Types of Training

Lesson 2: Topic 13 of 21

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According to a BambooHR survey, three-fourths of new hires said of all the employer-provided training they’d received, what was provided during the first week on the job was the most important. Far too many companies, however, rely on parking the new hire in front of a series of videos and calling it good. We don’t suggest eliminating video training, but it should be considered only one element of a multifaceted training program. 

A strength of video instruction is that it offers greater flexibility, but it’s easy to be distracted or flat out ignore content. Additionally, it’s difficult to pick up higher-order skills (e.g., reasoning, analyzing, and applying) from reading a textbook or watching a video. Higher-order skills are much more likely to be gained when learners are in a collaborative space which facilitates mutual critique and discussion. And that engagement is key; without it, sitting in a group can be just as distant and just as limited as solo study. Group training allows for different ideas gained from past employment and lived experiences. They can also grow people by having one’s point of view challenged. But this only happens when a good trainer is helping participants become aware of what’s going on inside: their habits of thinking, their emotional states, and the like.

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Learning in collaborative, panel, or group-led environments may also promote accountability. Positive peer pressure helps one stay engaged (note that it’s the facilitator/teacher’s responsibility to ensure the peer pressure remains positive!).

When designing and implementing training, remember there are different learning styles (auditory, visual, hands-on, etc.). As much as possible, utilize multiple teaching styles in order to engage people who have different learning styles. 

Some other thoughts:

  • Utilize resources such as bulletin boards (both physical and virtual), posters, blogs, and newsletters. These should be a means for reinforcement of ideas, rather than a primary means of training.
  • Contests can be amazing motivators to learning for those who are competitive!
  • Use proven adult learning tools (repetition, gamification, demonstrate-repeat, role playing, etc.).
  • Include instruction in task-related duties, of course, but don’t neglect teaching soft skills that enhance interpersonal interactions (e.g., conflict resolution techniques, decision making, and as noted in the previous section, communication).
  • Quizzes or exams can help with memorization of material, but can also trigger people who struggle with test anxiety.