Use this guide to help you select the classes, activities, tools, and techniques you’ll use to train your staff. First, look at the different kinds of training methods used by employers and organizations.
- Classroom or instructor-based learning is the classic model of education. An instructor leads a group and teaches concepts using traditional classroom implements. This can involve the use of lectures; group work, video, and audio media, textbooks, paperwork, etc.
- Hands-on learning is all about practical application of concepts. Less talk, more action. For a lot of people (over half, according to recent research), applied learning is the best route to take. This type of learning course usually involves having the employee work side-by-side with an expert or group of experts. For certain types of learners, however, this kind of instruction can be disconcerting and ineffective. Some people need to have some kind of conceptual understanding established before jumping into something.
- Computer-based learning, often called e-learning, can be a fantastic way to bring training programs to your staff’s fingertips. Computer training programs offer a level of flexibility that in-person classes may not. Employees can use software to train employees with tests, quizzes, and other interactive media. Digital learning tools are often best used as a supplement or companion to other types of instructional methods.
- Blended learning combines any or all of these methods. Integrated training can be the most effective way to implement change across a large organization, or to cater to a wide variety of learning styles within your company.
- Coaching and mentoring involves training through strong connections with organizational leaders. Pairing staff with mentors who can help guide them is often a very effective way to enhance existing training methods and to maximize the potential of the individuals in your organization.
Understanding the principles of adult learning
To choose the best types of training and activities for your organization, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with two important facts about the way adults learn.
- Adult learners are purpose driven. Adults need to know why they’re learning. They want to know that there’s a reason behind their efforts, or a particular outcome to be had at the end. Adult learners do best when they understand the value in what they’re being asked to do.
- Adults are self-motivated. Once an adult learner is convinced that a training program has value for them, they tend to be pretty motivated to stick with it. Adult students usually do better working toward a goal than they do working under threat of consequence. Generally speaking, it’s better to use positive reinforcement with grown-ups than it is to take a disciplinary tact