HRD or Human Resource Development can best be described as a comprehensive learning system designed to enhance individual performance for the purpose of improving organizational efficiency. As such, HRD includes three types of learning activities: on the job, off the job, and through the job.
On-the-job learning activities are used when individual instruction is appropriate. An example of this would be on-the-job training (OJT). On-the-job learning activities do, however, include workshops and seminars designed for group participation. They are usually conducted by HRD learning specialists or highly qualified and experienced managers. Again, the purpose is to enhance performance through the acquisition of increased knowledge, skills, competencies, and/or improved behavior.
Off-the-job learning activities include college and university courses as well as workshops and seminars conducted by outside consultants and instructors. These are used to supplement internal organizational learning activities and/or to provide specialized learning that cannot be provided by internal HRD practitioners. An example would be a program on team building or interpersonal dynamics using outside resources away from the organizational setting.
Finally, through-the-job learning activities manifest themselves as new job assignments and/or duties that foster growth, development, and confidence. They include job rotations and job enrichment programs designed to increase knowledge, skills, and competencies and/or improve behavior. Because these types of activities are focused on providing new experience and increased responsibilities, they are often not viewed as learning activities. Properly organized and arranged, however, they can serve as the foundation for a comprehensive and complete career development program. Included in this approach is individual analysis of knowledge, competencies, skills, values, and interest. Career planning has also become a part of this approach by returning to the employee the responsibility of career advancement and mobility. The organization becomes an active participant by providing challenging assignments designed to foster interest and commitment.
All three types of learning activities (on, off, and through the job) have as their purpose increased knowledge, skills, and competencies and improved behavior, all of which should result in performance improvement.
Source: Jerry Gillet and Seteven Eggland