Top Training Techniques for Employees

Discover innovative workplace training methods that are revolutionizing how companies develop talent and enhance employee skills so that you can foster a more capable and adaptable workforce.
Ben Kill, Chartered MCIPD

  • Effective training leverages both traditional classroom settings and innovative technological tools, catering to different learning preferences and organizational needs.

  • Methods such as eLearning, on-the-job training, instructor-led sessions, and role-playing offer unique benefits and challenges, allowing organizations to tailor their training programs to enhance job performance and employee satisfaction.

  • There is no "one-size-fits-all" approach to training. In most cases, some combination of the most popular employee training methods will be required.

As businesses navigate through technological advancements, shifting market demands, and dynamic skill requirements, educating and empowering employees becomes more and more crucial. But what methods of training are most effective? Moreover, which types of employee training approaches produce the best results?

 In this article, we’ll explore a variety of training methods—from traditional classroom settings to innovative technological tools – to determine which learning method is best for which situation.
By examining each approach's strengths, limitations, and applications, we aim to provide valuable insights that help organizations design training ideas for employees that promote continuous learning, skill enhancement, and adaptability.

What Are Methods of Employee Training?

Employee training methods encompass a range of strategies used to develop employees skills, knowledge, and competencies. These techniques are crucial for enhancing job performance, satisfaction, and overall organizational effectiveness. However, training methods can range from traditional classroom-based instruction to modern, technology-driven approaches or somewhere in between. Ultimately, choosing how to train employees depends largely on the training content, learning objectives, target audience, available resources, and organizational goals.

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Different Types of Training Methods & Techniques

Again, there are many different kinds of training and development, and not all are suited to every situation, person, or business. If you’re considering building a training program for your employees, these are some of the primary types of training you can consider.

Instructor-Led Training

Instructor-led training is a conventional approach where an instructor directs the session, often using presentations and direct communication. This is one of the best training methods for employees when dealing with complex topics that require detailed explanations or immediate clarification of doubts. Some of the primary benefits include the use of direct interaction, which can enhance understanding and retention, and the opportunity for immediate feedback. However, it often involves higher costs due to venue and material requirements and may not be suitable for remote participants.


eLearning has become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly in remote work environments. In many cases, this method allows employees to learn from home at their own pace, catering to individual learning styles. The benefits of eLearning include interactive elements such as games and quizzes that engage users and enhance retention. They also provide users with the flexibility to learn anytime and anywhere. Finally, they are typically very cost-effective, mainly due to the absence of physical space requirements.

Role Playing

Role-playing involves employees acting out scenarios to develop interpersonal and decision-making skills. This technique is particularly useful for positions involving customer service or negotiation. The primary advantage is that it provides a realistic environment for practicing skills, which can make the learning experience more engaging and memorable. However, there are drawbacks as well. Some of the most cited examples include the potential discomfort some employees might feel with the performative aspects, which could hinder their learning.

On-the-Job Training

On-the-job training integrates learning directly into the workplace, offering hands-on experience that is immediately applicable. This method is particularly effective for practical skills development, such as learning to use new software tools or equipment. The primary advantages lie in its ability to enhance learning efficiency and minimize productivity loss. After all, employees will actually learn while performing their tasks. However, on-the-job training may not suit those who prefer structured learning environments or need more theoretical background before they apply their new skills.


Coaching pairs an employee with a more experienced mentor who provides personalized guidance and feedback. This training method is particularly effective for developing specific skills and transferring tacit knowledge. It is widely praised because it allows for tailored feedback and up-close progress monitoring. On the downside, it requires a significant time commitment from the mentor and may vary in effectiveness depending on the chemistry between the mentor and the mentee.

Simulation Training

Simulations offer a risk-free environment where employees can practice procedures and respond to simulated workplace scenarios. This method is particularly beneficial for high-risk industries such as healthcare and aviation. Among its many benefits is the fact that it allows employees to experience the consequences of their decisions in a controlled setting. Still, there are some major challenges, notably the high costs of setting up realistic simulations and the need for frequent updates to keep the scenarios relevant.

Job Shadowing

Job shadowing allows employees to observe others in their roles, allowing them to gain second-hand and (at times) first-hand insights into different functions within the company. This method is useful for new employees or those considering switching their career paths. It is particularly helpful in that it provides a realistic view of daily tasks and workflows. However, challenges include the potential for a significant time investment and the need for a willing and communicative host who can provide a meaningful experience.

Collaborative Training

Collaborative training encourages employees to learn with and from each other, leveraging group dynamics and shared knowledge to maximize outcomes. This method can dramatically enhance learning by fostering a sense of community and collective problem-solving. It can be more dynamic and less formal, which might increase engagement. That said, coordinating group learning can be challenging, and the pace may need to be adjusted to accommodate all of the participants effectively.

Video Training

Video training uses recorded content to deliver training sessions. Many people who grew up in the 70s, 80s, and 90s will remember having to watch these videos for both menial and corporate jobs. And while the quality has improved quite a bit, the format remains highly prized for its ability to convey information through visual and auditory elements, making complex topics more accessible. Videos are also reusable and can be accessed at any time, providing flexible learning options. To be honest, the only real drawback is that video content can quickly become outdated, requiring updates to ensure accuracy and relevance.


Cross-training involves teaching employees the skills of other positions within the organization to increase versatility and understanding across the company. As you might imagine, this is very effective at helping prepare employees to fill in for absent colleagues or transition to different roles. But while cross-training can enhance operational flexibility, it also requires careful planning and resources to be effective. In fact, it might overload employees if not managed well.

Factors to Consider While Choosing a Training Method

By now you know that choosing the right training method for your employees is crucial to ensuring effective learning outcomes. Here are several key factors to consider:

Learning Objectives and Content

Different methods are suited to different types of learning outcomes. For example, technical skills are often best taught through hands-on methods such as simulations or on-the-job training. Conversely, theoretical knowledge may be more effectively delivered through eLearning or instructor-led sessions. That’s why it’s important to consider the complexity, depth, and practical applications of the content to determine which method aligns best with your training goals.

Accessibility and Availability

Training logistics, including the timing and location, are critical to the actual outcome. For remote teams, virtual training methods may be necessary. Still, accessibility is also a key consideration. Can all employees readily access the training content? Do your best to ensure that the chosen method fits the availability of participants and accommodates their schedules, particularly if they are remote or work in shifts.

Learner Preferences

Understanding the preferences of your learners is essential. People vary in how they learn best. Some may benefit more from visual materials, while others might excel in settings that encourage interactive discussions. By gathering information on learner preferences, you can choose a training method that maximizes engagement and effectiveness, thereby enhancing overall training outcomes.

Costs and Resources

Each training method comes with different cost implications and resource requirements. For instance, eLearning and mobile learning might necessitate a significant investment in technology and content development, while instructor-led training could involve expenses related to hiring trainers and renting spaces. Be sure to properly evaluate your organization’s budget and resources so that you can select a training method that is financially viable and sustainable.

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Selecting the optimal training method or methods for your employees is a decision that requires a deep understanding of organizational goals, employee needs, and the specific demands of each job role. What we can say for sure is that no single method is ideal for all circumstances. Therefore, the best strategies often involve a blend of techniques tailored to enhance skill development, adaptability, and continuous learning.

In the end, organizations that thoughtfully integrate different training modalities will be better positioned to foster a dynamic and skilled workforce capable of navigating the complexities of today's business environment. By prioritizing effective training, businesses not only enhance individual performance but also contribute to overall organizational resilience and success.
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Employee Training F.A.Q.

What are employee training methods?

Employee training methods refer to the various strategies and techniques used to develop employees' skills, knowledge, and competencies, enhancing their job performance and satisfaction within an organization.

What types of training methods are mentioned in the article?

The article discusses several training methods including eLearning, on-the-job training, instructor-led training, role playing, coaching, simulation training, collaborative training, video training, cross-training, and job shadowing.

What are the benefits of eLearning for employee training?

eLearning offers flexibility, allowing employees to learn at their own pace and time, and often includes interactive elements like games and quizzes that enhance engagement and retention. It is also cost-effective as it does not require physical space.

How does on-the-job training benefit employees?

On-the-job training integrates learning directly into the workplace, providing hands-on experience that is immediately applicable to employees’ tasks. It enhances learning efficiency and minimizes productivity loss.

What are the advantages of instructor-led training?

Instructor-led training provides direct interaction with an instructor, which can enhance understanding and retention of complex topics. It allows for immediate feedback and clarification of doubts.

Why might an organization choose role playing as a training technique?

Role playing helps develop interpersonal and decision-making skills by allowing employees to act out scenarios. It provides a realistic environment for practice, making the learning experience more engaging and memorable.

What is simulation training and where is it most beneficial?

Simulation training offers a risk-free environment to practice procedures and respond to simulated workplace scenarios, beneficial particularly in high-risk industries such as healthcare and aviation.

How does collaborative training enhance learning?

Collaborative training leverages group dynamics and shared knowledge, fostering a sense of community and collective problem-solving, which can make learning more dynamic and engaging.

What should be considered when choosing the right training method?

Factors to consider include the training’s learning objectives and content, learner preferences, accessibility and availability of the training, and the costs and resources available.

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