Canada's Biggest Economic Challenge: Improving Workplace Learning

Unattributed, Canadian Council on Learning, Mar 16, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This is a good paper on workplace learning. Though it doesn't cover a whole lot of new ground, it does state the case for workplace learning convincingly. "We know that investing in workplace learning pays off," says the report. "The link between overall education and literacy levels and economic performance is also well established." That said, government support for workplace learning - which the report recommends - should be in the form of infrastructure and support for individual learners, not direct payments to companies. And the objective should be to enable workers to manage their own learning, not to help managers tell people what to learn. Though the report reads as though the only purpose would be to benefit companies and increase productivity, the objective should be to benefit learners. Otherwise the program simply turns into a direct corporate subsidy, replacing, rather than augmenting, the company's investment in training. Also, George Siemens observes that the report devotes exactly two sentences to e-learning, which, he says (correctly), is "a bit short sighted."
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