work.

  • Ask about the learning interventions that they found the most relevant and why.
  • If you notice a strong interest in the training topic, ask the person to do some research that could prove useful for the team and to present results at the next meeting.
  • Offer the person the opportunity to be part of a working group that deals with this issue or ask them to create one.

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