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As a training manager, you’ll likely work with your trainers at some point to select the best training strategy for a given piece of content. Some of the options include e-learning modules, face-to-face training, virtual training, job aids, and on-the-job training. So many choices!
Here are five questions to ask to help you select the best training strategy for the content:
Are there organizational policies, mandates, or regulations that would limit your choices?
Sometimes your degree of latitude is limited by existing guidelines. For example, if top management has decided there will no longer be physical classrooms, your selection process and options are simplified. Be sure to familiarize yourself with current or planned policies to save you time and effort.
What does your current infrastructure support?
Items like bandwidth, security, and the availability of devices, software, and hardware that are appropriate for the solution and content are factors that will influence the viability of your selections. For example, if you don’t have an authoring tool and a learning management system, you’re less likely to select an e-learning tutorial as a solution.
What is the priority of the task?
Which tasks are most important for your limited resources? It may be a task that is completed frequently, important to organizational success, difficult to learn, or something new to your target audience. All these factors contribute to priority. Another consideration is the degree of surety of performance required during and immediately after training. If it’s a high priority task with critical outcomes, there will likely be a requirement for human interaction and supervision. For example, while there are online classes for first aid certification, as my EMT, I would rather you attend live, hands-on training.
What is the nature of the task to be learned?
Content can be knowledge-based or task-based. Tasks can be categorized as technical (create a customer file), conceptual (analyze a need), or interpersonal (handle a customer complaint). The best fit for e-learning would be knowledge-based or technical, computer-based tasks, as well as conceptual tasks. The best fit for interpersonal skills would be more traditional strategies, like instructor-led training, as they allow the human interaction implicit in the word “interpersonal.”
What characteristics of the target audience might affect your decision?
Does your audience have access to devices that could connect them to the content? How motivated are they to learn a new skill? How critical is standardization? For example, if the learners are highly motivated to learn a new task, could a job aid be the only resource necessary to ensure improved performance? I would be willing to bet many of us have gone to YouTube when we really wanted to learn how to do something quickly.
Practically speaking, there are many variations on strategy selection. Often a single strategy selection is not ideal but, in combination with a second strategy or multiple strategies (blended learning), the desired result is achieved. Ask yourself, “is performance in the workplace improved by the strategy or strategies I’ve chosen?” If the answer is yes, then you’ve been successful.
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