The workplace we knew a few years ago has changed and is continuing to do so. Workplace training is no different, and the changes caused by the pandemic combined with the constantly evolving technological environment have seen workplace training evolve.
Deciding what approach to take to training can be intimidating, but the best training programs consist of a variety of delivery formats. Productive training programs are long-term strategies that are constantly assessed and updated, and a familiarity with the different formats of training and their benefits is crucial knowledge.
This article explores some of the most popular ways of training your employees. When selecting a format, it’s important to consider factors such as what is the best approach for the group of learners who need development, and what type of approach is best suited to the subject matter?
- On-the-job training
On-the-job training has been around for a long time, and it does exactly what it says on the tin. This type of training refers to a new hire or transfer getting straight into the job and learning as they go. It may involve shadowing a more experienced individual or being set a variety of tasks in a ‘safe’ environment. This type of training is most useful in practical jobs, where the individual can pick things up as they go.
- On-the-job training promotes teamwork by involving new hires with their colleagues immediately.
- It saves time.
- For many, we learn as we go, and encouraging the learner to get stuck in immediately encourages them to shake off any nerves and begin learning.
Common theory is that the majority of us ‘learn from doing’ and that on-the-job training is one of the most consistent methods of development for all. After all, if you repeat actions day in, day out, it is likely to stick with you. Although this is the case, it’s important to also point out that this method shouldn’t be the only learning approach, as it should be supported by more structured learning outside of the scope of working while doing. We’ll explore this more here.
- Instructor-led classroom training.
Perhaps the most traditional type of training, classroom training involves a group of learners in a classroom setting being trained by a subject matter expert or professional trainer. This may be held in a lecture-style room in which the content is presented alongside a visual element, but it is also carried out in smaller seminar-style classes which are more interactive and include discussions, workshops and activities related to the learning topic.
This type of training has been around for a long time and maintains its relevance due to its tried and tested effectiveness. This interactive environment offers a range of benefits.
- Individuals can share ideas with each other.
- Ideas can be bounced off the trainer in real-time.
- Being able to ask questions and raise concerns helps learners leave a classroom session feeling satisfied with what they have learnt and with fewer if any, questions.
- Teaching styles can be modified to suit the learners.
If the topic of training involves a workplace practice that involves collaboration or communication, this type of training can be beneficial. Teams learning new skills together will help them translate them into practice together.
Hybrid or online workplaces need not dismiss classroom training as unattainable for them. Classroom training can be carried out in a synchronous virtual classroom. Whilst this may place some limits on the ease of communication, it still allows for collaboration. Indeed, virtual training led by an instructor has become much more commonplace, since the Covid pandemic. Being forced into the virtual approach has wakened many to the benefits of virtual delivery.
E-learning has seen enormous growth in popularity over recent years. and it is now the most favoured type of training for a lot of organisations.
The unique benefits of e-learning are endless, and many of our previous blog posts explore this in greater detail, for example, this post.
- Like online classrooms, e-learning can be carried out anywhere.
- Uniquely, however, it can be carried out at any time. Employees can be set the task of completing a training course by a set deadline, allowing them to choose when is best to complete it.
- It can be repeated without any change or lapse in content.
- Recording and tracking of learning is a lot simpler, with this often being built into the learning management system.
One of the highlights of e-learning is the assurance that every single employee is receiving the same training. Whilst instructor-led classes are great, they often take tangents with discussions and questions, and whilst this can be beneficial for a small team when a larger set of employees is required to attend classroom sessions, different groups may have a different experience. E-learning is significantly more scalable than other types of learning.
E-learning is great for compliance courses, for example, where it is a legal requirement that all employees are delivered specific information. Likewise, it is incredibly useful for organisations with a remote workforce. It also offers a unique library of content for employees. As upskilling becomes an increasingly valuable opportunity for professionals, businesses can offer them access to a range of e-learning courses that can be completed in their own time.
A final highlight of e-learning is the range of content types that can be included. E-learning courses can incorporate simulations and games, videos, case studies and quizzes, to name a few. Making it an extremely versatile tool for a range of training topics.
Coaching is a training method that often happens without structure. Usually as part of on-the-job training, there may be someone who has performed the job for some time, who encourages the learner by prompting them with questions to improve their skills. While some people might not consider this unstructured approach to be true coaching, it is a naturally occurring method that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Most people’s experience of coaching will be focused on the sporting world, where you may have a top professional in the sport, who is coached by someone who perhaps hasn’t had the same success. This is a good analogy, as it demonstrates that you do not have to be better than the person you are coaching, in order to be able to support their development. Coaching is about asking good questions and helping a learner come to their own conclusions to help them improve.
Some of the benefits of coaching are…
- Can be used ‘just in time’ to resolve learning issues as they occur.
- The emphasis for learning is on the person being coached.
- Clear goals can be set, with obvious achievements.
- It can be a cost-effective training methodology with the right people.
Coaching has been adopted by many organisations, as a standard part of their culture. It’s seen as a tool that most leaders should have, so that they can develop members of their team and lead them to success. It can be a simple way to ensure development is consistent.
Learning comes in many formats, and whilst mentoring often does not directly fall under the umbrella of training, it is equally valuable as a learning and development tool.
Mentoring, or the process of guiding another person to support their personal development offers a unique set of benefits.
- Learners can benefit from the experience of others.
- Mentoring allows individuals to be shaped to suit the specific needs of the organisation, as their development process is witnessed by a more experienced individual.
- Mentoring offers opportunities for regular questioning and unique advice.
- Mentors build a relationship with mentees, meaning they can understand their approach to learning and read visual and social cues to shape the learning to suit the learner.
- Develops communication skills.
- Helps mentees build a network.
Mentoring is a great development tool for when someone has just been promoted and requires a personalised approach to training in their new position. Mentoring can also be utilised to elevate a team of individuals who would benefit from the influence of a more experienced individuals who have been where they have.
In the end, all forms of training can be effective and productive and lead to positive changes. What matters is how and when they are used. Knowing the benefits of different training approaches helps you to recognise which is most useful in any given situation. We favour a blended approach to learning, where a method is selected based on the specific needs of the audience and learning topic. This can be supported by different forms of learning where needed, to help embed the key points and ensure it is integrated into the learner’s skillset.
Trainer Bubble offers an extensive range of training resources across a range of topics, including communication training, business development, leadership training and compliance. Explore what we can offer your business here.
Or for more information, and to discuss the learning needs of your business, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.