November 6, 2019
When Are Different Corporate Learning Methods Most Appropriate?
An exciting feature of supporting corporate learning in our time is the variety of methods and techniques we have at our disposal. From traditional training to online courses to learning in the flow of work, each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. Determining the right solution for a particular project often involves weighing multiple variables. This short list highlights some of each method's signature advantages and use cases, along with other considerations.
Classroom-based trainingWhy use: Allows for collaboration and immediate feedback; builds cross-organizational relationships; effective for teaching complex skills where demonstration and Q&A are needed. Typical uses: Interpersonal skills training; management skills training; medical training.
eLearningWhy use: Reaches many people quickly; accessible as needed or on learners' timetables; ensures that all learners get the same message; used to level-set people on core content before a live training session. Provides easy reporting and learner tracking. Typical uses: Compliance training; procedure training; orientation; core content; hard and soft skill training.
MicrolearningWhy use: Keeps learning topics at top of mind; offers opportunity to expand knowledge or to practice in digestible sessions over longer time periods; often matches learners' preferred approach. Typical uses: Training follow-up and refresher; awareness training; ongoing initiatives; time-sensitive updates; complex concepts best done in stages.
On-the-job trainingWhy use: Trains on real-life equipment and in actual context of work; allows for structured training of new employees when creating a course isn't feasible. Typical uses: Training on machinery; development of complex skills; essential for hands-on demonstration of mastery.
SimulationWhy use: Enables repeated practice to build mastery. Typical uses: Skills where risk is high and skills that shouldn't be practiced in real life.
Online courseWhy use: Combines teaching content with individualized reflection and on-the-job application assignments; offers a group learning experience when learners are geographically far apart. Typical uses: Complex knowledge and skill best developed over time and where peer interaction is beneficial.
Curated contentWhy use: Allows learners with widely varying needs in the same topic area to self-select those components that seem useful to them; provides effective follow-up material to solidify and extend learning from other methods. Typical uses: Supporting self-directed learning on broad topics with a wide range of competence; adding depth and variety to learning paths.
Learning in the flow of workWhy use: Supports performance with short-duration learning resources accessible at the time of need. Typical uses: Performance support for infrequently used processes; follow-up reinforcement and application aids; gating of work requiring mandatory training.
Other variablesAdditional variables that come into play in determining the best formats include:
- The nature of the content
- Audience size
- Design, development and delivery costs
- The L&D team's capacity and skill sets