Difference between on the job and off the job training

By on October 6, 2012

Job training is an important Human Resource (HR) function and an absolute essential in today’s competition. Though companies now days make hard efforts to hire the best available talent but unless this talent is not polished through training, it can never give the optimum output. Job training is an HR function which is concerned with enhancing the knowledge, skills and competencies of employees for a particular job so that they perform to their best. A few believe that training should be imparted only to the new recruits in order to make them learn about their job as well as the organization. But in today’s fast changing business environment training must be a continuous process so that any changes can be quickly and well adapted by the employees at all levels. There are different training methods adopted by firms depending on their varying needs. But broadly the training methods are categorized into on-the-job training and off-the-job training methods. Let’s discuss how these methods differ.

On the job and off the job training methods

The major differences between these two training methodologies have been listed here:

  1. On the job training involves imparting training in the real work environment i.e. it believes in learning by doing; while off the job training involves imparting training outside the real work environment i.e. the principle of learning by acquiring knowledge is adopted.
  2. Under on the job training the training and performance goes simultaneously so production is not hindered at the time of training; while under off the job training methods first training is imparted and then the real performance follows and therefore does not add anything to actual production during training.
  3. ‘On the job training aims at developing the best practices for a specific job and getting the job done; while off the job training methods aim at learning basic facts and skills and is more general in nature.
  4. On the job training is usually imparted by experienced workers and first line supervisors at the workplace; while‘off the job training is imparted usually by the academicians and professionals at any place other than the real workplace.
  5. ‘On the job’ training methods are suitable when the trainees are limited in numbers and the job is not hazardous in nature; while off the job training methods can be utilized to train any numbers of employees and for jobs that involve risks.
  6. ‘On the job’ training methods are simple and less-expensive because they utilize the actual workplace and firm’s supervisors for imparting training; while off the job training methods are quite expensive as they need a complete different set-up. Training here is imparted in an artificial set-up and outside experts are hired for the purpose.
  7. Most popular on the job training methods include job rotation and apprenticeship training; while the popular off the job training methods include classroom lectures and simulation exercises.
  8. On the job training is generally imparted in case of manufacturing firms for production-related jobs; while off-the-job training is mostly imparted for managerial and non-production related jobs.
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However, the kind of training methodology to be adopted depends on several factors that includes:

  1. The purpose of training
  2. The budget of training.
  3. The number of trainees.
  4. The level of trainees in organizational hierarchy.
  5. The time available.
  6. Andd the nature of job for which the training has to be imparted.


  • Singla, R.K. (2009-10). Business Management, Semester-II. New Delhi: V.K. (India) Enterprises.
  • Emerging Issues in the Natural and Applied Sciences. (2011). Progress LLC, Baku.
  • Tulsian, P.C. & Tulsian, S.D. (2005). ICSE Tulsian’s Commercial Studies and Applications: For Class X. New Delhi: Ratna Sagar P. Ltd.


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