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Job-Embedded Learning

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Job-embedded learning, also known as on-the-job learning , is learning that occurs while teachers and administrators engage in their daily work. While simultaneously performing their job duties, participants learn by doing, reflecting on the their experiences, and then generating and sharing new insights and learning with one another. This type of learning, formal and informal, is becoming more popular because of its practicality.


Recently gathered research shows that the traditional methods of professional development, such as attending workshops, are not very effective. Administrators have a limited amount of time to attend workshops. Furthermore, it is difficult for administrators to implement what they learn from these workshops into their everyday job.

On-the-job learning provides a solution to these problems. Because administrators are learning while they are in their jobs, integrating their new knowledge is not difficult.

Furthermore, job-embedded learning does not require participants to set aside a separate time to learn. Because learning occurs while on-the-job, time efficiency is maximized.

Finally, job-embedded learning is beneficial because it promotes immediate application of what is learned and costs less, in most cases, than paying a high-priced consultant to conduct training.


There are many types of on-the-job learning, some formal and others informal. Study groups, reflective logs, action research, peer coaching, and mentoring are just a few examples of job-embedded learning. In study groups, a small number of administrators come together to learn more about a particular topic. The group reviews and discusses the topic, reads literature on it, and may visits model programs.

In contrast to study groups, keeping a reflective log is a more individual practice. Reflective logs are used to encourage learning from the successes and problems a participant encounters during the workday. Administrators not only summarize what happened, but they summarize what they have learned. Typically, participants share these logs with other colleagues who offer further insight and advise.

A third example of job-embedded learning is action research. Administrators gather data and information about their performance and their work environment and then systematically analyze their findings individually or with other colleagues. This practice reveals certain trends and tendencies and allows participants to reflect on what changes need to be made. Administrators then implement these changes and continue to gather research to see if the new approach is effective.

Overall, on-the-job learning is a practical method that offers an easier, more effective method to ensure that education is constantly improving.

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