12 ways to diversify employee training

Source: Uppey.ai
Why it’s imperative to use different formats of employee training, how to combine them, and why we aren’t wired to learn the same every time

Let’s do a short exercise together:

Close your eyes for a minute and imagine your favorite restaurant.

Position yourself in the space: imagine the atmosphere, the sounds, the aesthetics, the smells…

Picture the menu, then yourself choosing your favorite dish and wine, maybe dessert…
It all tastes great, the water knows you by the first name, and every part of the experience is just perfect.

Now imagine that this is the ONLY restaurant you’ll ever get to eat in. From now on, every time you treat yourself to dining outside – this is the only choice you have, time after time.

Doesn’t sound so glamourous anymore, does it?

This is how humans are wired. As much as we appreciate stability and familiarity, we need some diversification in life, especially when it comes to experiences. Otherwise, it becomes too repetitive and boring, and we don’t receive enough stimulation to stay fulfilled.

The same goes for learning in general, and employee training in particular.

We enjoy inspiring talks, but too many in a row can quickly turn into a cookie-cutter feeling.

We benefit from self-paced video content, but that alone doesn’t provide an opportunity for a dialogue or discussion.

We can learn a tone from shadowing a person, but it won’t necessarily bridge foundational or professional knowledge gaps.

The answer to this situation is quite clear, though requires some good planning: a smart and structured diversification of learning formats.

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Potential different learning and training formats

Spicing up the learning routine has a lot to do with engaging employees with the content through different formats when each one has its own pros and cons.

Here are 12 different formats to deliver employee training:


Refers to learning conducted online, either self-paced or at pre-determined times, where the learners individually consume the training through virtual pre-recorded content.

Instructor-led training

Any type of training given by an instructor (facilitator, trainer, consultant), usually live (either in-person or online), either to a group of learners or individually according to a specific need.

Group learning - discussions

A group of learners gathering together to practice a new approach, body of knowledge, a set of behaviors, and alike. The group exercise’s purpose is usually to create a space of shared practice and mutual learning.

Group learning - exercises

A group of learners gathering together to practice a new approach, body of knowledge, a set of behaviors, and alike. The group exercise’s purpose is usually to create a space of shared practice and mutual learning.


Ranging from a single session to an entire series over time, coaching is meant to give the individual (or a group, if it’s a group coaching) some growth tools, approaches, and questions to ponder while focusing on needs on demand.

Job shadowing

Shadowing someone who is doing their role is a common learning methodology that helps new hires or promoted employees to learn a new role by observing in real time someone who is already doing this role.


Given by someone who has been there before, mentoring is aimed at giving the learner (mentee) direction, advice, or food for thought out of the mentor’s experience in a similar situation, position, etc.

Case studies

A practice in which learners are exposed to previous cases related to their role, current or new project, or a decision at stake, in order to gain knowledge about what worked well and what didn’t.


Role-playing simulates a real-life example and helps learners to test how they might react to a specific situation while practicing acquired knowledge, approach, taught behavior, routine, script, guidelines, etc.

Job rotation

Exchanging roles for a limited period of time is another learning format that enables a person to learn by doing someone else’s role, and putting themselves in others’ professional shows.

Talks and lectures

A session that is carried either virtually or in-person in different lengths, and provides information, stories, examples, food for thought, Q&A, and alike to convey something new to the learning audience.


A way in which the learning experience and knowledge exchange are done through playing a game, with specific rules and a clear goal, in order to engage the audience and help them process the knowledge in a more memorable and enjoyable way.


Incorporating gamification into training increases employee skill retention by approximately 40% (Gabe Zichermann, Gamification by Design)

Combination is key

As mentioned above, sticking to one preferred format whether because it’s working well or because it’s fairly easy and not too complicated or expensive, is not a good idea. Even the most successful learning experiences need some in-conventional interventions.

A great way to maintain successful experiences along with new ones is to create a structured plan that combines different formats into a cohesive learning program.

Using different formats over a period of time, ensure that not only the topics are diverse but also the actual experience. This could be rotated during a learning cycle, for example, or any other structure that meets the needs of your learning unit, as long as it creates slightly unique experiences.

Another advantage of a combination of learning formats is that the learned don’t know what to expect exactly, in a good way. Rather than thinking to themselves “ I might skip the next one, I’m so busy and I’ve been to so many group discussions already”, they will get used to thinking in terms of “I’m invited to play a game to learn how to code better/sell better/manage people better? Never done this!”.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that the combination could be happening in parallel, for the same learning experience. It is more than encouraged to combine e-learning with a followed in-person talk (read more about the Flipped Classroom), peer-to-peer learning with instructor-led training or gamification with a group discussion to deepen the learning.

And it definitely makes everyone’s growth path more interesting!

new guide: how to motivate employees to own their learning journey

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