Exploring 6 Learning Approaches for Employee Development in the Workplace

Exploring 6 Learning Approaches for Employee Development in the Workplace

Are you ready to supercharge your skillset? Unlock your full potential with these dynamic learning approaches designed to transform the way you master new skills in the workplace. Keep reading and find answers to some of these questions:

Which learning approach is the best for you? How can you learn and remember better?  Is the same learning approach always the best option, no matter the task? 

The best learning approach

The key is to assess the specific goals, skills, and knowledge that need to be developed within the organisation, and then select the appropriate learning approaches to achieve those objectives. Regular evaluation and feedback from employees can help organisations refine and improve their learning programs over time.

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In today's fast-paced business environment, organisations need to invest continuously in employee development to maintain a competitive edge. The key to effective workplace learning lies in utilising diverse learning approaches that cater to the unique needs of individual employees. This blog post will compare six distinct learning approaches, including their effectiveness in different workplace scenarios, to help organisations design robust employee development programs.

Challenge-based Learning (CBL)

Challenge-based learning focuses on presenting employees with real-world problems and empowering them to develop solutions. This approach helps employees hone their critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration skills while integrating technology and interdisciplinary concepts.

Interesed in learning more about this approach? Read this article on challenged-based learning.

  • Example: Reducing company carbon footprint 

A company tasks its employees with finding ways to reduce its carbon footprint. Employees form cross-functional teams and research the company's current environmental impact, energy consumption, and waste management practices. Each team generates solutions, such as implementing energy-efficient equipment, creating a telecommuting policy, or initiating a company-wide recycling program. Teams then present their proposals to management, and the best ideas are implemented and monitored for effectiveness.

Is this learning approach for you?

You might benefit from this approach if you thrive in problem-solving situations and enjoy applying your knowledge to real-world scenarios. If you typically have a strong sense of curiosity, are motivated by overcoming obstacles, and appreciate opportunities to work collaboratively with others, try to improve your skills applying CBL.

Project-based Learning (PBL)

Project-based learning is a collaborative approach that emphasises long-term, meaningful projects connected to real-world situations. PBL encourages teamwork, creativity, and critical thinking, leading to innovative solutions and improved performance.

  • Example: Launching a new product

A group of employees is given the responsibility of launching a new product line. They collaborate on market research, product development, branding, pricing strategy, and marketing campaigns. Throughout the project, employees work together to identify potential challenges and opportunities, adjusting their strategies as needed. The project culminates with the successful launch of the product and an analysis of its initial performance in the market.

Is this learning approach for you?

Do you prefer a hands-on, practical approach to learning and are driven by long-term goals or projects? Do you excel at tasks that require creativity, teamwork, and the ability to synthesise information from various sources to generate innovative solutions? If you can see yourself generating a product, a presentation or an implementation of the solution, this is the approach you want to apply.

Inquiry-based Learning (IBL)

Inquiry-based learning encourages employees to ask questions, gather information, and explore topics of interest relevant to their job roles. This approach fosters curiosity, autonomy, and a deeper understanding of complex issues.

  • Example: Improving employee retention

Employees from the HR department investigate the factors contributing to high employee turnover within the organisation. They analyse exit interview data, conduct employee surveys, and research industry best practices for employee retention. Based on their findings, they develop recommendations to address the identified issues, such as improving onboarding processes, offering flexible work arrangements, or providing additional training and development opportunities.

Is this learning approach for you?

Inquiry-based learning is ideal for self-directed learners who enjoy exploring their interests and asking questions to deepen their understanding of a topic. These individuals appreciate the freedom to investigate issues at their own pace and often possess strong research and critical thinking skills.

Flipped Classroom

The flipped classroom model is an effective approach for workplace learning, as it allows employees to review materials at their own pace and engage in active learning during group sessions. This method promotes personalised instruction and fosters a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

  • Example: Management training program

A company offers a management training program for aspiring leaders within the organisation. Participants complete online modules covering topics such as leadership styles, decision-making, and conflict resolution before attending in-person workshops. During the workshops, participants engage in role-plays, case studies, and group discussions to apply their knowledge and receive feedback from their peers and facilitators.

Is this learning approach for you?

Try out this approach if you: prefer to review materials independently before engaging in group discussions or activities, have strong time management skills, are comfortable with self-paced learning, and appreciate opportunities to apply your knowledge in collaborative settings.

Game-based Learning (GBL)

Game-based learning integrates elements of play into the learning process, utilising games, simulations, and other interactive tools to promote engagement and retention. GBL is particularly effective for developing problem-solving, decision-making, and critical thinking skills.

  • Example: Cybersecurity training

Employees participate in an interactive, gamified training program designed to improve their understanding of cybersecurity risks and best practices. The game involves completing missions in a virtual environment that simulates real-world cybersecurity threats, such as phishing attacks, malware, and data breaches. By successfully identifying and mitigating these threats, employees earn points and progress through the game, developing their cybersecurity skills and knowledge in a fun, engaging manner.

Is this learning approach for you?

GBL is well-suited for you if you respond positively to elements of play and competition in the learning process and are motivated by the challenge and engagement that games and simulations provide.

Presentation-Practice-Production (PPP) Learning

The Presentation-Practice-Production (PPP) approach, commonly used in language learning, can be adapted for workplace training by structuring instructional stages to introduce new concepts, reinforce learning, and apply knowledge in creative and communicative tasks.

  • Example: effective communication

Employees attend a workshop on effective communication, where they are first introduced to key concepts, then practice through structured exercises, and finally engage in role-plays or group discussions to apply their new skills in realistic scenarios.

Is this learning approach for you?

The PPP approach is ideal for learners who benefit from structured, step-by-step instruction that gradually builds on previously acquired knowledge. So, if you appreciate clear guidance, opportunities to practice new skills in a controlled environment, and the chance to apply your learning in more creative and communicative tasks, try out this approach.


Organisations can create diverse, engaging, and effective employee development programs by understanding and implementing these six learning approaches – challenge-based learning, project-based learning, inquiry-based learning, inquiry-based learning, the flipped classroom, game-based learning, and presentation-practice-production learning. This will not only empower employees with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in their roles but also contribute to the overall success and growth of the organisation.