What makes for good workplace learning? At a glance

By NCVER Research summary 11 July 2003


Recent research into workplace learning in Australia is reviewed and important findings are synthesised in this publication. It finds that six elements are required to be in place for effective workplace learning and proposes that the 'ideal' workplace learning situation fosters innovation, and involves a systematic approach. Additionally, the 'At a glance' emphasises that the networks and partnerships of the workplace learning system - the workplace, individual, external training provider and a variety of community and government organisations - are crucially important.


Executive summary

Why is workplace learning important?

Education and training is no longer seen as being solely the realm of educational institutions. Education and training is increasingly viewed in terms of a broader system involving workplaces, educational institutions, individuals and a variety of other government and community organisations.

The increasingly competitive nature of the economy, and demographic, occupational and workplace change, have had a significant impact on the nature of the workplace.These changes have meant that the skill level of employees must be continuously developed.The skill mix required by organisations is changing, with employers demanding generic skills such as communication and problem-solving skills, in addition to technical skills. As such, workplace learning, both formal and informal, is taking on an increasingly important role in the education and training of the workforce (Johnston et al. 2002). Currently, much of the training in the workplace is not accredited; however, the total extent and diversity of workplace learning is vast.

This At a glance summarises some of the recent research on workplace learning in Australia. Based on our analysis, if workplace learning was working well in Australia, enterprises would have in place the elements outlined in the key findings.

Key findings:The 'ideal' workplace learning situation

  • Workplace learning is aimed at increasing innovative capacity in enterprises.
  • Organisational culture supports and values training and learning.
  • Training and learning are a part of doing business and are included as an integral part of the strategic planning cycle.
  • Training and learning in all forms are valued and used according to the appropriate circumstances.
  • Training is customised to individuals and to increase work capability.
  • Networks, partnerships and supply chains are used to facilitate training.



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