Training not suited to worker learning preference says new survey

A new survey has found that employers are not being trained according to their learning preferences.

This preference was also the finding of the two previous reports undertaken in 2005 and 2002. Despite this clear indicator on learning preferences, classroom training is still the most common form of work-related training, followed by training on-the-job or at the desk.

The survey findings show that younger respondents (aged 16-24) also favoured the ‘being shown how to do things and practising them’ method of learning. They even supported it by a slightly higher percentage than the population at large (50 per cent compared to 46), which serves to question the widely held assumption that ‘Generation-Y’ learning preferences are considerably different from older employees.

Since the first report in 2002 there has been a noticeable shift in training responsibility throughout UK organisations, with a move from training decisions being made by the HR department to line managers. There has been a decrease in respondents stating that the training they received was initiated by the HR and Training department (from 33 per cent in 2005 to 21 per cent in 2008) and an increase in training interventions instigated by the line manager (45 per cent to 49 per cent).

Martyn Sloman, CIPD adviser said: “As trainers we need to deal with the world as it is, not the world we would wish it to be. Trainers are no longer the Sun around which learner planets revolve. Employees have a firm preference for more active learning opportunities. They certainly don’t like solitary or unsupported learning.

The survey results also challenge the idea that UK workplaces suffer from a mass of reluctant trainees, with respondents positive about learning and training at work. Of the 751 respondents, 79 per cent said that their employer provides them with enough training opportunities. Very few employees decline training opportunities and 82 per cent had received training in the past year. Most were also positive about the outcome of the training while nearly all of those who had received training believe that it has been successful.

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