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4 Ways to Train Employees Effectively Without the right combination of technology, hands-on attention and follow up you can't be confident what is taught today will be remembered tomorrow.

By Heather R. Huhman Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Yesterday was a long day for Dawn and Jeff. Along with the rest of the sales team, they spent five hours learning about a new software supposed to make their jobs easier.

Although a little burned out from all the information they had to process, Dawn and Jeff return to work, excited to use what they've learned. They sit down at their desks and open up the new software on their computers. After a moment, Dawn turns to Jeff with a blank look on her face.

"Do you remember what we're supposed to do first?"


Traditional training methods aren't living up to expectations. In a 2015 InterCall survey of over 200 employees, one-third said their company's techniques aren't a productive use of time and another third said they weren't interesting or engaging.

Fortunately, with improvements in technology, it's now easier for employers to utilize a variety of interactive training models that cater to different learning techniques. By incorporating a mix of training methods, employers can develop more effective ways to give their workforce the skills they need.

Here are four better ways to train employees and the benefits that each technique provides:

1. Blend in-person training and online training.

Both in-person and online training have inherent benefits. The aforementioned InterCall survey found that 50 percent of employers believed in-person training helped them retain information. This makes sense considering that the trainer would be able to answer employee questions while presenting the material.

But once the trainer leaves the office and employees try to apply their new skills, who's going to clear up any confusion? This is probably why 48 percent of respondents said they still want to be able to review content at a later time.

By incorporating both in-person and online resources, employees are able to get a fuller understanding of the information during training and have a reference to turn to if issues arise in the future.

Related: How to Train a New Employee to Be an All Star

2. Provide hands-on training.

In a 2013 Skillsoft survey of over 1,000 office workers, 33 percent said they prefer to learn by feeling or experiencing what they're learning about. Hands-on training affords employees the opportunity to apply what they're learning before they have to translate the skills to their day-to-day tasks.

Whenever possible, let employees try out and experiment with their new skills in a controlled environment. This will help them build confidence without risking the chance that inexperience will lead to harmful mistakes.

Related: 6 Cloud-Based Learning Platforms That Can Help Educate Your Workforce

3. Incorporate mobile training apps.

More and more positions now come with some location flexibility. Data from Global Workplace Analytics in September found that as much as 25 percent of American employees work remotely to some degree.

Given the importance of training, it's surprising that in a 2014 Brandon Hall survey of over 500 companies, only 10 percent reported a high level of mobile learning module usage.

Mobile training applications not only ensure teleworkers are up-to-date on all the latest information, but also give every employee the option to learn in an environment in which they feel comfortable and free of distractions. If even a small percentage of the office decides to complete training at home, it also means less work time spent on training.

4. Allow employees to learn at their own pace.

Everybody learns at their own speed, but most companies aren't considering that fact when designing training programs. The 2014 Association for Talent Development survey of 340 organizations found that only 16 percent of responding companies use online training methods that allow employees to set their own pace.

By not being able to review training information how they'd like, employees are forced to rush through complicated topics. It also denies employees time to take a moment and process what they've learned, which is an important part of the learning process.

A 2015 study from the Harvard Business School found that participants who were asked to stop and reflect on a task they'd just performed improved at greater rates than participants who just practiced a task. So by giving, and encouraging, employees time to think about what they're doing, learning will be quicker and more reinforced.

Additionally, training platforms like Tasytt make it easy for employees to add their own contributions to training material and rewards them for doing so. For example, after completing a training unit, an employee can reflect and share their input with others. This not only makes training more engaging, but also ensures each employee is properly processing what they're learning.

Related: Technology You Bought But Won't Learn to Use Is Money Wasted

Heather R. Huhman

Career and Workplace Expert; Founder and President, Come Recommended

Waldorf, Md.-based Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager and president of Come Recommended, the PR solution for job search and HR tech companies. She writes about issues impacting the modern workplace.

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