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Learning on the Job: Anticipating Challenges & Tips to Mitigate Them

October 21, 2020

Edited by Anuj Vyas.

Learning on the Job has merged with the everyday work context in the year 2020 like never before. Our esteemed panellists, Marea O’Sullivan and Christian Holz have successfully lobbied for L&D to be weaved into, and be a constant part of every individual’s work life. It goes without saying, that their core beliefs put them in the pole position to adapt when the Covid pandemic came calling.


This blog article is based on excerpts from Christian Holz's keynote in Learn Tomorrow’s and eLearning Journal's webinar titled Learning on the Job: Bringing Together Digital Learning & Work, held on the 13th of October, 2020.

Please follow this link to get insights from Marea O'Sullivan on this topic. She was also a panellist on the Learning on the Job webinar.

Find out more about our upcoming Webinars and how to register for them from here.


Christian Holz

With the background of a Business Phycologist, and being the Product Owner of Transformation and Digitalisation at DB Akademie, the corporate academy of Deutsche Bahn, the largest railway operator and infrastructure owner in Europe, Christian Holz knows a thing or 2 about what it takes to setup an agile learning culture and foster Learning on the Job through digital means. He shares his valuable insights by taking us through the L&D setup at DB Akademie, and by extension Deutsche Bahn, in the form of compact key-points.

The 5 Pillars of Career Training at Deutsche Bahn

  1. 6 monthly trainings for every manager to have a better organisation-wide understanding of what leadership means at DB.
  2. The ‘Pure leadership pillar’ is for trainings that make you reflect on your leadership style after a certain period of time; 2 years up to 20 years.
  3. Transformation & Digitalisation – Responsible for change management trainings, agile organisation trainings, and new digital technologies.
  4. Communication training is about storytelling, communication style, how to present to others.
  5. Management and performance training focuses on finance and strategy.

Challenges for Learning on the job

  1. Managers love networking; From the feedback we have received during the last half year, they miss the networking part; to speak with managers from other parts of the company.
  2. Managers like to grasp things and do trainings physically as that’s what they have been doing for a decade.
  3. Attitude and Skill-Set – the average manager, is open to have learnings on the job but isn’t necessarily equipped technically with the things that are needed for this. Attitude wise, people usually like to have a free schedule and a few free days where they don’t have work engagements to spend time on personal develop ad trainings and learning
  4. Ivory Tower Syndrome - A big challenge is to be on eye-level and to be in frequent contact with the management. If one does L&D activities, then applicability to daily life is hard. In the case of training for digital tools and new tech, it’s even more challenging because there is no smooth transition into real-world usage and experience from the trainings.

DB Akademie’s solutions to foster Learning on the Job

  1. We have an established internal Social Network; i.e. newspaper with latest developments across various business units, learning nuggets and digital insights.
  2. We have an LMS which is available in multiple languages; it consists of WBTs depicting company vision, and strategies and key facts to know about Agility, work security, compliance and data security. It focuses on about the trainings they need to do instead of those they can do.
  3. We follow a Blended Learning design, employ a mixture of webinars and live-online trainings, delivering on-demand content in-between scheduled training modules.
  4. We schedule trainings called the 21-Steps Program that are scheduled in 3-week time periods… These are 15 mins learning nuggets that we offer on each work-day. This complies with learning theory, where learning for 15 mins everyday is better for transference than learning 15min x 21 at one stretch.

Visit Learn Tomorrow's Events page to register for our upcoming webinars.


Anuj Vyas is a member of Learn TomorrowcBook.AI aims to create a new learning experience providing a personal Learning Feed, which smartly selects learning content on the basis of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Artificial Intelligence.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash. Thank you.


Learn Tomorrow is an eLearning technology provider. cBook is an integrated Learning Experience Platform (LXP) aiming to create digital learning experiences with impact. Tailored to the needs of businesses, academies & trainers.

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