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Seeing the wood for the trees: workplace learning evaluation

Richard Griffin (Faculty of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University, London, UK)

Journal of European Industrial Training

ISSN: 0309-0590

Article publication date: 27 September 2011




This paper seeks to argue that workplace learning evaluation theory and practice is still an emergent field and that this creates a number of challenges for practitioners and researchers alike.


This is a descriptive paper based on a critical review of existing approaches and the research literature.


While programme evaluation has a long history, workplace learning evaluation is yet to establish itself as a distinct field. This has a number of consequences including the lack of a single or settled view on how workplace learning should be evaluated or what specific aspects of learning should be investigated.

Practical implications

The need to demonstrate a return on investment in organisational learning is as pressing as ever. To become more effective training evaluation methods need to be grounded in a theory. This article aims to provide an informed perspective on the current state of workplace evaluation along with insights into how evaluation can be placed on firmer theoretical foundations in order to produce robust findings in a practitioner friendly way.


This paper provides original insights into the development of workplace evaluation approaches and the challenges the field faces.



Griffin, R. (2011), "Seeing the wood for the trees: workplace learning evaluation", Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 35 No. 8, pp. 841-850.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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