17 Best Employee Training Methods & Techniques (2024)
In the ever-evolving landscape of the modern workplace, the significance of effective employee training has grown exponentially. As organizations navigate rapid technological advancements, shifting market demands, and dynamic skill requirements, the methods employed to educate and empower their workforce have become paramount.
In this article, we delve into a comprehensive exploration of diverse training methods, ranging from traditional classroom settings to cutting-edge technological innovations. By uncovering the strengths, limitations, and applications of each method, we aim to provide insights that empower organizations to design training programs that foster continuous learning, skill enhancement, and adaptability in an ever-changing professional landscape.
What Are Employee Training Methods?
Employee training methods refer to the various approaches and techniques used to educate and develop employees’ skills, knowledge, and competencies. These methods are designed to enhance employees’ job performance, job satisfaction, and overall effectiveness within an organization.
Employee training methods encompass a wide range of strategies, from traditional classroom-based training to modern technology-driven approaches. The choice of training methods depends on factors such as the nature of the content, the learning objectives, the target audience, available resources, and the organization’s goals.
What Are the Most Effective Employee Training Methods?
- On-the-Job training
- Instructor-led learning
- Role playing
- Simulation training
- Collaborative training
- Video training
- Job shadowing
- Case studies
- Peer-to-peer learning
- Spaced learning
- Mobile learning
- Blended learning
17 Best Employee Training Methods & Techniques in 2024
Here’s our collated list of different employee training methods for you to choose from.
eLearning or remote training has become one of the most recognized employee training methods, especially in the post-pandemic world where employees are remote and can’t attend in-person training sessions. eLearning enables employees to learn from the comfort of their homes, according to their individual learning styles and needs.
- Online courses combine interactive games, quizzes, activities, and gamification to keep employees engaged and improve learning retention.
- It gives employees the freedom to learn on the go with a smartphone.
- Some components of eLearning can be automated, lowering overhead and decreasing the instructor’s need to be involved in the training constantly.
- eLearning is scalable.
- eLearning does not require a physical classroom, which translates to reduced monetary spending.
- Employees can easily manage work with learning by taking the online courses at their preferred time.
- Learning Management Systems (LMS) provide enough data to efficiently calculate training ROI, allowing L&D teams to measure the success of different training programs.
- It takes a lot of time to design training materials and keep them updated.
- Employees might feel isolated with the lack of face-to-face interaction with instructors.
- Requires stable access to high-speed internet.
- Because employees are using a screen, it’s easy to get distracted by other apps or internet sites.
- No hands-on experience for sharpening practical skills.
There are many types of eLearning tools to assist L&D teams in creating, managing, updating, and facilitating effective training programs.
Here are a few resources to find the right L&D tools for your organization’s contextual learning needs:
2. On-the-Job training
On-the-job training enables active participation for employees by allowing them to learn in the flow of work. It’s one of the most effective employee training methods to teach a new software application or process via in-app and on-screen walkthroughs and guides that help users navigate different application features and tasks. The end goal of on-the-job training is faster user adoption of new tools or newly released features.
- On-the-job training leads to better results as it is easier for employees to learn while working on a project themselves.
- Training employees on the job saves money spent on costly off-site training programs.
- Employees pick up new skills without disrupting their daily routines and productivity.
- Facilitates personalized training by allowing employees to focus on the skills most relevant to their job.
- Can be less productive for employees who prefer face-to-face interaction or guidance.
TIP: Digital Adoption Platforms are an in-app guided learning tool with no-code options that can be deployed to quickly produce learn-by-doing content in multiple formats and cut the content creation time. Whatfix’s interactive on-the-job eLearning solution augments your training by helping employees learn while doing within the business application.
The Whatfix Digital Adoption Center of Excellence (COE) program is built for personalization. We work with customers to optimize training time by creating role-specific tasks.
3. Instructor-led learning
Instructor-led training is one of the most traditional and popular types of employee training techniques that mimics physical classroom spaces with an instructor present to lead the training session. This usually occurs using a lecture-style presentation with supporting visual components.
- Direct interaction with trainers and other employees prevents social isolation.
- Questions that arise during the course are brought up and responded to quickly and effectively.
- An effective method for complex topics that need personal guidance.
- Trainees cannot move at their own pace.
- Rented spaces, travel, and catering costs make it non-economical.
- Employees might find it boring and disengage easily.
- Limited data to calculate ROI.
- Not suitable for remote workers.
4. Role playing
This technique is when a learner and an instructor both act out their roles in potential workplace scenarios. This method is most effective for employees whose job roles include direct client or customer interaction, as it gives them some experience in handling difficult situations with customers (ie. think call center training.)
- Roleplaying for relatable scenarios boosts employee engagement.
- Encourages learners to utilize problem-solving and critical thinking skills in the moment.
- Prepares employees for difficult work scenarios.
- Improves customer interaction skills for employees.
- Requires more of an employee’s time, hurting productivity.
- Unnecessary for simple, straightforward topics.
- Not everyone is comfortable with role-playing scenarios; this can affect performance.
The coaching method involves an experienced professional – a supervisor, mentor, or veteran employee – who mentors or coaches an employee on specific job tasks and responsibilities. The method can be implemented both in-person or virtually, making it ideal for both in-office and remote workforces.
- Builds a relationship between employees.
- Allows employees to ask questions they may not feel comfortable asking in a classroom during instructor-led training.
- Employees learn by watching their mentor do things in real-time.
- Requires a significant amount of time investment from the supervisor/mentor.
- The relationship between the mentor and learner is a major deciding factor for a successful training session.
- Limited data to show how social learning works and calculate ROI.
6. Simulation training
Simulation training lays out different scenarios that allow employees to practice tasks that mimic the actual work of their specific job’s role. This is an ideal training method for employees working in high-risk or high-stakes fields such as pilots or doctors. Many times, simulation training is mandated by the state or federal government and it’s called compliance training.
- Builds skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking under pressure.
- Learners can make decisions in a risk-free environment and experience the consequences of different decisions.
- Offering trainee participation keeps learners engaged and focused.
- Allows learners to improve their skills by learning from their errors.
- Learners gain a better understanding of the consequences of their actions.
- Simulation exercises can be expensive.
- Simulation cannot always completely recreate real-life situations.
- Learning simulations require regular updates and maintenance based on the changing industry trends.
- Simulation training may provide a faulty sense of safety or employee’s downplaying simulations as a result of desensitization.
7. Collaborative training
Collaborative training is a methodology where employees share their knowledge and expertise, teaching and learning from one another at the same time. This technique helps enhance the overall training experience for employees by capitalizing on their skills, ideas, and knowledge.
- Creates a shared learning culture by building an atmosphere where team members are continually collaborating.
- When training is conducted in groups, it reduces time investment and costs.
- Promotes better knowledge retention.
- Slow participants cause the entire class to fall behind.
- It can be challenging to get everyone in one place, at the same time.
8. Video training
Video training is one of the most effective employee training methods to engage employees and deliver sophisticated learning experiences at a lower cost than traditional training. Creating training videos for employees enables them to digest information in an easy-to-understand format that is easier to retain, and that employees are able to go back and watch at any time.
- Investing in video training is a one-time cost spent on video production that can then be used until your processes are outdated.
- Videos offer better engagement for your team members, resulting in a higher likelihood of information retention.
- Enables employees to learn at times that are convenient to them, without hindering their workplace productivity.
- Videos provide better knowledge retention, employee engagement, and learner attention in comparison to basic text documents or traditional classroom seminars.
- Your video hosting providers give you access to different training metrics to track and measure training effectiveness.
- Video training does not offer the in-person level of human contact.
- Videos can be time-consuming when it comes to updating any information changes.
Cross-training involves teaching an employee hired to perform one job function the skills to perform new job functions. This allows them to offer support in the time of need instead of having to outsource work. Employees find cross-training beneficial for their personal growth as it makes them learn new skills to enhance their value within the organization, or switch to a role that they feel is more aligned with their career aspirations.
- Prepares employees to fill a vacant position temporarily in time of need.
- Equips the current skill set of employees with an enhanced set of skills.
- Teams become more collaborative by helping each other more actively.
- Ability to promote from within, reducing recruiting costs.
- For larger organizations, it takes dedicated time, effort, and resources to accomplish cross-training.
- Additional duties can be a serious distraction to most employees.
- Employees might end up feeling overworked.
10. Job shadowing
Job shadowing allows employees to follow and observe other professionals working in different job functions to gain insight into their work area. It is also implemented to allow lesser experienced individuals to work alongside experienced professionals to sharpen their skills from those who have already mastered them.
- Improves communications across different departments.
- Boosts continuous employee development and improvement.
- Allows employees to explore different potential career options.
- For the person being shadowed, it is an excellent way to share their experiences with other colleagues.
- It’s less time-intensive than an internship.
- First-hand information or knowledge provided to the observer.
- Builds strong relationships between new hires and tenured employees.
- In the beginning, the observer will need to shadow their mentor for a long length of time to fully understand the information.
- Before the observer starts learning about a specific job, they need to have some initial knowledge of the field – as well as the workplace behavior required of it.
- There might not be enough time for in-the-moment questions, meaning some important answers may be lost due to the fast-paced nature of job shadowing.
11. Case studies
With the case study method, employees are presented with a real or fictional complex situation to analyze and use as a reference for their solutions. While cases vary in complexity and detail, trainees should be given enough data and information to analyze the situation and come up with their solutions.
- Develops data analysis, decision-making, and problem-solving skills for employees.
- When employees constantly work on case studies, they find it less difficult to handle similar situations in real life.
- Increases employees’ capability of thinking outside the box.
- The case study method is inexpensive.
- It is a labor-intensive method of collecting data.
- Time-consuming for employees to analyze the data.
12. Peer-to-peer learning
Peer-to-peer learning is a mutual learning strategy that involves participants of the same level engaging in collaborative learning. This type of learning allows employees to work through new concepts and share ideas with their peers working on the same project. The opportunity to teach and be taught by one another is an effective way for organizations to grow stronger employees that work together productively.
- Encourages connectivity, collaboration, and teamwork.
- Increases employee engagement and productivity.
- Promotes knowledge-sharing culture within the organization.
- The peer-learning method is inexpensive.
- Time might be wasted on discussing irrelevant topics.
- Needs dedication and commitment from peers.
13. Spaced learning
Spaced learning breaks down long employee training programs into several sessions or modules of shorter durations, with spaced intervals in between. Parts of these sessions are reintroduced multiple times over the course of the next few days or weeks for learners to recall information, driving long-term knowledge retention.
- Overcomes the effects of the forgetting curve by providing learners with periodic review and reinforcement of previously learned knowledge.
- Incorporates interactive and real-world scenarios into your training programs.
- Prevents fatigue, reduces mental exhaustion, and keeps learners engaged with the content.
- Knowledge retrieval exercises can be challenging for some people.
Gamification in training incorporates gaming elements such as points and badges into training courses. By leveraging psychology, gamified training engages learners and makes them more willing to take on repetitive tasks despite the risk of failure. Gamification of training has been shown to increase employee performance and the adoption of new software.
- Gamification makes learners want to achieve the learning objectives of a course thereby increasing engagement and completion rates.
- As learners progress through the game, they receive instant feedback.
- Employees are provided with badges or rewards as they proceed through the game. This boosts employee motivation.
- The cost of additional resources to enhance the gameplay might go over budget.
15. Mobile learning
Mobile learning (or mLearning) refers to the process of online learning via a personal mobile device such as smartphones, tablets, or laptops. This training method empowers learning on the go, enabling users to access content whenever and wherever they want.
- Utilizes familiar technology, promoting higher engagement and comfort
- Mobile learning content comes in a variety of forms, such as podcasts, videos, quizzes, or eLearning courses that help increase engagement and boost learning retention.
- Facilitates just-in-time learning, addressing immediate performance needs.
- Fosters self-directed learning, empowering individuals to take control of their development.
- Limited effectiveness for complex or in-depth topics that may require a more immersive learning environment.
- Relies on stable internet connectivity and appropriate device capabilities, potentially excluding some learners.
16. Blended learning
Blended learning combines the best of two training environments – traditional face-to-face learning and eLearning – to meet the evolving needs of new-age learners.
- Combines the strengths of various methods, catering to diverse learning styles and preferences.
- Provides flexibility by allowing both in-person interactions and self-paced online learning.
- Offers a well-rounded learning experience that combines theoretical knowledge with practical application.
- Maximizes engagement through a variety of activities, increasing learner motivation.
- Requires effective time management skills to balance both in-person sessions and self-paced online learning.
Microlearning is an approach to learning new knowledge that breaks learning content into small, bite-sized information modules. Smaller learning sessions provide all information necessary for learners to achieve a specific training objective in a short window of time, making microlearning valuable in business contexts.
- Enhances knowledge retention by delivering information in short, focused bursts.
- Fits well into busy schedules, allowing learners to access content quickly during spare moments.
- Facilitates continuous learning by promoting frequent engagement with small, manageable units of information.
- Accommodates various learning styles through the use of multimedia elements and interactive formats.
- Supports just-in-time learning, providing immediate solutions to specific challenges or questions.
- Might lack depth for complex topics that require comprehensive understanding.
- Could lead to fragmented learning experiences if not properly organized and integrated.
- May not suit all learning preferences, as some individuals might prefer more comprehensive and in-depth learning approaches.
Factors to Consider While Choosing the Right Training Method
Here are a few factors to consider while choosing the right training method for your employees.
1. Learning objectives and content
The learning objectives and content of the training are fundamental in determining the appropriate training methods. Different methods excel at achieving certain types of objectives.
For instance, if the training aims to teach technical skills, hands-on methods such as simulations or on-the-job training might be effective. On the other hand, for theoretical concepts, eLearning or instructor-led sessions work well. The content’s complexity, depth, and practicality influence which method aligns best with the desired learning outcomes.
2. Learner preferences
Understanding the preferences of their learners is vital for L&D managers. People have different learning styles, some respond better to visual content, while others prefer interactive discussions.
Gathering information about how your learners like to learn guides you in selecting a method that resonates with them. Catering to your learners’ preferences enhances engagement, motivation, and the effectiveness of the training.
3. Accessibility and availability
Consider the logistics of training, including where and when it will take place. If your workforce is geographically dispersed, virtual methods might be more suitable. Accessibility is also crucial—can employees easily access the training content? Ensure that the chosen method aligns with participants’ availability and accommodates their schedules, especially for remote or shift-based workers.
4. Costs and resources
Different training methods come with varying costs in terms of both money and resources. Some methods, like eLearning or mobile learning, might require investments in technology and content development. Others, like instructor-led training, might involve hiring trainers and renting physical spaces. Assess your organization’s budget and resource availability to choose a method that aligns with your financial capabilities.
In an era defined by rapid technological advancements and the ever-growing need for skill agility, the integration of Digital Adoption Platforms (DAPs) marks a transformative shift in the landscape of employee training. As organizations strive to empower their workforce with the skills and knowledge required to navigate complex digital environments, DAPs emerge as catalysts of success. By seamlessly guiding employees through software applications, offering personalized learning experiences, and providing insightful analytics, DAPs not only bridge the gap between training and application but also foster a culture of continuous learning and growth.
As we conclude this exploration into the realm of employee training methods, the incorporation of DAPs stands as a resounding affirmation that innovation in training methods can pave the way for empowered, efficient, and adaptive workforces, equipped to thrive in the dynamic landscapes of today and tomorrow.