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Digital Transformation and Digital Adoption

16 types of employee training methods

16 types of employee training methods

Every business in the world can benefit from training its employees. 

Even global corporations with billion-dollar revenues (like Amazon) who can hire the very best, and most qualified, talent available in the market still provide training for employees.

Alt-Text: The Different Types of Employee Training Methods.

The importance of training your employees


As humans, there’s always something we don’t know. 

It’s what drives our society, and progression, as a race. Maybe there’s a new skill we can pick up, a “life hack” that can make our day more efficient, or an updated system we can grow more familiar with. 

Someone can be at the very top of their career – with the job title to match – and extensive experience in their line of work… yet there will always be situations where they just don’t know what to do. 

Providing training for employees, therefore, is what helps your business deal with the unknown. 

When you facilitate personal and professional growth, you equip your staff with the tools they need to adapt to the ever-evolving climate. 

The different types of employee training

Before you can implement a learning and development strategy, you need to understand one basic concept…

Everyone has a different learning style.

Where one person might be able to retain information just by reading it, another might need to take their own notes, and then go over them again and again. Most people, and the majority of your employees, will fall into one of 3 categories:

  • Visual Learner 
  • Auditory Learner
  • Kinesthetic Learner

In an ideal world, you’d be able to adapt every employee’s training journey to best suit them. However, this isn’t always practical. It’s expensive, hard to maintain, and can result in chaos.

That’s why many businesses, instead, choose to incorporate the different types of employee training into their business into their overall plan – allowing all learners to have equal growth opportunities.

Providing training for employees is important to business development.

16 types of employee training methods

Successful businesses offer a variety of training for their employees, implementing multiple strategies across their corporation. 

1. Independent study

Some of us do our best work when we’re left to our own devices. Do you?

When an employer organizes independent study, they facilitate an employee to seize control of their career path. That person becomes responsible for how far and how fast they advance in your company, which can be a motivating system that ensures high levels of engagement. All you have to do is:

  1. Set a goal.
  2. Plan the tasks.
  3. Measure progress.

Be mindful, though, of compensating the time they commit to studying outside of work, and, where possible, compensate their efforts.

2. Group work

On the other hand, some employees might need their colleagues to challenge and motivate them. 

They might not see the benefit of doing extra work at home, so their training needs to be facilitated during work hours. This might require a presentation provided by an expert, and then the provision of a challenge the team needs to overcome.

When learning with their colleagues, individuals might work harder as they don’t want to let anyone down. Therefore, group work is a multi-benefited type of employee training.

3. Classroom 

Go back ten, twenty, or fifty years. Imagine yourself back at your old desk, putting your hand up to ask questions when your teacher said something you didn’t understand.  

You’d write down notes, study diagrams, and possibly work in pairs to complete tasks. 

Each of these interactions was designed to enhance your learning experience and give you the best possible chance of retaining new information. The same environment can be created for adults, teaching cooperation whilst also encouraging free-thinking.

4. Lectures

There’s a reason TED Talks are so popular. 

Not only can they be incredibly interesting, but they are a fascinating insight into the minds of your industry’s thought leaders – and lectures such as these can be used to teach your staff about a whole host of interesting topics. 

Either way, this isn’t a method for learning that can be ignored.

5. Coaching/Mentorships

For a unique training experience that provides ongoing support to your staff members, you should definitely consider organizing 1:1s from coaches and mentors

These are particularly useful for guiding employees who have specific career goals they want to achieve, and, overall, are an effective type of employee training that allows you to personalize learning experiences.

6. Interactive 

Did you feel at home in an exam hall, or were you much better suited when you were getting your hands mucky out in the real world, putting your knowledge into practice? 

Interactive learning usually combines the information you learn in the classroom with the opportunity to participate in, for example, trial shifts, and goes beyond simple textbook learning. A real-world example of this includes apprenticeships, where studying is completed alongside work experience.

7. Simulations

In situations where it might be dangerous to ask a (currently) unqualified employee to complete a task, it might be best to use simulations – facilitating their need to apply their knowledge in real-life situations, without putting their livelihood at risk. 

One example of this is used daily in the UK, where learner drivers use a digital platform to track their reaction times before they are allowed to take their driving test. This is much safer for everyone involved and uses technology to your advantage.

8. Role playing

Similar to this, roleplaying is a budget-friendly way to conduct training for employees. You can create a simple scenario to test their knowledge and encourage them to put it into practice. 

“You are working a shift in the store with two other colleagues. The fire alarm goes off, and you can smell smoke. You know where the nearest fire exits are, so you confidently point customers in the right direction. As you follow, you notice someone in a wheelchair, who would not be able to use the steps at each exit. The lift is blocked by flames. What should you do?”

In this scenario, the employee might have been taught that, at the top of the steps, there’s a phone with a direct helpline to the local fire station. Their best bet would be to help the customer to move behind the fire doors at the back of the store, whilst their colleague reports their location as soon as possible. 

9. Case studies

Alternatively, you could encourage your employee to look through past examples of such situations, so they can gain insight into what others would decide to do. This allows them to view the world from different perspectives and can help expand their mind and develop new skills. 

Rather than rushing to the first solution they come up with, they might think through other possibilities – helping them become a better decision maker.

10. On-the-job training

When it is possible, you should always create the opportunity for an employee to learn on the job and further develop their skills. Why? Because it’s considered one of the best ways to provide training for employees.

Not only does this allow them to encounter real-life scenarios, but it’s a good way to form habits whilst under the guidance of yourself or another member of the leadership team.

11. Shadowing

Alternatively, rather than taking a staff member through each step manually, you can simply have them “shadow” another colleague of theirs and learn different processes and approaches. This way, they can increase their efficiency and further build relationships with their team.

12. Cross-training

Sometimes, learning how to do just one job isn’t enough. 

If you have a suspicion that certain roles may occasionally need to cover for each other, cross-training can involve both employees and give them the chance to learn each other’s roles. Then, if one staff member is off sick, another can step up to the plate. 

This is a particularly useful type of employee training method for smaller businesses that rely on the presence of each of their staff members in order to function.

13. Quizzes and questionnaires

Gamification can make any element of learning fun

You could be conducting training for the most boring part of your company, but, when your employee gets challenged with a quiz or questionnaire that allows them to compete against your colleagues, suddenly they are excited to learn more. 

Questionnaires are a great employee training method and can be included as a small part of your overall digital learning and development strategy.

14. Videos

What would you rather do? 

  1. Spend an hour reading a block of text with no images?
  2. Watch a 30-minute video with visuals, which explains a topic in a way you’d understand? 

Many of us would prefer to go for the second option, because it’s usually more engaging – meaning we learn and retain more information. 

Videos can be a great tool for any employer who finds themselves repeating the same things over and over again, or anyone who recognizes their current training process needs an update.

15. eLearning

But, rather than just using videos, you can take advantage of a whole host of eLearning opportunities – combining quizzes and questionnaires, digital case studies, videos, and more. 

As one of the top employee training methods, eLearning typically caters to all employees and is extremely accessible in today’s digital world. All you need is a computer, the applications you need to run each course, and, usually, an adoption platform.

16. Digital Adoption Platforms

Specifically designed to overlay software, Digital Adoption Platforms provide real-time guidance to users who need to learn software systems They automate the training process so that you aren’t wasting the time and attention of your human resources, whilst still offering support to your employees as they learn.

All the types of employee training methods: a helpful guide by Userlane.

The types of employee training methods – FAQs

There are so many options for any employer wanting to help their employees learn new skills or develop their knowledge, but the best approach would be a combination of multiple different types of employee training. 

If you still have questions about which would work best for your firm, these FAQs might be of use – or look at our guide on training techniques.

  • What is the most common type of employee training?
    Most forms of instructor-led learning are widely used across organizations. This includes classroom-style training, lectures, mentorships, and even job shadowing. 
  • What is the best method for employee training?
    Today, there is no other option more suitable for companies than eLearning. It provides a whole host of resources that can be digested in different forms.
  • How do you successfully implement employee training?
    First, set training goals for your employees. Then, above all else, offer support to your staff members as they learn and answer any questions they may have.

Interactive Digital Learning Support from Userlane

Any form of digital training can be supported by Userlane. 

The last thing you want to do is to rely on a piece of software to provide video courses and quizzes, only, an employee can’t figure out what buttons to click to access each resource.

They get lost, the process gets delayed, and, worse… frustrations start to rise – making them more reluctant to continue their training.

It kills their motivation and dissuades them from completing a course. Not ideal.

To combat this with our Digital Adoption Platforms, request a demonstration today.

New to Userlane? Take a step in your software adoption journey and join the pool of our happy customers.
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About the author:
The Userlane team brings you digital adoption insights, product updates, and plenty of onboarding and engagement advice for user-centric businesses.