Workplace Learning werkplekleren is a hands-on, structured work experience program that gives students an opportunity to obtain some hands-on, on-the-job training or experience. This is done within a safe and controlled working environment, under the supervision of a qualified instructor. The student will learn all the basics of workplace safety and practices, as well as acquiring relevant knowledge for their particular industry. The program allows the student to work in real-world situations under supervised circumstances and therefore provides valuable practical experience. It also allows the student to build up new, critical thinking skills, improve self-confidence and enhance teamwork. The program offers many career opportunities after completion.
The workplace learning experience varies from one training program to another. Some programs offer classroom-based training i.e. classroom-based workshops and seminars. Some focus on an online medium through websites and e-books. There are also corporate learning and development programmes that provide on-the-job training with the latest technologies.
A few corporate learning and development companies focus only on professional development, leadership and management programmes. Most of these companies offer classroom-based workplace learning experiences, which combine interactive games, simulations, hands-on application of theory to real situations, group projects and evaluations. Some of these companies also allow the student to experience the real workplace via simulation technology. However, there are also other companies that offer a wide range of classroom-based training at various modules, ranging from basic business skills to more advanced managerial and leadership skills. These programmes are suitable for employees who need refresher training but cannot take up the regular courses because of a busy work schedule.
The third type of workplace learning that is gaining popularity these days is real-world case studies. This type of training helps train employees to develop real-world proficiency by applying theory and practice in real-life situations. Most often, this type of training uses case studies or hypothetical study situations to train the trainees. For example, the student will be asked to complete a task in a laboratory set up after which they will have to describe their experience, as well as the results of that particular task to a research scientist.
However, many people think that real-world case studies are generally boring. In fact, there are many different types of workplace learning programmes that can be tailored to suit the learner’s needs and interests. Many training providers offer unique tailor-made programs that are relevant to the learner’s specific job profile and are designed to improve specific job skills such as problem solving, prioritization, communication and organizational skills. They also include practical exercises and activities such as the team building game, critical thinking games and storytelling activities.
The other option available for workplace learning is informal learning, which is the most common form of training these days. Informal learning is delivered in many different forms and involves short tutorials and seminar style presentations that address specific topics. Informal learning programmes usually include practical demonstrations, self-exams and quizzes that help assess a candidate’s learning and training accomplishments. This type of programme allows job-holders to learn new skills without having to attend special courses. It is the ideal choice for those who do not wish to take up large amounts of formal training courses and who do not need to understand many complex concepts.