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There are various methods to train your colonists various skills. Below are a few of the many ways possible.

Artistic training

Ensure a colonist is constantly set to create art. This boosts the skill quickly, especially if the colonist is interested in Art. The colonist will start by making low quality sculptures but will begin making very valuable masterworks before you know it.

You can sell the artwork for silver, or place them around the base for beauty. If the art is of a very low quality however, it's best to deconstruct and try again.

Construction training

The act of construction and repair produces lots of XP all on its own. Construction can be quickly raised by repeatedly building and rebuilding furniture, which is itself useful for scoring higher quality furniture for the colony. Note that this will require a healthy supply of wood or cotton. Dismantling gives XP as well, so you are earning while building or scrapping. Stonecutting, as of Alpha 17, now gives construction XP instead of crafting XP.

Combined Construction and Shooting Training

This method trains the Construction and Shooting skills simultaneously. This image demonstrates the combined Construction and Shooting training.

When using this method, keep in mind the possibility of friendly fire. It the shortest path from point A to point B goes through the live side of the firing range, one of your colonists may be hit. An easy solution to this problem is to isolate the firing range from the rest of your base and never use orders in the region without holding fire.

Helpful Tips:

  1. Do not make either room smaller than three tiles to prevent the "cramped environment" debuff.
  2. Use stone walls for their superior durability.
  3. Use pistols when training shooting, this weapon shoots the fastest thus levels up your colonists the fastest.
  4. Designate the colonists you intend to train so that they can only repair.
  5. Increasing the number of shooters or using high DPS weapons increases the rate at which the walls are damaged. It is important to have a balance of shooters and repairers.
  6. Watch the shooter's morale and needs, if they are drafted too long a mental break becomes likely.
  7. Giving the repairer a shield belt will help catch any 'stray' shots (Yes, they can and will shoot through a wall).
  8. Shoot no further than 3 tiles away from the wall to prevent friendly fire caused by pawns walking through the crossfire. Yes, they can and will do that quite often.

Cooking training

The cook skill level is increased over time from colonists using the butchering table and stoves. The higher the level of cooking skill a colonist has the less likely chance the food will poison anyone. Higher cooking skill also allows them to unlock the fine meal or lavish meal recipes.

Crafting training

Crafting skill increases steadily with work time. Crafting is a pretty common task in mid-late game so there's lots of opportunities to train.

If you wish to conserve materials, you can task the pawn on an electric tailoring bench which has been switched off. XP is given at a constant rate, regardless of work speed, so this will give more XP with the same amount of materials.

Assembling components is an effective albeit expensive way to top up Crafting for level 10+ craftsmen.

Growing training

XP is given at a steady pace for both planting seeds and harvesting crops. Simply giving a colonist lots of time to farm will increase their skill. Give your farmers extra time to work by having non farmers haul the harvest.

Medicine training

Repeated surgery such as adding and removing bionic limbs can boost a colonist's Medicine skill at the cost of medical supplies. Simply treating frequent wounds from battle, prisoners and animals will increase skill quickly. If that proves insufficient it is simple to deliberately inflict wounds (such as punching someone) then treat them. More injuries means more chances to heal. You monster.

You should use regular medicine or above to reduce the risk of surgery failure.

If there are no willing volunteers, you can also train medical skills on animals, though brutalizing animals will cause a -5 relations penalty.

  • Attach Artificial or Bionic limb to pawn (~2000 XP @ Interested)
  • Operations: Remove Part (~2000 XP)
    • This will leave the pawn bleeding, and you can patch them up (~200 XP).
  • Operation: Reattach Part (~2000 XP)
    • Barring a catastrophic failure, it can be repeated as needed.
  • Euthanasia (~900 XP)
    • Instead of slaughtering dead animals, allowing doctors to practice on them can quickly level up their doctoring skill.
    • As of Alpha 17 it now requires medicine as well, be sure to have that handy. Herbal medicine will do for this.

Melee training

Fighting anything with a melee weapon will level melee. Work such as Hunting can level any combat skill. (With melee hunting animals will always attack back so be warned.)

Mining training

Mining skill steadily increases with time. It is sufficient to choose a dedicated mining colonist or two and they will master the skill over time.

Alpha 15 introduced Deep Drilling technology. Once the required technologies have been researched, any valid area determined by the Ground-penetrating scanner can be mined using a Deep drill. A colonist is needed to operate a deep drill and is given mining experience.

Research training

Research skill steadily increases with time, so a dedicated researcher should give the best results. Research skill is rendered useless as soon as the research topics are over.

Shooting training

By drafting a colonist and ordering him to attack something indestructible or reparable, you can train their shooting skill outside of the regular "training" they receive when the colony is under attack. This is much, much slower than shooting at a hostile target.

Crafting spots or Animal sleeping spots are two such objects that can be used for target practice.

Combined Shooting and Construction training

See Construction for more information.

Aggravating animals

Enrage an animal then get a colonist who's capable of moving faster than it to distract the animal. Meanwhile, get your trainee to fix his sights on the animal. Run around as much as possible until the animal is killed or downed.

Shooting at the animal, which is hostile, gives XP at the same rate that you would shoot at other hostile targets. If you want your living target to last longer, the trainee should shoot as far away as possible.

Social training

Each social chat with a colonist gives 4 social xp per per speech balloon at 1x skill modifier and 0 mood modifier. Having a friendly chat with a prisoner in order to convince him/her to join the colony gives roughly 50 social xp at 1x modifier per speech balloon. If you are recruiting prisoners, be sure that the one whose social skill you want to train is the warden. Keeping a prisoner you don't want to recruit, or who would be difficult to recruit at "friendly chat" will allow the Warden to keep having conversations indefinitely, allowing skill training.