Happy National Learning and Development Month! This event is celebrated every October and encourages individuals to look at the best learning methods to advance their personal and professional skills.
In recognition of this, we'll explore the top six learning methods for L&D professionals. Carry on reading to find out how to find the best mix of learning strategies for you and your organization.
1. Classroom training
Classroom-based training is probably the most traditional learning method, and accounts for 35.5 percent of a company’s training hours. Most of us grew up learning our ABCs in a classroom environment, so it’s natural that, as adults, we’d revert to learning in the same way.
Instructor-led training provides a distraction-free environment for focusing solely on the topic at hand. Learners have the opportunity to ask questions and interact with their instructor.
However, classroom learning does have its drawbacks. For example, each course can only progress at the rate of the slowest learner and not all course content is new – or relevant – to every learner.. This "one-size-fits-all" solution doesn't consider individual learning needs, and could prevent some people from progressing further.
Classroom training can also become costly. Learners being away from their jobs – and incurring travel and subsistence costs in the process – means that course delegates’ productivity and profitability plummets.
2. Hands-on training
Hands-on training has also been identified as "learning by doing" or "experiential learning." David Kolb's model of "experiential learning" stated that we learn continually, and, in the process, build particular strengths. Hands-on training is quick and requires focus, which can help to improve information retention.
One disadvantage is that hands-on training may not be applicable to all types of training. For example, soft skills such as leadership and management skills can be learned through practical experience, but it's usually better to receive information on how to approach a situation before diving in.
3. Interactive learning
Interactive training can be highly effective as it allows trainees to interact with and learn from each other. By encouraging learners to interact with each other, you not only keep the energy high, but also create a great way to add fun and engaging experiences to the learning process.
However, this method won't appeal to everyone. More introverted learners may not enjoy this approach as much as their outgoing peers, and will likely get less out of it. Consider who you're offering this learning to before you proceed.
4. Video learning
Video has become a key way in which we process information and many people like to incorporate this into their learning.
There are many different approaches to video training, such as animations, montages, live-action clips, "talking head" instructional videos, or even live demos of screen recordings.
However, video training isn't for everyone. Some people may prefer to consume their content in articles, workbooks or in step-by-step instructions.
Many learners are pursuing mentoring to advance their careers. In contrast with instructor-led training, mentoring can be beneficial for both the mentor and the mentee.
As a mentor, you can improve your leadership and communication skills, learn new perspectives, and gain a feeling of personal fulfillment from knowing that you've contributed directly to someone else's growth and development. As a mentee, you can gain valuable advice, develop your skill set, and build your network.
By setting up mentoring partnerships within your organization, you're giving both parties an opportunity to learn and grow.
If you're a regular reader of our L&D blog, you'll be familiar with the many benefits that come from implementing e-learning within your L&D strategy. E-learning allows people to select the pace, time, topic, and style of training that suits them.
One drawback is that, if your employees are learning on their own, it can be difficult to track their progress. Many companies use existing e-learning platforms, like the Emerald Works Mind Tools Toolkit, to monitor employees' self-directed learning.
As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to all learning methods. Many organizations find that a combination of different approaches is the ideal way to capture their audience. This increases the likelihood of them engaging individual learners, and keeps their L&D strategy from becoming stale. The trick is to test out some different methods, and see which ones work best for you.
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