he need to effectively train, upskill and reskill employees has never been more demanding for companies around the world. Incredible new technologies are constantly emerging and changing the skills businesses need to stay competitive. Top management consulting firms such as Gartner and McKinsey & Co consistently predict that the skills needed for a job today will be irrelevant in just five to ten years.
If you’re looking to upskill or reskill your employees, it’s important to explore different methods for training employees to understand the best approach for your company. We’ve assessed the most effective training methods for employees and outlined their advantages and disadvantages to help you make the right decisions.
Digital learning, or eLearning (also spelled e-learning, or e learning) is one of the most effective training methods for employees. eLearning is training that is web-based, usually in the form of modules or courses. eLearning courses are created using an authoring tool like HowToo, and then shared with employees via a learning platform, such as a Learning Management System.
Employees receive notifications that they have been allocated a course to complete. They can then log into the learning platform to launch the course. Courses typically include moving through a sequence of pages that involve text and images, as well as interactive elements such as videos, audio, questions, games and even simulations. They may conclude with an assessment to check understanding.
eLearning offers the most flexible, scalable and consistent learning experiences for employees. Once a course has been created, it can be repeatedly shared to employees anywhere around the world, delivering the same experience every time. Employees can complete their courses on their personal devices, at home, in the office or even in the field, and at a time that works for them. eLearning is also one of the most cost effective training methods for employees.
eLearning courses can suffer from poor design, that may result in boring or overwhelming experiences. Some employees who particularly thrive on social learning may struggle with long courses. Web-based training platforms may also require a constant internet connection.
Instructor-led training is also sometimes referred to as classroom-based training, as it typically involves one or two instructors delivering face-to-face learning in a single room. It is one of the oldest and most common training methods for employees.
Instructor-led training can involve lectures, activities, worksheets, discussions and quizzes.
Instructors may also lead learners in other styles of training such as role-playing.
Dynamic and skilled instructors can be highly engaging for learners. Instructors can also react to the progression of the class, such as recognising misunderstandings that may arise in the cohort and adapting to correct them. Instructors may also be able to recognise individuals that need more or less assistance.
Instructor-led training lacks flexibility, as it requires many people to be available at the same time, in the same place. This can also be very expensive for companies, who may need to cover travel costs as well as a salary for their instructors.
In recent years, some instructor-led training has moved to online webinar and video conference formats to reduce this burden. Instructor-led training also heavily relies on the skills of the instructor, and many programs fall apart if the primary instructor leaves the organisation.
Experiential learning refers to learning through experience. This is one of the most common methods of training for employees as it occurs constantly as employees go about their jobs. Employees can learn from all aspects of their jobs, from undertaking projects to conversations with colleagues. Experiential learning also includes more formal programs such as job shadowing and role rotations.
Companies can create more productive and effective experiential learning experiences for employees by encouraging reflective practices such as project retrospectives, and providing more structure through goal-setting and check-ins.
Experiential training is essentially free, as it occurs naturally as employees go about their jobs. It can also provide some of the strongest and clearest learning moments for employees as they experience failures and successes.
Without clear guidance, employees may draw the wrong conclusions from their experiences. Experiential learning can also be very uneven between employees who are exposed to different experiences, and have different levels of motivation.
Mentoring involves a relationship between two people, with the more experienced person (the mentor) offering wisdom, advice and a listening ear to the less experienced person (the mentee). Mentoring can be structured with regularly scheduled meetings, but can also contain less formal elements such as the occasional quick question via email.
Mentoring can be a highly rewarding experience for both people who can greatly enjoy the experience. Mentoring often focuses on less tangible skills that may be difficult to foster formally, such as decision making, problem solving and interpersonal skills.
Mentoring relies heavily upon the strength of the relationship between the two individuals. Misaligned expectations between the parties can result in frustration and fracturing of the relationship. Mentors can often fall prey to being too quick to offer advice when listening is more important.
Simulations are one of the least common training methods for employees. They involve simulating a real situation and requiring employees to act out a response to their environment. Simulations are often used for training employees on complex equipment that require a very low margin for errors, such as flying airplanes. Simulations can also refer to versions of software that guide the user to conduct certain actions without impacting real files. Simulations are also increasingly being used for training employees in basic equipment and social situations using Virtual Reality technology.
Simulations are one of the most effective training methods for employees. Simulations allow employees to safely explore and practice situations in which mistakes might be highly dangerous or expensive in real-life.
Simulations can be one of the most expensive methods of training employees, as they are typically difficult to design and produce. Simulations often require highly specialised equipment. Because of this, they can be very challenging for companies to scale across their workforce.
Choosing the right training methods
All training methods for employees have different advantages and disadvantages. As a result, many companies employ a blend of methods to create an effective training program for their teams. These methods often reflect the size of the company, available budget and industry.
Whatever methods your company chooses, it’s critical to develop high-quality training, as any method can fail if it is poorly executed. This is why HowToo built their learning platform on research-based learning science principles, with an intuitive, easy-to-use interface, allowing anyone to create amazing digital learning experiences without the need for specialised expertise.
Best of all, it’s completely free to explore on our Starter plan, right now!