Massive training manuals no longer meet the needs of today’s diversified workforce.

We’ve written previously about the importance of continuous training for your employees. A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study found that 35% of workers consider professional development programs to be the top benefit offered by their employers. Your people are your most important asset, so investing in their development is critical.

One of the challenges with corporate training is the diversity of the workforce. Baby boomers learn differently from millennials, telecommuters have different needs than onsite workers, etc. Fortunately, technology has greatly expanded the options for a blended training approach. Rarely do companies just hand out 400-page training manuals that everyone is expected to read. A variety of mediums help to incentivize training and motivate employees in new ways.

Here’s a brief overview of the components of a blended training approach:

1. Instructor-Led Training. This is traditional training with a teacher leading a group of students. The “non-traditional” aspect is that it no longer needs to be in-person. Online courses enable employees scattered all over the world to meet in one virtual place for class. This way, students still get the “human experience” of interacting with a real-time teacher.

2. Web-Based Learning. Today’s workers are accustomed to getting information quickly and on their own time. Web-based learning tools allow that to happen. Many companies are converting their hard copy training documents to web-based learning tools. In addition to being accessible anytime/anywhere, these electronic documents are much easier to modify than printed manuals used to be.

3. Mobile Learning (mLearning). Morgan Stanley estimates that by 2015, more users will connect to the Internet via mobile devices than by a PC. Mobile learning applications are on-demand snippets of information that supplement ongoing learning for employees. For example, three weeks after taking a training course for a new repair process, an aircraft mechanic could look up details of that process on his mobile device while he’s working on a plane. Mobile learning apps are best suited for short sessions (2-6 minutes) that focus on a single learning point.

4. Gamification. Who says we can’t play at work?! A fun and educational training trend is to incorporate learning into video games. A University of Denver Business School study found that employees trained with video games have 11% higher factual knowledge, 14% higher skill-based knowledge, and 9% higher retention than workers trained in less interactive environments. One of our partners saw tremendous success with this approach. New employees played a game in which built they built their own virtual car and developed it into a customized screensaver. In the process, they learned more about the organization and its various offices.

April JenningsAuthor: April Jennings