Document Type


Publication details

Hase, S & Davis, L 2002, 'Workplace learning: what’s the rate of return?', paper presented to Validity and value in American education: 83rd Annual Meeting of Research Association (AERA), New Orleans, 1-5 April.


The purpose of this paper is to draw together the results of an ongoing research program into workplace learning and the some thinking about the development of human capability. We make the distinction between information, skills and learning. More than that, we suggest that it is the latter that makes the difference but it is often poorly harnessed in the modern workplace.

This paper argues that properly conducted workplace learning can provide a confluence for systemic (socio-technical design) and training solutions to complex organisational problems. In fact drawing these two main elements together provides an opportunity for learning, organisationally and on the part of individuals. It is common for managers and trainers to use either a training or a systemic solution to attempt to address a particular problem. The training solution usually results, at best with competency attainment (knowledge and skills), while a systemic solution often has little regard to the essential elements of socio-technical design and creating a learning environment that might make the change enduring. More often than not there is a poor rate of return on training and change initiatives.