13 Best Practices in Training & Development

Written by
Kevin Alster
Published on
June 4, 2024
Table of contents

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In 2018, it was estimated that 85% of the jobs in 2030 didn't exist yet. 

A pandemic and a global AI revolution later, it's safe to assume the shift in the workforce has already accelerated. The need for new skills to use new software is only increasing.

So, what's a success-driven L&D manager got to do to adapt to all these breakneck changes?

The answer is simple. Stay ahead with the latest best practices and technological advancements

Read on to find out how. 👇

1. Get clear on your employees' training needs

Accurately identify your training needs to create spot-on content that fills knowledge gaps efficiently.

Expert instructional designer Devlin Peck says, "Audience is key." He elaborates, "How do we know what these people need, what their feelings are, how are they going to respond to a learning experience like this if we can't ask them?"

2. Align learning topics with training objectives

Teach only the skills that drive the result you need. Make 100% certain that your training content will work to get learners closer to their desired learning outcome.

This focus saves you from overinflating course content with "nice to know" info that doesn't bring as much value and overwhelms learners.

Follow Devlin Peck's advice. "Put blinders on" and constantly remind yourself, "We're in pursuit of this goal." You'll want to remember the goal when planning the training content and practice activities. And start with two basic questions:

  1. What's our goal here?
  2. What do people need to know or be able to do in order to accomplish this?

3. Create experiential training content

The retention rate for experiential knowledge is 75% 🤯.

You engage and empower learners by turning event-based training into an entertaining, interactive experience. 

Mohsin Memon, a gamification expert who created the popular training game Superhero Within (used by HSBC, Dell, and Uber), recommends using a game design principle called scaffolding. It involves designing training to engage the learner at every step, following these 2 rules:

  1. Only give the user the necessary information to immediately take the first actionable step.
  2. Get them to seek the information that will take them to the next step.

4. Implement blended learning

Hybrid courses have a 91% completion rate among students, compared to only 87% for traditional courses. On top of that, 48% of students think interactive polls and quizzes are the most useful online tools.

What do all those stats mean for you? It's time to combine traditional classroom-style teaching with: 

  • E-learning platforms
  • Webinars
  • Virtual training sessions 
  • User-generated learning (UGC) materials like employee-led training

Deliver key training as microlearning video modules with short lessons of around 3 minutes each. Follow this guide on microlearning video creation in 5 minutes.

Whatever type of training you organize, always follow up with in-person or online recap sessions or any activity that helps reinforce learning through spaced repetition.

5. Facilitate personalized learning paths

Personalized learning paths give learners ownership of their development journey. 

L&D professionals think personalized learning is so important that 77% say it's vital for engagement, while 91% feel it improves the link between training and actual performance.

Here's how you could start implementing personalized learning paths in your next employee training program:

  1. Understand what you need to personalize by running learning needs assessments and setting individual goals for each employee.
  2. Use appropriate tools to develop the kind of content that favors the personalized learning you need to implement.
  3. Give learners time to take your training courses and support them by assigning personal coaches and mentors.
  4. Assess learners' performance and progress using adaptive learning technology. Gain insights on how to adjust content difficulty and personalize learning even more.

6. Focus on soft skills training

Soft skills determine 85% of someone's career success.

Communication, leadership, teamwork, adaptability, and conflict resolution can make or break any training program. Employees with advanced soft skills will better fit the work environment, collaborate and communicate, and drive results with minimal conflicts.

Here are some great ways to add soft skills into your training programs:

  • Facilitate the practice of real-life scenarios and challenges specific to their professional roles by adding role-playing exercises and simulations to your training programs. 
  • Challenge learners to apply their soft skills in problem-solving exercises. Make room for such exercises when analyzing case studies based on real-world scenarios.
  • Encourage peer coaching by organizing group events where employees exchange knowledge and practice soft skills together in a safe and supportive environment.

7. Address diversity, equality & inclusion (DEI)

Actively create an inclusive working environment, and you'll shape your organization to be welcoming and make all hires feel valued and respected. A pretty important outcome when you consider that 67% of job seekers feel that workplace diversity is important to them.

Promote DEI content and resources that reflect diverse perspectives, cultures, and experiences. Use this content as a base to foster open discussions about diversity-related topics during training sessions:

  • Offer learning materials in multiple formats to accommodate different learning preferences and accessibility needs.
  • Establish Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) or affinity groups that bring together employees with shared characteristics or experiences, such as race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

8. Offer mentorship and coaching

"Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction," said famous American journalist and novelist John Crosby.

You help your employees feel more confident and capable when you provide mentorship and coaching. Over time, this strategy can create a knowledge-sharing culture that results in excellent skill growth. 

Combine formal mentorship, coaching programs, and peer coaching circles. Don't forget to include executive coaching for leadership development in this strategy.

As best practices, pair experienced professionals with less-experienced employees for different activities. And use mentorship-matching software to guide your actions.

 9. Always facilitate a learning culture

Continuous learning opportunities lead to happy employees who stay longer at your company and perform better. Just by encouraging employee training and a strong learning culture, you could get retention rates to rise 30-50%.

Develop an ongoing plan for L&D development that includes:

  • A detailed continuous assessment plan for your employees' learning needs.
  • A robust onboarding process that clearly puts the learning culture at the center of your company values.
  • A mix of mentorship and coaching-oriented training methods and self-directed learning.
  • Clear processes to recognize, promote, and reward learning achievements.

10. Provide good feedback

When you develop training programs without personalized feedback opportunities, there's a good chance that 40% of your learners will feel disengaged because of that.

Give employees good feedback, and you'll have:

  • A more effective training and learning process
  • Happier and more loyal employees
  • A lower employee turnover rate

But what is "good feedback"? 🤔

Expert Devlin Peck says, "Good feedback is feedback that will guide a lead to a different choice next time." And the way it does so is by:

  • Allowing learning through experimentation and failure in the safe space of a course.
  • Shifting focus from controlling the learner to simply putting opportunities to fail in front of them until they understand what's the right thing to do.

Devlin Peck further explains how training sessions paired with good feedback allow employees to "make the mistakes here so you don't make them on the job."

11. Help your audience learn with spaced repetition

Dr. Kuva Jacobs, co-founder of Emergent Learning, is adept at cycling through content to strengthen the neural networks that weaken as employees forget what they learned.

She recommends that managers enhance memory recall and long-term knowledge retention through activities that favor spaced repetition after completing the training process. And research backs her up, proving that spaced repetition — repetition at longer intervals — gives 67% better results than mass repetition — heavy repetition within a short time.

Create a plan for revising content after the training, incorporating flashcards, quizzes, little games, case studies analysis, and group discussion.

Choose what's easier to create, ensuring you bring in slightly different content from the initial training. That way, you avoid making it dull and build on what you've taught with complementary training materials.

12. Measure training success through interviews

"Interview" is a fancy way of saying you should directly talk to your learners. 

By accurately gauging the impact of your training initiatives, you can easily refine your training and optimize learning experiences.

Training expert Christina Long has essential employee feedback questions you can use today:

To gather Subjective feedback:

  1. "Did this learning experience provide you an opportunity to reflect on the work that you do, the mission, and the goals of the company that you're here to support?
  2. "As far as information and knowledge go, is there something in this training you decided to keep with you as you proceed through your profession?"

To understand your training quality:

  1. "Did you find this training valuable?"
  2. "Is it worth your time going through this training?"

13. Maximize how effective your training is by scaling with technology

Incorporating the latest tools and platforms into your training development process can make it far more efficient to create training programs for larger organizations. For example, training managers can speed up video production with AI tools and scale content faster than ever using text-to-video technology.

Case study 📚

Modern Canada started using the AI video maker Synthesia and created +100 videos in six months, with a 90% faster video creation process and +$6,000 savings per video.

Take your training and development program to the next level

Best practices are only best used when you put them into practice. Want to make the most of the technology you have at hand and create training and development programs that help your organization progress?

Look no further! Learn how you can incorporate AI video into your L&D program.


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