Training methods

Before you find a job, usually you have to attend some trainings to develop your skills or competencies.

Many methods of training are available- each has certain advantages and disadvantages.







Here is the list of most used training methods:

  1. Technology-Based Learning

Common methods of learning via technology include:

  • Basic PC-based programs
  • Interactive multimedia – using a PC-based CD-ROM
  • Interactive video – using a computer in conjunction with a VCR
  • Web-based training programs

The forms of training with technology are almost unlimited. A trainer also gets more of the learner”s involvement than in any other environment and trainees have the benefit of learning at their own pace.

  1. Simulators

Simulators are used to imitate real work experiences.

Most simulators are very expensive but for certain jobs, like learning to fly a 747, they are indispensable. Astronauts also train extensively using simulators to imitate the challenges and micro-gravity experienced on a space mission. The military also uses video games (similar to the “shoot-em-up” ones your 14-year old plays) to train soldiers.

  1. On-The-Job Training

Jumping right into work from day one can sometimes be the most effective type of training.

Here are a few examples of on-the-job training:

  • Read the manual – a rather boring, but thorough way of gaining knowledge of about a task.
  • A combination of observation, explanation and practice.
  • Trainers go through the job description to explain duties and answer questions.
  • Use the intranet so trainees can post questions concerning their jobs and experts within the company can answer them.

On-the-job training gives employees motivation to start the job. Some reports indicate that people learn more efficiently if they learn hands-on, rather than listening to an instructor. However, this method might not be for everyone, as it could be very stressful.

  1. Coaching/Mentoring

Coaching/mentoring gives employees a chance to receive training one-on-one from an experienced professional. This usually takes place after another more formal process has taken place to expand on what trainees have already learned.

Here are three examples of coaching/mentoring:

  • Hire professional coaches for managers (see our article on Understanding Executive Coaching)
  • Set up a formal mentoring program between senior and junior managers
  • Implement less formal coaching/mentoring to encourage the more experienced employees to coach the less experienced.

Coaching/mentoring gives trainees the chance to ask questions and receive thorough and honest answers – something they might not receive in a classroom with a group of people.


  1. Lectures

Lectures usually take place in a classroom-format.

It seems the only advantage to a lecture is the ability to get a huge amount of information to a lot of people in a short amount of time. It has been said to be the least effective of all training methods. In many cases, lectures contain no form of interaction from the trainer to the trainee and can be quite boring. Studies show that people only retain 20 percent of what they are taught in a lecture.

  1. Group Discussions & Tutorials

These most likely take place in a classroom where a group of people discuss issues.

For example, if an unfamiliar program is to be implemented, a group discussion on the new program would allow employees to ask questions and provide ideas on how the program would work best.

A better form of training than lectures, it allows all trainees to discuss issues concerning the new program. It also enables every attendee to voice different ideas and bounce them off one another.

  1. Role Playing

Role playing allows employees to act out issues that could occur in the workplace. Key skills often touched upon are negotiating and teamwork.

A role play could take place between two people simulating an issue that could arise in the workplace. This could occur with a group of people split into pairs, or whereby two people role play in front of the classroom.

Role playing can be effective in connecting theory and practice, but may not be popular with people who don´t feel comfortable performing in front of a group of people.

  1. Management Games

Management games simulate real-life issues faced in the workplace. They attract all types of trainees including active, practical and reflective employees.

Some examples of management games could include:

  • Computer simulations of business situations that managers ´play´.
  • Board games that simulate a business situation.
  • Games surrounding thought and creativity – to help managers find creative ways to solve problems in the workplace, or to implement innovative ideas.
  1. Outdoor Training

A nice break from regular classroom or computer-based training, the usual purpose of outdoor training is to develop teamwork skills.

Some examples include:

  • Wilderness or adventure training – participants live outdoors and engage in activities like whitewater rafting, sailing, and mountain climbing.
  • Low-impact programming – equipment can include simple props or a permanently installed “low ropes” course.
  • High-impact programming – Could include navigating a 40-foot “high ropes” course, rock climbing, or rappelling.

Outgoing and active participants may get the most out of this form of training. One risk trainers might encounter is distraction, or people who don´t like outdoor activities.

  1. Films & Videos

Films and videos can be used on their own or in conjunction with other training methods.

To be truly effective, training films and videos should be geared towards a specific objective. Only if they are produced effectively, will they keep the trainees attention. They are also effective in stimulating discussion on specific issues after the film or video is finished.

Films and videos are good training tools, but have some of the same disadvantages as a lecture – i.e., no interaction from the trainees.

A few risks to think about – showing a film or video from an outside source may not touch on issues directly affecting a specific company. Trainees may find the information very interesting but irrelevant to their position in the company.

Some trainers like to show videos as a break from another training method, i.e. as a break from a lecture instead of a coffee break.

This is not a good idea for two reasons. One: after a long lecture, trainees will usually want a break from any training material, so a training film wouldn´t be too popular. Two: using films and videos solely for the purpose of a break could get expensive.

  1. Case Studies

Case studies provide trainees with a chance to analyze and discuss real workplace issues. They develop analytical and problem-solving skills, and provide practical illustrations of principle or theory. They can also build a strong sense of teamwork as teams struggle together to make sense of a case.

All types of issues could be covered – i.e. how to handle a new product launch.

  1. Planned Reading

Basically planned reading is pre-stage preparation to more formal methods of training. Some trainees need to grasp specific issues before heading into the classroom or the team-building session.

Planned reading will provide employees with a better idea of what the issues are, giving them a chance to think of any questions beforehand.


Many avenues exist to train employees. The key is to match the training method to the situation. Assess each training method implemented in the organization and get feedback from trainees to see if they learned anything. Then take the results from the most popular and most effective methods to design a specific training program.

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