Learning and development (L&D) has become the cornerstone of personal and organizational growth in today’s ever-evolving workplaces. As employees, adapting, upskilling and innovating are crucial for staying relevant and competitive in the job market.

L&D efforts can be offered formally or informally. Formal learning is structured with a set curriculum, while informal learning can occur unplanned and organically in the workplace.

L&D methods and their ideal applications or environments may vary. Some may make more sense in a formal, structured setting, while others may need to be more informal or flexible. Here are some common learning and training methods:

  • Instructor-led training is held on-site and often involves an instructor(s) presenting through lectures and demonstrations.
  • E-learning—or electronic learning—refers to structured courses or learning experiences delivered electronically. M-learning, or mobile learning, refers to employees using personal mobile devices to access education and training.
  • Blended learning, or hybrid learning, integrates online or digital components with face-to-face instruction.
  • Simulated learning mimics work-related situations and conveys information and skills as you progress. This method is typically best suited for industries requiring hands-on skills mastery training.
  • Self-directed learning, such as career pathing, empowers you to take the initiative with your own learning by selecting tasks to fit your learning needs and goals.
  • Outside learning refers to opportunities beyond the workplace. For example, you may pursue higher education, trade school, advanced industry training and certification to develop new skills or enrich ones you possess.
  • Mentoring typically involves a senior employee (mentor) sharing their expertise, insights and experiences with a junior employee (mentee) to train on soft and hard skills, provide guidance and influence the mentee’s growth.
  • Upskilling is when you have the opportunity to learn new skills to better your current work performance while also prepping for the company’s projected needs.

Embracing a lifelong learning mindset is essential for personal and professional growth. By exploring the diverse L&D approaches, you can identify the strategies that resonate most with your preferences and learning objectives. Review your available resources or consider asking your manager for alternative L&D opportunities.

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