The 8 Learning Methods HR Leaders are Using to Train Employees


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Wednesday, June 28, 2023

With COVID-19 having an irrevocable impact on how businesses training and develop their staff, what are the most popular learning methods employed by HR leaders today?

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The 8 Learning Methods HR Leaders are Using to Train Employees
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While the shift to hybrid and remote working has unearthed the benefits of flexible working models for both employees and businesses, the transition hasn’t been without its challenges. From securing remote workers and granting them access to data and information to enabling communication and building international teams, businesses have had their work cut out adjusting to the new era of work. And, three years on from the outset of the pandemic, their work isn’t done yet.

One area that has been particularly challenging for organizations has been learning and development (L&D). Virtual training and e-learning may not be anything new, but they’ve been catapulted to the forefront of HR strategies and initiatives in the wake of the pandemic.

So how exactly has L&D changed? How have HR leaders adjusted their training plans and methodologies to suit the new era of work? And which learning methods are they most frequently using?

To find out, we surveyed over 200 senior HR professionals, from Managers all the way to the C-Suite, across both the US and the UK. Our sample covers a range of industries, with respondents working for businesses with at least 250 employees to those with over 25,000.

COVID-19 has significantly impacted L&D – and investment in LMS is high

To set the scene for the state of L&D, we asked our respondents whether remote and hybrid working had impacted their ability to train staff effectively. The vast majority – almost two-thirds (65%) – agreed.

Learn more: 7 Ways HR Leaders Can Adapt Their L&D for the Hybrid Working Era

This might explain why the market for learning management systems (LMS) is experiencing significant growth. The worldwide market for these tools is expected to reach as much as $40.95 billion by 2029, according to Fortune Business Insights.

Adopting an LMS solution allows businesses to organize and deliver a myriad of learning plans and training on a large scale to modern and hybrid workforces. As such, almost 70% of our respondents are currently making use of these tools, with another 18% planning to in the near future.

Read more: 6 Features HR Leaders Want from Learning Management Systems [According to Research]

The 8 most popular learning methods used by HR leaders

1.     eLearning

eLearning (electronic learning) refers to the utilization of digital technologies and resources to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge and skills. This approach to education enables learners to access educational content and materials, as well as engage with instructors and peers through various online platforms, such as websites, mobile applications and video conferencing tools. 69% of our respondents currently make use of this approach, making it the most popular learning method.

2.     Face-to-face instructor-led training (ILT)

In contrast, face-to-face ILT is a MORE traditional and highly effective approach to learning, where learners gather in a physical classroom or training venue to participate in a structured learning experience. This method of training is facilitated by an instructor who guides participants through the course material, encourages engagement and provides immediate feedback. While e-Learning appears to have taken over, this traditional model is the second most popular method we surveyed, with 61% of respondents applying it.

3.     Virtual learning

Virtual learning follows not far behind, with 56% of respondents using this approach. Virtual learning refers to education that takes place in a digital environment, allowing learners to access course materials, engage with instructors and collaborate with peers without being physically present in a traditional classroom setting. This mode of learning leverages technology and various online platforms to deliver a flexible, interactive and personalized educational experience.

Learn more: A Closer Look at Virtual Training Best Practices for the Education Industry

4.     Self-paced online learning

Self-paced online learning allows employees to progress through course material at their own speed, rather than adhering to a rigid schedule imposed by an instructor or institution. This flexible learning model empowers individuals to manage their own time and study habits, accommodating diverse learning styles and personal commitments. Just under half of our respondents (49%) have embraced this learning model.

5.     Blended learning

Blended learning combines traditional face-to-face classroom instruction with online learning experiences. This hybrid method approach is used by just over a third (35%) of our respondents and seeks to provide learners with a more comprehensive and flexible learning experience, catering to individual needs and diverse learning styles. Leveraging the benefits of both in-person and digital teaching methods can help HR leaders deliver a more personalized and engaging educational journey.

Learn more: 4 Blended Learning Models All L&D Managers Need to Start Using

6.     Collaborative learning

The collaborative learning method encourages employees to work together as a team, combining their individual skills and knowledge to achieve a common goal. This method promotes active participation, critical thinking and effective communication among learners, fostering a sense of community and shared responsibility for the learning process. As an approach that can be incorporated into methods like virtual and e-learning, this was only selected by 34% of respondents.

7.     Mobile learning

The mobile learning (m-learning) method, as the name implies, leverages mobile devices to facilitate educational experiences and enhance professional development. This method allows learners to access content through smartphones, tablets or other portable devices, enabling them to learn anytime and anywhere. The growing popularity of mobile learning has encouraged businesses to incorporate this strategy into their training programs, with almost a quarter 24% of our respondents currently using this approach.

8.     Gamification

The gamification learning method involves game design elements and principles into the learning process. This method incorporates elements such as points, badges and leaderboards into learning activities,  which encourages friendly competition and fosters a sense of achievement among participants. While it is gaining some popularity, just 13% of our respondents identified it as part of their L&D strategy in our survey.

Learn more: 5 Ways You Can Use Gamification to Create Awesome Learning Experiences

Access The State of Learning & Development research report

Looking for more insights into the latest L&D trends? For more on our research into topics like course creation, the impact of the skills gap and how HR leaders are looking to get maximum value from their LMS tools, download the full report here.

The State of Learning & Development in 22/23

How will digitization change the state of L&D? And what are the current key L&D challenges?

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