Training offers you many options today — from traditional classroom instruction, with hands-on practice, to the latest in technology-based training. But, which method is best for your situation? Let’s examine some of the pros and cons.

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. Throwing lecture/reading courses at your workforce will not work — even if that method can be justified economically. Why? Because as we all know by now, nearly half of your workforce does not assimilate written information beyond a 4th Grade reading level.

Thankfully, this kind of traditional classroom training is waning as the instructional method of choice for several reasons. In addition to our twenty-first century learning culture limitations, it is, usually, 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 multi-sensory E-Learning solutions.

In addition, studies show that training time can be cut by as much as 50% with individualized technology training. Your workforce will spend less time away from the job.

Of equal importance, retention levels may approach 90%. And, when combined with an online Skills Assessment test, training costs can be reduced by almost half.

Vendor selection will be critical. For example, far too many E-Learning vendors are garbaging up the medium with adapted PowerPoint and adapted written procedures “courseware.” You need to look for multi-sensory learning solutions, incorporating video and optional full audio, as the core component of the learning. Only then can you reap the economic and learning retention rewards of interactive technology training.

Multi-sensory E-Learning and CD-ROM training will upgrade the skills of your workforce and deliver a greater return to your organization — and, to your employees.

More on Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning