Sure, you’ve got a training need—but the format? When you’re faced with choosing a training method, here are tips on deciding direction.
Picking the Right Method for Your Next Training Project
Matching Training Format to Training Need
How do you fit the training format to the training need? Does a topic work better as in-person, instructor-led training; as an instructor-led webinar; as online, self-directed elearning?
When choosing a training method, the approach that I’ve found most effective is to start with the goal of the training event and work backward.
- Is the goal to use training to implement a cultural, organizational, or process change? Then formal, in-person, group-based training might be the most effective option. Ensuring that everyone experiences a change together—able to question and discuss it in real time—can make securing a room, bringing people together, and dedicating an instructor worth the time and effort (see the “This Month in Learning” section below for a case study that looks at using in-person training to change a company’s project management process).
- Is the goal to ensure that a large group of people can take training when they need to and all walk away with a similar experience? Then an online training course, which can be attended by anyone with an Internet connection, at any time, while delivering the same content to everyone, might be best. (Would you be converting in-person training to online training? Then you’re in luck—my fellow instructional designer Brandon Winston and I discussed converting classroom training to elearning in a recent interview).
- Is the goal to refresh a person’s understanding of previously obtained knowledge? Then an online microlearning event might work. A short, focused reminder can prompt people to recall and apply their training (Patti Shank has a nice, balanced look at when microlearning can be effective).
Be careful of letting learners’ opinions unduly influence the training format you select. Sure, learners may dislike leaving their offices and attending an eight-hour, in-person training session. But learners are famously poor at determining what makes learning effective. (Learners like to think, for example, that highlighting is an effective aid to memory. It’s not.).
And make sure that the training method you choose considers the needs of diverse learners, especially those with disabilities. While your industry may be required to comply with Section 508 or the Americans with Disabilities Act (or similar regulations), training that reaches everyone just, well, helps ensure that all learners are effectively trained.
So, to Choose a Training Method…
Become familiar with the literature around training methods and draw on your past experience; focus on the training goals and let them guide you as to the proper format.
Until next time,
Dr. Kevin Gumienny (Bio)
Microassist Senior Learning Architect
Once you’ve chosen a training method, consider whether or not the Microassist team can support your efforts. Our learning development staff can support your from goal setting to learning delivery. Simply contact us to discuss your project and see how we can help.
For Further Reading
- Learning Fundamentals: Which Training Methods Work Best? — There are several different training methods and a number of variations on each. Essentially, I usually group them in three areas: instructor-led training, webinars, and elearning.
- New Hire Training: 5 Keys to Developing Training with Finesse — Pulling together a new hire training is a challenge most trainers will face at least once in their careers. It isn’t always a simple task. Yet new hire training that is engaging, effective, and that maps to your organization’s culture can minimize turnover and ramp up job satisfaction.
- Do SMEs Make Good Trainers? — Your subject matter expert can be a great training resource. Here’s how to set your SME up for success when delivering training.
- The Client’s Critical Role in Custom Elearning Development — Microassist elearning project manager Kelly Rossi provides an overview of the stages involved in developing custom training, and what you can do to keep the project on track and within budget as we go through those stages.
This article was originally published in our July 2018 issue of our Learning Dispatch newsletter. Subscribe using the form below and get learning and development insights each month!