Learning throughout our lives is good for wellbeing. Taking a part-time course for work over the past year has been estimated to give wellbeing benefits equivalent to £1,584 of income per year*.
People who keep learning:
have greater satisfaction and optimism
report higher wellbeing; a greater ability to cope with stress; more feelings of self-esteem; hope; and purpose. Setting targets and hitting them can create positive feelings of achievement
often interact with other people, which helps build and strengthen social relationships.
But learning in the workplace is not always associated with these positive wellbeing and productivity gains. Systematic reviews of training to develop personal resources, or training for stress management, found inconsistent results for wellbeing outcomes.
As a result, there is conflict in the evidence base on when, and what type, of learning can deliver wellbeing outcomes. This review examines the factors in different learning practices that lead to positive or negative wellbeing impacts, and those that show no effect on wellbeing. It also evaluates the quality of the current evidence available to help us make sense of conflicting data and what this means for practice.
I think, personally, if I don’t learn then I might miss something in life.
What are the key findings?
Findings are based on a systematic review of 41 published papers, from an initial sift of 4457 academic titles.
This includes findings from the UK and other similar developed economies, including studies which measured a change in wellbeing. Studies were chosen which could demonstrate the effects of training. For example, using randomised control trials, other comparator group, pre- and post-testing.
Where you see the following symbols it indicates:
We can be confident that the evidence can be used to inform decisions.
We have moderate confidence. Decision makers may wish to incorporate further information to inform decisions.
We have low confidence. Decision makers may wish to incorporate further information to inform decisions.
Wellbeing training is effective and a wide range of approaches work.
Training leaders to be effective and supportive
Training leaders to be effective and supportive in managing employees may enhance wellbeing for both managers and employees, when the most appropriate learning processes used and in the right context.
Professional training may also have positive wellbeing benefits for the learner, but the evidence base needs to be developed. We can be confident that there are no adverse effects.
CloseWhat are the key findings?
What can you do next?
1. Training employees to better cope is not the end of the story. Wellbeing is highly dependent on job quality: the tasks which staff do day-to-day and their experiences on the job. This includes our relationships with our colleagues or clients, and the ability to influence workload and decisions. Make any wellbeing training part of a larger programme of improving job quality.
2. The learning process is important.If you’re going to invest in e-learning, consider whether an interactive element will make it more effective. Test different approaches to delivering training, to understand which are most effective for your organisation.
3. Employers and training providers can help to broaden and improve the evidence base.If you are carrying out wellbeing training in any sector, or commissioning it, make sure it is being evaluated. You can also share your evaluations with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to inform future reviews.