Essay Sample on Learning in the Workplace

Published: 2022-12-13
Essay Sample on Learning in the Workplace
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Learning Job Professional development
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1742 words
15 min read

In the current 21st century, learning of information and gaining essential skills geared towards creating a successful career is no longer bound to the classroom but is a rather womb-to-womb endeavor that continues even to the workplace. This is major because trends in business activities and global industries are expeditiously changing. However, even after the purpose of learning in the workplace seems to be aimed at empowering and educating workers, is crucial to note that the question of whether or not this is achieved is solely based on the structures set in place by the very organizations in which these workers are placed.

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Spencer & Lange (2014) argue that less than 20% of workers in Canada are employed in knowledge-based occupations. The authors further suggest that though Canada has a knowledgeable workforce, the issue is that the jobs that match the spectrum of knowledge of the available workforce are inadequate. Deskilling rather than reskilling the roles of employees in organizations has slowly become the norm over the years, and as a result, the opportunities that employees have to apply their knowledge in their places of work are declining. Learning in the workplace is therefore essential in empowering human resources to gain skills that match their job requirements.

The nature of working activities in Canada in this century has changed from that of the factory chores to fast-food chains and e-commerce activities. Many organizations are now conducting business online including the processing of transactions, payment for products, advertising and banking. Following the tight schedules that employees are working in industries have, the employees are finding it more favorable to get quick meals on order at fast-food chain stores thus making them more popular in the streets. The skillsets that employees neededin order to stay relevant in the workforce have taken a drastic change leading to a reduction in job security. As a result, corporate loyalty to the workforce is arguably dead and buried. To solve this problem, efforts directed towards educating the workers at their workplaces need to be done.

There is a school of thought which claims that workers are being misled into believing that education will lead to better jobs and happier lifestyles. Instead of creating employment, workplace education only increases the number of educated people competing for the few available good jobs, and the high competition for those jobs plummets wages.

Workers have historically continued to learn in the workplace, and employers have harnessed the learning opportunities for a dubious end. - That of creating higher profit margins and using such learning programs to meet their organizational needs. A good example is Lean production training. Although in some industries jobs did go south, what happened was a grinding process of restructuring that involved an enormous downsizing of workforces and "leaning" of production systems everywhere. Therefore, although some might say that the workers gain transferable skill sets that can be utilized in other organizations, workplace education programs also work to create more profits for the organizations at the expense of the time and resources spent by the workers in going through such programs.

Despite all this, discussions around the purpose of adult education need to address the issue of who owns and controls the said organization, - a factor that is important as the whole process of adult education relies upon funding and approval by the organizations. These issues of power, more so seen in the public services and private corporations are real and lead to the bottom line of who is getting rich from the activity of offering opportunities of learning in the workplace and what the organizations can gain by providing these opportunities to their workforce. The ownership, control, and management of the organization, therefore, has a key say when it comes to education in the workplace.

The ownership and control of private corporations lie not in the government, but in the shareholders and other stakeholders who have a stake in the businesses. Private organizations can, therefore, set up more customized internal controls when implementing programs such as training or learning workshops as they are not tied to the bureaucracies associated with public governance. Implementation of such programs brings these companies to be front runners of the workforce within that industry. Unfortunately, a shift in support of educational policies from the federal government and the provinces have made it difficult for the coalitions and small organizations to compete when funding is reduced to a provincial level favorably.

Public services are usually owned in part by the public and can dip into the public capital markets, not limiting the expansion of their business. The last decade has seen a drastic devolution of federal training and labor market policy resulting in its shift to the provinces. Consequently, there has been less funding from the federal government, which was historically obligated by the national economic policy to be directly involved in adult education. Elfert and Rubenson (2013) suggested that the public sector is considered to be less efficient than the private sector. Therefore, there will be cuts to the public sector for economic growth and global competitiveness by transferring the responsibility of education to that of private companies creating a divide of public and private funding.

Worker co-operatives combine the skills, interests, and experiences of their members to achieve mutual goals and create jobs for themselves. This type of organization is lucky in today's interest in adult and lifelong learning as they step away from the federal and provincial level of policy by having their own culture of becoming synonymous with job-related skills training, aiming at employment and cost reduction.

Due to the lack of coherent systems, our adult education is quite vulnerable to changes in the government especially when it comes to cutbacks and budget cuts, as well as funding and monitoring schemes and practices. Of the three organizations detailed above, co-operatives are less likely to be affected by changes in government.

More often than not, many women, unlike men, find that their careers sometimes plays second fiddle to other social settings in life such as marriage, raising children, and family. Re-inventing themselves is therefore essential since most at times when they get back to their professional careers, much of the skills they worked on and knowledge they possessed has progressed. Workplace learning, therefore, plays a vital role in keeping them at per.

More women are participating in all variety of jobs, and they continue to enter the workforce in rising numbers, but gender inequality continues to persist and is a topic that dominates the sad plight of women and workplace learning as they are not afforded equal opportunities as the male gender. Society has created a gendered division of labor that differentiates the job positions held men and those women in the labor market and historically favoring the men who receive better remunerations are often accorded leadership positions even though their merits perfectly match those of the women. This generates a state where women have no choice but to self- motivate themselves to work better. Empowering the women by promoting learning in the workplace that educates all employees the disadvantages of gender inequality may go a long way in creating a better working society.

All in all, being critical of learning and training in the workplace is relatively significant although employers are often biased or disproportionate to providing training to employees who they consider as 'resources' or 'core employees' to the organization. On the surface learning in the workplace is supposed to be empowering and educate workers, but below the surface, the master and servant relationship still exists.

"Canada has shifted from an industrially-based economy to a knowledge-based economy; it is, therefore, the responsibility of workers to educate themselves to fit into the new "reality."

Change is the single most dominant constant that defines most economies in the world today. The Canadian economy is no different. The structure and formation of industries and markets as we knew them have transformed over the years from the previous industrial-based set up to the current knowledge-based setup. As a result, workers have to educate themselves to fit into the new reality, but to do so, and they must carefully consider and understand the difference of between a knowledge-based economy and an industrially-based economy and the changes that have taken place.

The industrially-based economy existed in an era where workers depended on a set of standard skills to produced goods and services. In that period, Canada's primary source of production was agriculture and extraction of raw materials, the secondary being manufacturing and construction, and the tertiary source was the provision government, personal and financial services as well entertainment.

The most significant change observed in the primary sector was concerning gross production in the economy which included 'clever people' working together to help other areas make smart use of information. The tertiary sector has seen the most change in overall growth in the workforce, growing from about 35% in 1920 to 61% today (Spencer & Lange, 2014).

During the period of the industrially-based economy, the nature of work was mostly Fordist or Taylorist, therefore providing minimal opportunities for learning, as workers were mainly focused on factory assembly positions. The Taylorist principle believes that management can identify ways in which cost may be reduced when recognizing inefficiency's that can be improved, while Fordist laws are based on mass production run by autocratic management systems.

The shift to the current knowledge-based economy in our society whereby has seen an upturn in technological innovations and the global need to develop products and processes that require the labor force to be computer-literate, incorporate critical thinking, and produce ideas, knowledge, and information. The assumption is companies provide participatory, flexible, varied, knowledge-rich jobs during this period, and the opportunity for learning in the workplace has now shifted to be that of learning organizations, in theory.


Carter, S., & Martin, D. (2013). Chapter 25: Equip, engage, expand, and energize: Labour movement education.
In T. Nesbit, S. M. Brigham, N. Taber, & T. Gibb (Eds.), Building on critical traditions: Adult education and learning in Canada (pp. 270-280). Toronto, ON Thompson Educational Publishing.

Elfert, M., & Rubenson, K. (2013). Chapter 22: Adult education policies in Canada: Skills without humanity. In T. Nesbit, S. M. Brigham, N. Taber, & T. Gibb (Eds.), Building on critical traditions: Adult education and learning in Canada (pp. 238-247). Toronto, ON Thompson Educational Publishing.

Spencer, B., & Lange, E. (2014). Chapter 3: Education for Economy. The purposes of adult education: A short introduction (3rd ed.) (pp. 53-74). Toronto, ON Thompson Educational Publishing.

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