Employee training is a significant part of an organization’s growth and success. A well-trained workforce is more productive and efficient at their roles, enabling them to contribute at a high level to their organization. With the importance of effective employee training being obvious, the next step is to choose the right employee training methods that are ideal for your overall organization, as well as individual team members. Different types of employee training methods come with different benefits, challenges, and goals.

There are different learning styles for different people – some are visual learners, some need hands-on experience, some require an instructor to guide them, etc. To find an employee training method that works best for your workforce, L&D teams need to understand their employees’ learning style – and consider other affecting factors such as their training objectives, goals, cost, and timeline. 

Identifying the best training method for your employees requires a lot of detailed thought and planning, which can be a bit overwhelming for the L&D teams – especially as the cost of employee training is so high.​​

To give you a head start, this article will give you a list of different employee training methods to understand and choose from.

11 Best Employee Training Methods & Techniques in 2021

Here’s our collated list of different employee training methods for you to understand and choose from.

1. eLearning

eLearning (or online 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 in the comfort of their homes, according to their individual learning styles and needs. 

Pros

  • Online courses combine interactive games, quizzes, activities, and gamification to keep employees engaged and improve knowledge retention.
  • It gives employees the freedom to learn on the go with a smartphone. 
  • Some components of e-learning 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 the return on training investment, allowing L&D teams to measure the success of different training programs.

Cons

  • Time-consuming to keep training content up-to-date and requires regular maintenance. 
  • 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 create, manage, update, and facilitate their online training programs. Here are a few resources to find the right tools for your organization’s 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 through different features and tasks within an application. The end goal of on-the-job-training is faster user adoption of new tools or newly released features.

Pros

  • 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.

Digital Adoption Platforms with no-code options can be deployed to produce learn-by-doing content in multiple formats quickly 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.

Cons

  • Can be less productive for employees who prefer face-to-face interaction or guidance.
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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.

Pros 

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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. Roleplaying

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.)

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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.

5. Coaching

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 coaching method can be implemented both in-person or virtually, making it ideal for both in-office and remote workforces.

Pros 

  • Creates a relationship between employees that continues after training is complete. 
  • 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.

Cons

  • 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. Simulation training can be a necessary method for employees working in high-risk or high-stakes fields such as pilots or doctors. Many times, simulation training is required by the state or federal government called compliance training.

Pros

  • 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 the 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, and the importance of reducing mistakes.

Cons

  • Simulation exercises can be expensive.
  • Simulation is not always able to 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. Group Activities

Group activity training techniques allow multiple employees to train at once, in an environment that is unique to their business department or team function. These discussions and activities can be instructor-led or facilitated by online prompts, depending on the company’s requirements and the participating groups.

Pros

  • Social factors influence learning that result in greater retention.
  • When training is conducted in groups, it reduces time investment and costs.
  • Teams give each other input and feedback that increases learning opportunities.

Cons

  • Slow participants cause the entire class to fall behind.
  • It can be challenging to get everyone in one place, at the same time.
  • Entire teams will be pulled off work at once.

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 video 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.

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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.

9. Cross-Training

Cross-training involves teaching an employee hired to perform one job function the skills to perform new job functions. This allows your employees 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. 

Pros

  • 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.
  • More ability to promote from within, reducing recruiting costs.

Cons

  • 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. Job shadowing is also implemented to allow lesser experienced individuals to work alongside experienced professionals to sharpen their skills from those who have already master them.

Pros

  • Improves communications across different departments.
  • Boosts continuous development and improvement for employees.
  • Allows employees to explore different potential career options for themselves.
  • 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.

Cons

  • 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

Last on our employee training methods list is the case study training method. With this 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. 

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • It is a labor-intensive method of collecting data.
  • Time-consuming for employees to analyze the data.
Choosing the best employee training methods for your organization

When it comes to choosing the ideal employee training methods, an organization’s culture, size, employees’ learning preferences, remote or office-based environment, and such other factors influence the choices heavily. We hope that our collated list of different employee training methods gives you some clarity and helps you choose the ideal method for your company. Depending on your company requirements and learner needs, feel free to either stick to one particular approach for all employees or opt for more than one for different employee groups.

Make Employee Training Effortless with Whatfix

Whatfix’s interactive on-the-job eLearning solution augments your training by helping employees in learning while doing, within the business application.

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