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What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of On-the-Job Training?

Structured OJT (also referred to as site-based training) is a form of self-paced learning that allows the individual requiring training to acquire the necessary knowledge and develop the required skills while on the job. It must include all 4 of the critical training elements:

  1. Transfer of knowledge 
  2. Skill acquisition and practice 
  3. Coaching by an experienced staff 
  4. Assessment of performance in providing services (application of knowledge and skills)

Although OJT programs may exist in several formats, many characteristics are common to all OJT programs. OJT courses have the following advantages and limitations:


  1. Participants can be trained immediately without waiting for a scheduled course. 
  2. The problem of inappropriate selection (e.g., inclusion of an individual in a course for political reasons, selection of a participant who is not interested in training) is avoided. 
  3. Experienced personnel who are proficient and participants control the quality of the training experience. 
  4. Training is designed to meet local needs. 
  5. It is easier to obtain the customer caseload needed for participants to reach competency. 
  6. Once installed, it may be more sustainable than traditional group-based training because it has been integrated into the work of the site. 
  7. It is less expensive than group-based training.


  1. There are fewer opportunities for interaction with other people than in a group-based course. 
  2. Limited reading abilities of the participants often create problems. 
  3. There is the tendency to "see one, do one, teach one" instead of following the steps in the OJT program. 
  4. There may be a tendency for participants to work with customers instead of models during the early phases when their skills are weak. 
  5. OJT s may not be provided with enough resources to conduct training adequately (i.e., sending them a packet of materials may not be sufficient). 
  6. Maintaining quality at a national level can be difficult.

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