Training methods vary widely today — from traditional classroom instruction, with hands-on practice, to the latest in technology-based training. But, which method is best?

For training a large number of students in a relatively short amount of time, the better training method may be one that can be administered to a large group. If cost is no issue, classroom instruction will work — as long as those lectures are supplemented with hands-on practice or lab work built around simulation-based CD-ROM instruction.

However, traditional classroom training is waning as the instructional method of choice for several reasons. In addition to the learning culture limitations (discussed later), it is much more expensive than technology training choices.

People costs are the single highest expense in any training initiative. Pulling people off-line has enormous personnel costs and, in many cases, lost production time costs, as well.

For companies that wisely prefer an alternate approach to classroom instruction, technology training choices offer many benefits. The ROI will be higher when one uses interactive CD-ROM or knowledgeably designed e-Learning solutions.

In addition, studies show that training time can be cut by as much as 50% with individualized technology training. More importantly, retention levels may top 90%.

After an organization decides to commit to individualized technology solutions, a vendor for the training courseware must be selected. Considerations should include:

• Vendor reputation and length of time in business
• Variety of courseware available
• Quality of the courseware (includes content appropriateness & instructional design)
• Total costs involved

Particularly when charged with Industrial Skills Training decisions, vendor selection is critical. Today, far too many e-Learning vendors are garbaging up the medium with adapted PowerPoint and written procedures “courseware.” You need to look for multisensory learning solutions with video and optional full audio. Only then can you reap the economic and retention rewards of technology training.

Whether you seek effective solutions in “Mechanical Maintenance,” “Electrical Maintenance,” or “Instrumentation” — knowledgeably designed e-Learning and CD-ROM training will upgrade the skills of your workforce and deliver a higher ROI to your organization.

More tomorrow – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning