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Training & Learning Methods for Adults

Instructor: Steven Monroe

Steve holds a Ph.D. in Education and works as the Regional Training Director for Airgas, LLC and Adjunct Professor at Western Washington University.

This lesson will overview four job training methods: learning management system (LMS), instructor led training (ILT), blended learning method, and mentoring. We will define each one and explore examples for how they are used in the 21st century.

Employee Training Methods

Today's companies utilize traditional methods of training employees, like through live instruction and mentoring, while leveraging technology through online education.

Those online methods include the learning management system (LMS), which is giving information and education to employees through online learning. This training might be similar to the online studying you're doing now!

The two traditional methods discussed in this lesson are mentoring, and instructor led training (ILT). The ILT provides in-class instruction through hands-on activities and one-on-one or group-based dissemination of information. The blended learning method is a mix between the LMS and the ILT.

Mentoring is the most classic technique, with its roots in apprenticeship programs. Mentoring gives the learner on-the-job training and knowledge that the mentor passes on to the less experienced employee.

When deciding on the training or learning method, one should consider the quality and availability of a learning program, the time allowed to learn a particular job or task, and cost factors required to educate the learner into their new position. A company may use a combination of these, and more strategies, to ensure newly hired, repositioned, or promoted employees have the depth of knowledge and understanding necessary to do their jobs.

Learning Management System (LMS)

The learning management system also known as the LMS gives an organization a source of education available at any time an employee needs it, since we all know access to a computer is pervasive in the workplace! Many organizations do not own the LMS; they purchase a license from a source that operates and maintains the learning management system for them. The company utilizing an LMS offers online instruction to the employee on topics like safety, administrative requirements, or job-related education using a laptop or computer terminal.

An example of a course an employee can take through the LMS is an annual requirement to recertify their knowledge about safety protocols. The successful completion of the online course provides the employee with a certificate of completion to be placed in their employee training record. Assuming the quality of the online courseware and its ability to communicate information and processes adequately, the LMS is a more cost-effective method of training, allowing the employee access to instruction at work using their company computer.

The LMS has captured the attention of companies wanting to save money training employees due to costs related to training time, plus potential expensive travel and food costs.

Instructor Led Training (ILT)

Instructor led training had been the primary method used for teaching employees in the workplace long before the LMS came along. While the LMS is certainly useful, the ILT gives employees the necessary hands-on activity required for many critical tasks performed in the workplace.

For example, assume a new employee needs to learn how to drive a forklift. Driving a forklift is considered a critical task for most organizations. The new employee will be paired with their supervisor or a peer who is certified to drive the forklift, and they will give the new employee the hands-on experience necessary to drive the forklift safely.

Instructor led training is not just for teaching physical skill like this. The seminar style that often characterizes ILT may allow for group discussion, classroom learning activities, and even fun activities like role playing, related to any work topic.

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