How long should employee training be?

Implementing an employee training program has a wealth of benefits, from increasing employee motivation to higher profit margins. When you consider its influence on your business, you’ll want to maximize its impact. The length of the program and learning content are significant factors that contribute to its success. So how long should employee training be? Keep reading to find out!

Anna
Written by Anna Implementation Consultant
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How much training does the average employee need?

The amount of training an employee needs varies based on topic and job role. But one thing remains the same, employees need regular opportunities to learn new things and refresh their knowledge. Many companies conduct one training session per year on relevant industry standards. While it might help adhere to regulations, it is far from good practice for two main reasons.

Firstly, we are not skilled at remembering new information and must continuously reinforce what we learn. If your employees do nothing after a training session, they will lose 75% of what they learned within two days, and by day 30, they will have lost up to 98% [1].

What causes this? Our brain constantly receives new input from our external world - most of which we don't need to remember. So, in a sense, our brains label unused information as useless and dump it.

Unfortunately, it will also dump new information we learn in training sessions! But, when we review material, we tell our brain that it’s useful and to hold on to it. Just 5-10 minutes per week studying the material keeps the retention at 100%. Tests and fun quizzes conducted after the training can help increase knowledge retention as well!

Secondly, employees want continuous opportunities to learn new topics and skills. According to a survey of 666 employees, 86% of employees highly valued learning and 74% were even willing to learn things outside of work hours [2].

Employees want continuous opportunities to learn new topics and skills

The main benefits were job performance, self-confidence, time-management skills, and pay increases. If you create structured learning opportunities and create a culture around learning, you will also benefit. Companies that prioritize employee training have 281% higher revenue per employee and 24% higher profit margins than those who do not [3].

How long should employee training be?


We've established that your online employee training program should provide continuous opportunities for learning and review. However, the length of the training courses themselves is also important. There is no one size fits all option, but a few factors can help you determine the ideal length.

Attention span

A general rule to keep in mind is that shorter is better. Do you think your employees can focus for the entire duration of a two-hour course? Think again! Our average attention span is eight seconds [4]!

One approach called microlearning is well suited to our short attention spans. It divides material into tiny bits that only take 5-10 minutes to complete. Research has shown that it increases note-taking and decreases distraction [5].

If microlearning is not suitable for your topic, add regular breaks to your lectures. High-quality courses with videos and illustrations also combat our short attention span.

Time

Consider how much time your employees have to devote to training when designing your content. In 2020, the average employee spent 102 hours of their time learning! That is only 1% of their time, which equates to 24 minutes a week for full-time workers [6].

If this sounds familiar, it might be preferable to create online courses with the microlearning style. It requires less time than full or half-day in-person training courses. And it gives them the flexibility to learn when they have a moment in their busy schedule.

Learning topic

It is not always possible to condense everything into a series of short courses. Complex procedures, operative techniques, and practices that require a physical environment will require a more prolonged duration. However, more repetitive topics and compliance training are well suited to microlearning.

Check out our top-10 topics for employee training and development.

Making a final decision on the length of your employee training

We cannot give a set rule for the length of your training program. But we are sure about two things. Firstly, employees want opportunities to learn. Secondly, the more accessible and convenient you make these opportunities, the better!

Remember human limitations when it comes to learning retention and attention!

To create a culture of continuous learning in your organization, start by carefully identifying your learning topics! Then design your courses with the tips we’ve mentioned in mind. Remember human limitations when it comes to learning retention and attention! Then consider which delivery is the best fit for your employees.

An online learning management system (LMS) is a great tool to set up continuous training for your employees. They include tools to easily create courses on a variety of topics and skills that you can share through a central location. In turn, it gives your employees access to a course catalog where they can take courses at any time and from any mobile device! Everything they need to brush up on existing skills or learn something new will be at their fingertips.

Easy LMS can help you to make training the ideal length!  

Easy LMS will help you create engaging Courses! It is possible to combine text with images and video, which will increase retention and attention. Our plans include an unlimited number of Courses so you can break them down into as many short Courses as you need.

Easy LMS tracks the progress of your participants so they can leave when their attention wanes and continue later. You can also create Exams and Quizzes to provide them with exercises to refresh and practice what they learned in their Courses or in-person training sessions. 

The Academy is the ideal solution for providing your employees with continuous opportunities for learning new things and refreshing old material. The Academy includes group creation that can be based on topic or job role. Then, you can structure your short Courses into a learning path to give your participants guidance on what to learn first. Participants can access everything in their Academy with just one invitation and set of login credentials. 

Useful resources

  1. University of Waterloo
  2. Survey Monkey 
  3. Huffpost
  4. Time
  5. The Harvard Gazette
  6. Statista

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