Career Development

The 8 Best Types of Training Methods for Your Employees

February 22, 2021

Employees that are effectively trained are happier and more productive, so it's important to take care when considering not only the material that needs to be taught but the method for teaching it. In this article, we'll explain why choosing a training method is important, and explore the best types of training methods for employees based on the material being taught.

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Why is choosing a training method important?

Training is critical in employee onboarding as well as employee retention. When a new employee joins the team, they are typically excited and eager to learn all there is to know about the company. Existing staff members also need training to learn and develop skills. In either situation, the method is just as important as the material.

Advances in technology have given employers and human resources representatives more development training methods than ever. Whether your company is exploring newer training methods or clinging to the more traditional mediums, it's important to keep in mind that everyone learns differently. In fact, there are three major learning styles:

  • Visual: Learning by seeing or watching
  • Auditory: Learning by hearing information
  • Kinaesthetic: Learning through action, or by doing

Related: What Are the Different Types of Workplace Training?

What are the different types of training methods?

The best training methods target all three learning styles, but it's also important to get to know what works best for your learners, and tailor the material to them. Here is a list of the eight most effective employee training methods:

  1. Technology-based learning
  2. Simulators
  3. On-the-job training
  4. Coaching/mentoring
  5. Instructor-led training
  6. Roleplaying
  7. Films and videos
  8. Case studies

1. Technology-based learning

With the development of technology, computerized training is becoming more prevalent. It's sometimes referred to as computer-based training (CBT) or e-learning, but it essentially refers to the same thing with one key difference: e-learning is hosted completely online, while computer-based training encompasses any kind of training that takes place on the computer.

An important benefit of technology-based learning is that it allows trainees to work through the material at their own pace, and removes the need for an in-person facilitator. This type of training often mimics traditional classroom-style teaching by providing a voiceover with visuals that support the content. Oftentimes, resources such as videos and additional reading accompany the material to aid in the training process.

Another major advantage of technology-based learning is its scalability. Whether it's five or 500 people, any number of individuals can take CBT courses at one time and at their own pace. Some learners may need more time to thoroughly work their way through the material, while others may want to move onto more advanced curriculum. In either situation, CBT benefits the learner.

Computer-based training does come with its challenges too. One major challenge is the fact that trainees are left unmonitored. Because CBT courses are unmonitored, it's difficult to know whether your employees are engaging with the material. A wonderful way to ensure that trainees are engaged is to incorporate quizzes and interactive modules into the digital classroom. This will ensure that they are paying attention, as well as inform you about which concepts were communicated effectively.

2. Simulators

Simulations are an effective training technique for fields that require a specific set of skills for operating complex machinery, such as in the medical or aviation industries. Successful simulations reflect actual work situations, and allow trainees to solve issues that they will likely face on the job.

3. On-the-job training

On-the-job or hands-on training jumps straight to the practical skills necessary for the job. New hires begin working immediately with this training method. In some cases, it may be beneficial to incorporate an employee shadowing component. This will allow new hires to gain a little insight into the context and job requirements before trying it on their own.

Related: What is On-the-Job Training?

4. Coaching/mentoring

Though a structured curriculum has its place in training, there are many benefits to mentorship and coaching. Implementing a mentorship program at your company, along with other training methods, creates employee development opportunities as well as develops relationships that help new employees feel welcomed and supported.

Mentorship is invaluable, but it does come with its challenges. Your best employees will be asked to take time away from their work to train and grow newer staff members. Though it proves to be beneficial in the end, it will require a little sacrifice.

Related: Creating a Workplace Mentoring Program: Key Steps and Tips

5. Instructor-led training

Classroom-style training is the most traditional and popular training method for employees. This method mimics other classrooms in that an instructor prepares and leads the experience, usually using a lecture-style presentation with a visual component.

This style of training has many benefits, one of which being that trainees can interact with their trainer. Questions are asked that might otherwise go unaddressed in other training methods. It also allows for relationship building between the trainer and the trainee as well as among the employees that are going through the training together.

A major challenge for instructor-led training is the inability to scale it. If the classroom is too large, it can inhibit instructors from interacting one-on-one with the students. Additionally, in-person monitoring is required throughout the entire training. Trainees are unable to move at their own pace in this environment.

It's important to keep energy high if you're using this training method. Allow students opportunities to take breaks and move around, and encourage engagement to avoid trainees from losing interest.

6. Roleplaying

This technique is usually executed with a trainee and a facilitator (or trainer), where each is allowed to act out different potential work scenarios. This method is most effective in industries that require client or customer interaction, as it allows employees to practice handling difficult situations.

7. Films and videos

Video has quickly gained popularity as an effective training technique. It aids companies in training employees more quickly and efficiently. Many employees prefer it to reading materials. There are several approaches to training videos. Some companies choose one approach depending on the material, while others combine a few approaches into one video seamlessly. The approaches include:

  • Animation: This style allows complex topics to be explained through visual illustrations. If a topic is difficult to record, animation is probably the best method.

  • Live action: Live action videos are more demonstrative and are great for showing appropriate and inappropriate interactions through role-play scenes.

  • To-camera: This approach features a narrator that is speaking directly to the viewer. Typically, the narrator is communicating the information through a more lecture-style format.

  • Screen recorded: This method features a recording of things happening on the computer screen. It's perfect for showing employees how to use new digital tools through a step-by-step process.

Videos can make difficult material more interactive, engaging and demonstrative. Additionally, like computer-based training, the material is easily accessible. An in-person facilitator is unnecessary and employees can revisit the information whenever they need.

Though making videos is relatively affordable, it can be time-consuming. It may be beneficial to partner with a training video agency to save yourself valuable time and frustration.

8. Case studies

When you're hoping to develop analytical and problem-solving skills, case studies could be the best training technique. Trainees are given scenarios, either real or imagined, that depict common work situations. Either independently or in a group, the employees are then asked to analyze the case and come up with ideal solutions and scenarios.

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