Training is an important part of staff development and without it you run the risk of not getting the most out of your workforce.
Employees should never be an untapped resource and it is important to use the right techniques to harness and further the skills of staff.
There are plenty of approaches to training that companies can take and it is important to understand each so the right style can be used for the task at hand.
This is the most traditional form of training and is still one of the most popular approaches. It can be as basic or complicated as you require and involves a person presenting and leading a session.
At its simplest, instructor-led training will use a blackboard or whiteboard where key points will be illustrated. In some instances trainees will even come up and demonstrate something on the board – a technique that works well in most sessions no matter their format.
Overhead projectors or PowerPoint presentations are now the main way to run instructor-led training, however, for their ease of use. This works well for more static sessions with minimal audience involvement.
Nevertheless, instructor-led training can be broken down into different segments, incorporating a video portion, discussion or activity.
When running such a session, there are different ways to go about it. A tutorial style is a good way to communicate new ideas, while a case study or storytelling is often useful to illustrate best practices and get attendees thinking about the practical application of a theory.
The pros and cons
This form of training is ideal if you need to present a large body of information, while the personal element is great for bridging hierarchical gaps. You can also rest assured that everyone is getting the same information at the right time.
However, the success of these sessions really does depend on the trainer and if it’s too long there is a chance audiences will switch off.
Run on its own or as part of an instructor-led session, interactive training has grown to prominence in recent years.
New technologies have made interaction easier than ever before and businesses have found it a great way to get staff engaged and practicing the skills they’ll need after the session ends.
Some popular things to include are quizzes, discussion groups, case studies for analysis, active summaries, Q&A sessions, role playing, participant control and demonstrations.
Pros and cons
Interactive sessions make training more fun and also allow for greater levels of communication.
Trainers can get in-session feedback, while employees have the chance to pass on their skills to others.
However, this training can be time consuming and success relies on the willingness of participants. It’s also harder for trainers to control outcomes.
Breaking the mould of the traditional training session, this is a great way to teach employees practical skills out in the real world.
This simply might take the form of a demonstration, but can include coaching over a set period of time or cross training, where staff are given the chance to try their hand at other jobs.
The most common form of hands-on training is the apprenticeship, which enables people to learn while they work. On-the-job activities are often teamed with instructor-led sessions as part of a long-term programme.
Pros and Cons
Hands-on training is great for teaching new skills and makes it possible to gauge the progress of staff immediately. However, this isn’t ideal for large groups and can disrupt normal working practices.
Location, location, location
When choosing the best approach for training your staff, you also need to think about where these sessions will take place.
After all, learning is as much about the environment it happens in as anything else.
If you want to get the best from staff, ensure you have access to a well-equipped training venue that provides all the tech and space you’ll need.
This will help to focus the minds of employees and stimulate their creativity.